Posts Tagged ‘Freelance Whales’

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

"Kill The Turkey"

The National watches TV. They’re just like us!

Photo via FoxFoxSunday night’s television lineup got a healthy injection of The National this week, both directly and indirectly. In the Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers, viewers were treated to a holiday-themed song by Linda in abbreviated form and in full over the closing credits, and shortly thereafter The Vulture surfaced with a version of the song rendered in Matt Berninger’s distinctive baritone over appropriately tasteful backing. They had to take it down, unfortunately, but this is the internet – nothing ever dies.

Boardwalk Empire viewers didn’t have to do nearly as much legwork to hear the band’s contribution to this week’s episode – they just had to sit through the credits. As has been the custom for the Steve Buscemi vehicle, the band – assisted by Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks – covered a period-correct song to play while the best boys and gaffers got their due; this one was a 1924 song originally recorded by Isham Jones and The Ray Miller Orchestra. I didn’t know that – full credit goes to Fuck Yeah The National for pulling the background together on that one.

Stream: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Stream: The National – “Bob’s Burgers Thanksgiving Song”

Freelance Whales, who just released their second album in Diluvia, and Hundred Waters, whose self-titled debut came out in September, will be at The Mod Club on January 17, tickets $16. Spinner and The Daily Tar Heel have Freelance Whales features.

Video: Freelance Whales – “Spitting Image”
Video: Hundred Waters – “Thistle”

Christopher Owens – aka the guy from Girls who was basically the entirety of Girls and who recently left Girls – will be at The Mod Club on January 18 as part of a North American tour in support of his solo debut Lysandre, out January 14.

Stream: Christopher Owens – “Lysandre’s Theme / Here We Go”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Titus Andronicus, and The Chicago Tribune, Denver Westword, and 77 Square have features. They’re at Lee’s Palace next Tuesday, November 27.

A new track from Memory Tapes’ forthcoming Grace/Confusion is now available to stream, as is a mish-mash of b-sides, unreleased material, and whatnot in mixtape form. The album is out December 4.

Stream: Memory Tapes – “Neighbourhood Watch”
Stream: Memory Tapes – “Displaced Mix”

Spinner talks to Paul Banks about Interpol turning ten. The decade-anniversary edition of Turn On The Bright Lights is out December 4 and one of the bonus tracks is now available to download. Las Vegas Weekly and Denver Post also talk to Paul Banks about his solo thing.

MP3: Interpol – “Roland” (first demo)

Yo La Tengo have released a video from their next record Fade, due out January 15. They play The Phoenix on February 9.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”

NPR welcomes Father John Misty to the World Cafe; MTV Hive also has an interview. He’s at The Danforth Music Hall supporting The Walkmen on January 16.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a Widowspeak show from earlier this month. There’s some new Almanac material to hear before the album is released on January 22.

Rolling Stone talks to Jim James about his forthcoming solo debut, Regions of Light and Sound of God. It’s out February 5.

Beach House have released a new video from Bloom.

Video: Beach House – “Wild”

R.E.M. may be gone, but they’re still able to remind you they’ve got some Hollywood-type friends, such as with this video for the final song from their final album, Collapse Into Now, directed by James Franco and starring Lindsay Lohan.

Video: R.E.M. – “Blue”

American Songwriter talks to Britt Daniel of Divine Fits.

The Fly and MusicOmh have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Stereogum talks to Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips about how work is coming on their new album, at last check entitled The Terror and earmarked for release this Fall though that’s probably not happening. They could have asked Wayne Coyne, but he was otherwise occupied being detained by the TSA.

Happy Thanksgiving, America. Happy Thursday, rest of the world.

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

After Glow

Foals giddy-up back to America

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickThe last time Oxford’s Foals were in town back in September, guitarist Jimmy Smith’s constantly malfunctioning amp and pedals provided frontman Yann Philippakis with enough rage-fuel to transform a technical disaster into a seething, edge-of-violent triumph, much to the delight of the completely jam-packed Lee’s Palace.

One expects they’ll have the state of their gear checked and double-checked before their return engagement on April 30 at the Phoenix (tickets $16.50), though. And that’s fine because as memorable as that last show was, it’ll be nice to hear them showcase their Mercury Prize-shortlisted record Total Life Forever with two fully functioning guitars.

The date is part of a Spring tour that is presumably built around a Coachella appearance and will feature a rather odd bill of Foals, Brooklyn twee-poppers Freelance Whales, still touring last year’s Weathervanes, and hotly-tipped New Zealanders The Naked & Famous, whose debut Passive Me, Aggressive You will be out on March 15.

MP3: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator Second Floor”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Young Blood”

Other Mercury Prize alumni coming back to town are Friendly Fires, who’ve made a May 30 date at The Phoenix, tickets $20. There’s been no official announcement about the release of their second album but one assumes that it will be out before they head over here. Update: Full North American dates are up, album has working title of Pala.

MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”

Australia’s Cut Copy have slated a North American tour in support of their new record Zonoscope, due out February 8. Look for them at The Sound Academy on April 7 and download a track from the new record over here.

MP3: Cut Copy – “Lights & Music”

Last week they announced the April 4 release of their new record Blood Pressures and now, via NME are this Spring’s world tour dates for The Kills; Toronto gets them May 1 at the Sound Academy. That’s right, groan away. I’ll wait.

MP3: The Kills – “URA Fever”

Milo Cordell of The Big Pink tells NME they’re considering a hip-hop direction for their second album.

The Scotland Herald talks to Stuart Braithwaite ofMogwai in Japan. Their new record Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will arrives February 15 and there’s a new MP3 and video from said record available to download. Mogwai play The Phoenix on April 26.

MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
Video: Mogwai – “Pano Rano”

The Guardian has a feature piece on British Sea Power. They play Lee’s Palace on March 30.

“The World Is Yours”, the lead track from Glasvegas’ Euphoric Heartbreak, is currently available to stream – the record is out April 4.

Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good wins today’s Patrick Wolf news prize – they’ve got the name of Wolf’s new record – Lupercalia – and a download of the first single from the record, “Time Of My Life”. A quick look on the Twitter indicates that said album has been given a May 23 release date in the UK and a stream of the second single, “The City”, is available on Soundcloud. I daresay that if these songs are indicative of what the album will be like, Mr. Wolf has managed to outdo himself yet again.

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment session and The Herald-Sun an interview with Kate Nash.

The Fly has an acoustic video session with The Joy Formidable, whose debut The Big Roar is out in the UK next week and in North America March 15.

Elly Jackson of La Roux discusses collaboration plans for album number two with NME.

Clash interviews Adele, whose second record 21 arrives February 22.

MusicOMH talks to Anna Calvi, whose self-titled debut arrives March 1 and who plays Wrongbar on March 11.

NPR has a second video from PJ Harvey’s forthcoming Let England Shake, due out February 15.

Video: PJ Harvey – “The Words That Maketh Murder”

In talking to Gigwise, Blur’s Dave Rowntree confirms the band will do “something” this year, but offers no more information than that. And yes, as I was typing that out I realized how pointless a news item this was but whatever.

MusicOmh has words with Richard Thompson.

And do swing by the recently-launched Aggregation Magazine, whose mandate is simple but too long for me to recap here but whose latest issue includes contributions from yours truly on topics that have nothing to do with music. And the latest issue of Under The Radar – the Sufjan cover – has an interview with myself and other music bloggers on the topic of blog hype; the issue has been out since December but I only just got a copy so I made sure I didn’t sound like a total ass before mentioning it. Only a partial ass, as per usual. End self-promo/flagellation.

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

CONTEST – Freelance Whales @ The Mocambo – December 7, 2010

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Freelance Whales
What: Super-twee Brooklynite orch-pop project that’s been gallivanting about on the back of their debut album Weathervanes for some time now.
Why: After a number of decent-profile support slots, they’ve decided they’re ready for their own headlining tour. And this is it.
When: Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Where: The El Mocambo in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Brooklyn’s Miniature Tigers and Los Angeles’ Baths will open things up
How: Tickets for the show are $15 in advance but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to hire Freelance Whales” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at noon, December 6.
What else: Denver Westword and Rock Edition have interviews with Freelance Whales frontman Jacob Hyman.

MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator Second Floor”

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Heathen Child

Review of Grinderman’s Grinderman 2

Photo By Deirdre O'CallaghanDeirdre O’CallaghanThe lines between Grinderman and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds aren’t always very clear. Quantitatively, you’ve got a few less members (which must make for some awkward scenes at the rehearsal space – “oh, I thought it was a Bad Seeds day… I’ll show myself out…”) and Cave strapping on a guitar and avoiding the piano, and qualitatively, you’ve got an even rawer, darker sound than the Bad Seeds craft and they’re hardly all sunbeams and unicorns.

Their seedier-than-Seeds 2007 debut Grinderman was soaked in the blues and testosterone and was a welcome jolt of energy from a group of players whose works had become increasingly ornate, particularly relative to their more anarchic Birthday Party origins. And when the reawakening of their rocking, raunchier side carried over to the next Bad Seeds record, 2008’s scorching Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!, it would have been reasonable to think that Grinderman had served its purpose and run its course. But no, Cave’s not done with the six-string as a songwriting tool and so we get Grinderman 2, out today.

Though still noisy and guitar-driven, 2 dials down the front-to-back pelvic thrust of its predecessor in favour of a more fully-produced sound that feels less beholden to a rigid aesthetic. And while it’s hard to imagine a video as ridiculous (in a good way) as that for “Heathen Child” being released under the Bad Seeds marque, any one of these songs could easily pass as having come from that main project, particularly the glorious “Palaces Of Montezuma” which has to rank as one of Cave’s best pop compositions in years. I’m sure that in the heads of their creators, there’s a clear distinction between these songs and those, but from the listener’s point of view all that really matters is that there’s another set of intensely and inimitably Cave compositions to absorb. No matter what the band is called.

Spinner, The Australian, The Herald and The Courier-Mail have interviews with Cave and The Line Of Best Fit talks to drummer Jim Sclavunos while The Quietus and Montreal Gazette chat with them both. The New Yorker has a profile on both The Bad Seeds and Grinderman by Sasha Frere-Jones and Pile Of Vinyl has got demos fo the first album available to download. Their North American tour starts November 11 at the Phoenix in Toronto.

Grinderman 2 is available to stream this week at Spinner.

MP3: Grinderman – “Heathen Child”
Video: Grinderman – “Heathen Child”
Stream: Grinderman / Grinderman 2
MySpace: Grinderman

Last week I was bemoaning the fact that Superchunk were crossing the border next week for a show in Montreal but weren’t coming down the 401 to play their first Toronto show in some nine years. Turns out the reason why is they’ll be here on December 9 opening up for Broken Social Scene at the Sound Academy. Yay, Superchunk, boo Sound Academy. Tickets will be $30 and go on sale Friday. In other ‘Chunk news, they’ve taken the editorial reins at the Magnet website kicking off with a Q&A and there’s features on the band at The Daily Tarheel, Billboard, The Washington Post and Chicago Reader. Finally, Videogum has premiered the hilarious first video from Majesty Shredding, out today.

Video: Superchunk – “Digging For Something”

In other announcements, Johnny Flynn’s second record Been Listening has been given an October 25 release in North America and he’s doing some solo dates to support, including an October 18 date at Lee’s Palace. About. Time.

Video: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Pill”

Bruce Peninsula must be about done their second record as they’ve scheduled an October 28 date at the Horseshoe. Tickets $10 in advance.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”

John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco will bring their Autumn Defense project to the Drake Underground on November 9. Their new album Once Around is out November 2.

Oxford’s Stornoway, whose debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill was enthused about in this space back in July, have put together their first North American tour and it includes a November 30 date at the El Mocambo. Former Hold Steady moustache Franz Nicolay supports. There’s a session with the band up at NPR’s World Cafe.

MP3: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
MP3: Franz Nicolay – “This Is Not A Pipe”

After a goodly number of supporting dates, Freelance Whales will be playing their own show at the El Mocambo on December 7, tickets $15. They’ve also just premiered a new video from their debut album Weathervanes.

MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator Second Floor”
Video: Freelance Whales – “Hannah”

The Radio Dept. getting political? This new song is apparently “directed at the swedish election coming this sunday”. Of course, the salient point here is new. Radio. Dept. Their “Never Follow Suit” EP is out November 9 and a double-disc of rarities – of which this track qualifies, I think – is out in January.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy”

The Fly, Clash and eMusic have interviews with Interpol.

The Georgia Straight talks to Matt Berninger of The National.

Another track from Sufjan Stevens’ new album The Age Of Adz is making the rounds. Stevens is at Massey Hall on October 13.

MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Too Much”

The Irish Times interviews Joanna Newsom.

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Fall Hard

Shout Out Louds and Freelance Whales at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI detected a sense of general disappointment, critically speaking, around Shout Out Louds’ latest record Work, mostly centered around the fact that it didn’t represent as big a leap from 2007’s Our Ill Wills as that record did from their debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff. And if we allow that there’s a way to quantify such things, it’s probably true – Work isn’t as sonically lush as its predecessor and its songs are more efficient, and it generally splits the difference between the grand Ills Wills and the scrappy Howl Howl. But what those who criticize Work on the basis that it’s not another watershed moment in their career – because those typically immediately follow previous watershed moments – seem to miss out on is the much more important fact that it, like the rest of Shout Out Louds’ oeuvre, is laden with glorious jangly and melodic indie-pop that’s as suited to dancing as rocking.

And though some critics might not get that, the fans do, and their first Toronto show in two and a half years on Saturday night at the Mod Club was sold out well in advance – even the lone scalper out front only had one ducat to offer. About 100 or so of the 500-plus who’d eventually be in attendance showed up early enough to see New York’s Freelance Whales do their thing, which was play clever and ultra twee pop from their debut album Weathervanes. I’d seen them do said thing back at SxSW but that was a break-of-day set where I wouldn’t have expected anyone to be at their best and appropriately, their set on this evening – though also technically early – was much peppier and pep is kind of essential to their sound, all made of glockenspiels, harmoniums, banjos and five-part harmonies. And while on record they can drift to the wrong side of wimpy, live they beefed up their sound enough – volume wins! – to keep it engaging. And closing (though not deliberately as they thought they’d have time for one more) with a well-intentioned if not entirely tidy cover of Broken Social Scene’s “7/4 (Shoreline)” was a nice nod to the city… or as they wryly noted, “that one’s called ‘pandering'”.

I remember Shout Out Louds’ October 2007 show as a lively affair that took some of the polish off of the Ill Wills album arrangements, and their SxSW 2008 as a raucous, stage trashing throwdown – this time, they split the difference between the two and turned in what was the best performance I’ve seen them do yet. Perhaps it was the pressure of a hard 10PM curfew, but kicking off with Work leadoff track “1999”, they barrelled through their 90-minute set without much let up in energy and with only just enough missteps to count as charming, particularly early on when Adam Olenius lept into the audience for “Tonight I Have To Leave It” and had a bit of trouble climbing back onstage. By and large, though, the show was a fast-paced romp through all of their records – Work was well-represented but not at the expense of older favourites – that got the house up and kept them there, particularly with the sing-along encore closer of “Walls”, which was marked by much jumping up and down and arm-waving. Perhaps if, a few records from now, Shout Out Louds are still ploughing the same field of inspiration, I might find myself on the side of those who wish they’d try to branch out a bit more but for now, a record like Work and a show like this, are plenty to keep me satisfied.

Exclaim and Panic Manual also have reviews of the show. QRO and Ion have interviews with assorted Shout Out Louds while NPR is streaming their show in Washington DC from last week.

Photos: Shout Out Louds, Freelance Whales @ The Mod Club – May 8, 2010
MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Walls”
MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Tonight I Have To Leave It”
MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator 2nd Floor”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Fall Hard”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walls”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Tonight I Have To Leave It”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Impossible”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Please Please Please”
Video: Freelance Whales – “Generator 2nd Floor”
MySpace: Shout Out Louds
MySpace: Freelance Whales

Pitchfork has the first sample of the new album from The Concretes, entitled WYWH and due out in October.

MP3: The Concretes – “Good Evening”

Johan Duncanson talks to Spinner about The Radio Dept’s obsessive/lazy work ethic, and why it took so long for Clinging To A Scheme to see the light of day.

The Mary Onettes have a new video for their recent, non-album single.

Video: The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before The Funeral”

PitchforkTV has a Tunnel Vision session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

Under The Radar chats with Jonsi at Coachella.

MusicOmh interviews Doves.

Beatroute and The Georgia Straight chat with James Graham of The Twilight Sad; they are at Lee’s Palace on May 26 with Mono.

PopMatters talks to Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, who seem to have become the go-to band for duos looking for openers. They’re in town supporting Broken Bells at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2 and then The Black Keys at The Kool Haus on August 3.

If you needed a little more incentive to go see Midlake’s show at the Mod Club on May 21, how about the fact that a solo Jason Lytle, along with John Grant, will be supporting? And the fact that Midlake, apparently, no longer perform hidden behind a wall of keyboards?

MP3: Jason Lytle – “Yours Truly, The Commuter”

Nathaniel Rateliff’s May 30 show at the Drake Underground has been canceled. But if you were looking forward to seeing him play, there’s at least this video performance for Yours Truly.

The previously announced July 20 Real Estate/Kurt Vile show has found a home – it’ll be taking place at the Great Hall.