Posts Tagged ‘Gomez’

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Good For You

Shoegazing under the microscope, starring My Bloody Valentine and Ride

Photo By Steve DoubleSteve DoubleWhenever an old/classic album is reissued these days – which is pretty much every day – it’s inevitably advertised as having been remastered, and it’s assumed that that’s a good thing. And not unreasonably – when a lot of these albums were originally released on compact disc, they were poorly converted from analog to digital and could generally sound thin/quiet/uninspiring. But remastering is no guarantee of improvement – at best, things will sound incredibly better (the 20th anniversary redo of The Stone Roses’ debut by original producer John Leckie is a revelation), at worst, they’ll be posthumous victims of The Loudness Wars and make those original pressings that much more valuable.

All of which is only salient because the specifics of remastering were brought to the fore this week thanks to a couple of coincidental analyses of some high-profile reissues of classic shoegazing albums; My Bloody Valentine’s seminal Loveless, finally being re-released next week, and Ride’s debut Nowhere, which was polished up and put out in November of 2010.

Loveless is an interesting case because rather than being half-album, half-outtakes and rarities as most double-disc reissues typically are, it comes as two complete versions of the album – one a remaster from “the original tapes”, the other a remaster from “the original 1/2-inch analogue tapes”. I use the quotes because, to be honest, I don’t know what the difference is in terms of origin or timeline; Spin also takes a close listen to the two versions and offers their thoughts on the curious release. An interview with Kevin Shields that went up at Pitchfork this week sheds a lot of light on all facets of the subject, but I guess I accept that I’m amongst those who don’t hear a difference between the two. You can see if you can hear a difference for yourself as The Guardian is streaming both remasters, though Soundcloud compression and computer speakers probably obliterate any subtle differences between the two. They’ve also dug up an interview with Shields circa 1992 that you can read while listening.

Spin also has a gander at one of the previously unreleased songs that makes the EPs 1988-1991 double-disc comp so necessary for fans. “Good For You” surfaced as a bootleg via YouTube a few years ago, but is finally going to be available – along with other goodies – in proper, high-fidelity form. The official version is available to stream via the aforementioned Pitchfork interview and the bootleg was found on YouTube.

Stream: My Bloody Valentine – “Good For You”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine – “Good For You” (bootleg)
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / Loveless (both remasters)

With respect to the Nowhere reissue put out by Rhino Handmade – generally a reliable and responsible archival outfit – Bradley’s Almanac has put “Vapour Trail” and “Paralysed” under the microscope – or oscilloscope – to see just what the remastering job by Rick Webb at Abbey Road Studios accomplished. Interesting and illuminating analysis over there that’s gotten me thinking maybe I do need to re-buy this album at least one more time.

And because Boston loves Ride – clearly – I direct you to another Beantown blog in Clicky Click, who’ve compiled a tribute album to Nowhere comprised of all-Boston bands entitled Nofuckingwhere. Download it and discover some new bands while listening to some classic tunes.

The AV Club talks to Johnny Marr about supervising the remastering of the entire Smiths catalog for their Complete reissue series last Fall and his feelings about the band, decades on.

Jason Pierce of Spiritualized talks to NOW and The AV Club in advance of Saturday’s sold-out show at The Phoenix.

2:54 are streaming a new track from their forthcoming self-titled/numbered debut, due out May 29. They’re at Lee’s Palace on June 15 for NXNE.

Stream: 2:54 – “Creeping”

Beatroute gets Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai on the horn. They play The Phoenix on June 18.

Interview and Musicfeeds talk to Mystery Jets about their new just-released new record Radlands; they’re at The Sound Academy on June 19 supporting Keane.

Michael Kiwanuka has released a new video from Home Again. Note that his June 19 date at The Great Hall has been moved to The Phoenix and a few hundred more tickets will be on sale shortly.

Video: Michael Kiwanuka – “I’ll Get Along”

Having had to cancel last Summer’s show at The Phoenix (and the attendant tour) in support of Whatever’s On Your Mind due to illness, Gomez are making things up intimate-style with a show at The Mod Club on July 23, tickets $25.50.

Video: Gomez – “Whatever’s On Your Mind”

Micachu & The Shapes have announced that the follow-up to their 2009 debut Jewellery will be entitled Never and be out on July 24.

Little Boots has released a video for her latest single, taken from an album that has not been announced yet but is surely coming sooner or later.

Video: Little Boots – “Every Night I Say A Prayer”

Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons tells NME that album number two is in the can, as they say.

Joshua Hayward of The Horrors opines to NME his thoughts on how big a room he thinks his band can play and their recording plans for the Fall.

Beatroute, The San Francisco Examiner, and Spinner all have interviews with Arctic Monkeys.

State interviews Friendly Fires.

The Skinny talks to Stephen Morris of New Order.

Lisa Hannigan and Joe Henry – who produced Hannigan’s latest album Passenger – will team up for a show at The Phoenix on June 10, general admission seated tickets $25 in advance.

Stream: Lisa Hannigan / Passenger

The Chicago Tribune interviews Anthony Gonzalez of M83, in Toronto at The Sound Academy this coming Sunday, May 6, and again at Historic Fort York on August 4.

Maria Linden of I Break Horses – who open up for M83 at Sound Academy on Sunday – talks to Denver Westword.

The Line Of Best Fit has an acoustic video session with Niki & The Dove recorded for Swedish site PSL while DIY is streaming two of the bonus songs that appears on the deluxe edition of their debut Instinct, out May 14 in the UK and in North America on August 7.

Stream: Niki & The Dove – “Taylor”/”All This Youth”

Spin has premiered the new video from Ane Brun, performing at The Great Hall on May 10.

Video: Ane Brun – “One”

DIY has a video session with First Aid Kit, back in town for a show at The Music Hall on September 26.

Drowned In Sound talks to Jonsi about returning to Sigur Rós after going solo. Valtari is out May 29 and they play Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone is offering a download of one of the songs Ladyhawke recorded for an All Saints session earlier this year. Her new record Anxiety is due out May 25 and I neglected to post the second video from it when it was released last month; let me rectify that.

MP3: Ladyhawke – “Black White & Blue” (acoustic All Saints version)
Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”

Friday, July 15th, 2011

You Should Do Better

Cut Off Your Hands notice that hands have not been cut off, plot return

Photo By VCPVCPNew Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands made some noise a couple years ago with their debut You And I, an enjoyable if not especially original collection of hepped-up, post-punk pop tunes intended to incite pogoing. And they worked that record pretty hard in North America, eventually losing both founding guitarist Mikey Ramirez to the rigours of touring and drummer Brent Harris to damaged hearing.

A couple years on and both are back in the fold to some degree and the band is back with a new album in Hollow, out in North America August 16, and they really want you to hear some of it. There’s a download of the more-Bunnymen-than-Bunnymen “Hollowed Out” along with some commentary at Spin, a video has been released for the first single and over at Facebook, a Like will get you another download from the new record. And oh hell, the whole thing is available to stream at Soundcloud. It’s definitely a more jangly/shimmery/classically Kiwi-pop record than the debut, more romantic-sounding and less in-your-face – still not breaking any new ground but it’s kind of nice to know that they’ve got a broader record collection to steal from than the first album implied.

Under The Radar has an interview with frontman Nick Johnson.

MP3: Cut Off Your Hands – “Hollowed Out”
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Fooling No One”
Stream: Cut Off Your Hands / Hollow

DIY and The Irish Independent with New Zealand’s current top musical export, The Naked & Famous. They play Lee’s Palace on August 9.

Billy Bragg has done what all good protest singers do and written a song about the News International phone hacking scandal currently unfolding in the UK – download the song for free, watch the video, read an op-ed by Billy in The Guardian and do what the man says – same applies in Toronto, by the way.

MP3: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”

The Guardian has premiered another new video from Cat’s Eyes’s self-titled debut.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”

The Alternate Side has a session and interview with James Blake while inthemix and Time Out have feature pieces. He plays The Phoenix on September 30.

A public service announcement: The Two Door Cinema Club show originally scheduled to take place at The Phoenix on September 17 has been moved to Kool Haus. Also, Metro discovers frontman Alex Trimble listens to Lady Gaga.

Blood Orange has released a video from his debut Coastal Grooves, which is now set for an August 30 release.

Video: Blood Orange – “Sutphin Boulevard”

One of the new tracks from Ladytron’s forthcoming Gravity The Seducer, out September 13, is now available to download. They’re at The Phoenix October 5.

MP3: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

NPR are streaming a KCRW session with Friendly Fires, in town at The Phoenix on October 23.

Veronica Falls have supplemented the recent audio preview of their debut album, out in October, with a video.

MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”

Allo Darlin’ will release a new non-album single in “Darren”, named for and inspired by Darren Hayman, former frontman of Hefner and featuring as a b-side a cover of “Wu Tang Clan”, originally by his project The French. Stream the a-side at Bandcamp.

The Daily Star chats with Florence Welch about some of the studio shenanigans that have gone into recording the second Florence & The Machine album.

PopMatters uses the occasion of the recent reissues as an excuse to reexamine the legacy of Suede. BBC also has an audio interview with Brett Anderson about getting the band back together; his new solo record Black Rainbows is out September 26. And regarding those Suede reissues; just noticed that eMusic has both Suede and Dog Man Star listed under “London Suede”. If you have an account and wanted to cherry pick the bonus material without re-buying everything a third time (like I do/don’t).

And alas, Gomez have cancelled the remainder of their North American tour due to illness, including Sunday’s show at The Phoenix.

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

CONTEST – Gomez @ The Phoenix – July 17, 2011

Photo By Brantley GutierrezBrantley GutierrezWho: Gomez
What: Veteran UK outfit and one-time Mercury winners whose rootsy brand of Britpop has remained somewhat outside of fashion and, consequently, allowed the band to have steady sort of career
Why: Their seventh album Whatever’s On Your Mind was released at the start of June and they’re one of the lucky British bands whose North American fanbase is solid enough that a tour is basically a given.
When: Sunday, July 17, 2011
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Local heroes Zeus will be opening things up.
How: Tickets are $26 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 see Gomez” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, July 13.
What else: Glide has an interview with the band.

Video: Gomez – “Options”

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

With Love

Review of Elbow’s build a rocket boys!

Photo via overarching storyline to Elbow’s career can generally be summed up as, “slow and steady wins the race”, with the race in question perhaps referring to the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, which they were nominated for in 2001 for their debut Asleep in The Back and finally won in 2008 for album number four, The Seldom Seen Kid. The adage could also apply to my own relationship with the band, which started with indifference to Asleep, complete ignorance to 2003’s Cast Of Thousands (though better late than never), respect with their third record Leaders Of The Free World (thankfully in time to see them live) and, in line with the Mercury jurors, something akin to love for The Seldom Seen Kid.

All of which is to say that the Mancunians’ fifth album build a rocket boys! was the first of theirs that I had been awaiting with hand-rubbing glee and though it’s not quite what I had expected, it hasn’t disappointed one bit. To the point of it not being what I was expecting, it’s hard to articulate what I mean by that as I don’t really know what I was expecting. Another record with the grandeur of Kid was unlikely, but the overt leanness of rocket was still surprising. From start almost to finish, it keeps things low and tight, the songs often built around a single unwavering chord or bass note like a pulse that must be kept strong and steady. The drama that Elbow excel at still manifests itself in swells and blooms throughout, but it’s not until the final tracks “Open Arms” and “Dear Friends” that it feels like the record is allowed to really exhale.

But despite the way things are constructed, tension is the last feeling that rocket evokes. Instead, it’s an almost preternaturally calm record – lead single “Neat Little Rows” is the only tune that you could consider a rocker – infused with a grace and sentimentality that’s distinctly Elbow. With orchestral and choral accents, it’s a recipe that from other bands’ kitchens might end up overly sappy but in Elbow’s masterful hands and delivered through Guy Garvey’s rough and yearning vocals, it deftly sidesteps melodrama pitfalls and is never anything less than gorgeous. For bystanders, the band’s Mercury win may have represented the culmination of a long career but clearly, for the band, it was just an affirmation that they were on the right track and people (like myself) were coming around. But they’re not done yet, not even close.

Though released in the UK and Canada since last month, build a rocket boys! gets a physical US release this week. The band plays its first North American show since Summer 2009 at Coachella and all indications are that a proper tour will follow later this year. Paste has an interview with Guy Garvey and the band have just released a video for the new record’s second single.

Video: Elbow – “Open Arms”
Video: Elbow – “Neat Little Rows”

Also making a return to America at Coachella – though a much longer hiatus – is Suede. The extensive reissue program for their back catalog which starts at the end of May in the UK and runs through the end of June will apparently also be happening in the US, though firm release dates haven’t been announced. Here’s hoping that it also includes more North American dates – even if they are with Fat Richard and not Bernard. Filter is marking the band’s return with a series of features all week including a history of and an interview with former Suede guitarist and Elastica leader Justine Frischmann. More will follow this week, and here’s one of the remastered tracks from last year’s The Best Of compilation.

MP3: Suede – “The Beautiful Ones”

NME reports that Bloc Party, their post-Intimacy hiatus apparently now at an end, will reconvene to work on a new record in September.

Pitchfork solicits a guest list from Ian Parton of The Go! Team while frontwoman Ninja has a quick chat with

Daytrotter serves up a session with Yuck, who also have a TunnelVision clip up at Pitchfork. They will be at The Phoenix on May 1.

The release of Patrick Wolf’s new album Lupercalia has been pushed back a couple of weeks from May 31 to June 20 worldwide, with a North American release date to be announced. DIY has the official statement from Wolf on the delay and an interview that talks about other things (almost certainly conducted before the delay was announced).

Spinner seems to have dug up an old interview with Dev Hynes of Lightspeed Champion, as it talks about last year’s Bye Bye EP and makes no mention of the fact that Hynes has shelved his Lightspeed Champion persona in favour of the funkier Blood Orange. That project’s debut release – the “Dinner”/”Bad Girls” 7″ – will be out on April 26 with a full-length to follow later this year.

Originally slated to come out in March, NME reports that Emmy The Great’s second album Virtue will now be out on June 13.

Noah & The Whale have put out a new video from Last Night On Earth.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Tonight’s The Kind Of Night”

Interview speaks to Anna Calvi about the arm injury that forced the rescheduling of her North American debut dates. She will now be at The El Mocambo on May 27 and I hope that her inclusion on the just-released Osheaga lineup means there’ll be a return engagement come late July/early August.

Another day, another PJ Harvey video from Let England Shake.

Video: PJ Harvey – “On Battleship Hill”

The Fly reports that Johnny Marr has left The Cribs to devote more time to his solo project with The Healers and not reforming The Smiths. The Cribs have released a statement about the amicable parting of ways.

The latest Brit buzz band Brother will be at The Horseshoe on May 3 for a free show. The Slough Observer has an interview with their native sons; Live 4 Ever also has a chat.

Video: Brother – “Still Here”

Art Brut will bring their new record Brilliant! Tragic! to The Mod Club on June 17 as part of NXNE. The record is out May 23 and a second track from the album is available to download at Pledge Music.

MP3: Art Brut – “Lost Weekend”

Gomez will follow up the June 6 release of Whatever’s On Your Mind with a date at The Phoenix on July 17; tickets $26 in advance.

Though Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfiend has done quite well for himself solo, he and his band have reconvened for a new record in Walk The River and it is streaming in whole right now at Hype Machine in advance of its release next week. The Independent has a feature piece.

Stream: Guillemots / Walk The River

Wild Beasts have released a video from their new record Smother, due out May 10.

Video: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”

Interview does its thing with James Allan of Glasvegas. Euphoric Heartbreak is out today.

The Georgia Straight, Vancouver Sun and Montreal Gazette chat with Two Door Cinema Club.

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Goodnight Oslo

Review of Robyn Hitchcock's Goodnight Oslo and giveaway

Photo By George WrightGeorge WrightWith most of his recent releases being of the archival sort – two box sets in the last two years in the form of I Wanna Go Backwards and Luminous Groove and with more to come – you might be forgiven for thinking that Robyn Hitchcock had his hands full reflecting on an enormous and impressive career. You would also, of course, be wrong. Even while supervising the extensive retrospective project, Hitchcock found the time to regroup with the Venus 3 – the 3/5 of R.E.M., Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey, with whom he recorded 2006’s wonderful Ole Tarantula – and recorded yet another new album, the just-released Goodnight Oslo.

Unlike the bright and sprightly Tarantula, Oslo feels darker in mood and more expansive in tone, favouring more meditative, droning song structures and incorporating the likes of strings, horns and backing singers into the brew. But more importantly, like its predecessor, Oslo is full of classic-sounding, jangly pop songs turned on their heads by Hitchcock’s clever and curious wordplay and distinctive delivery. Having been at it for thirty-odd years, the man has a signature. And more importantly, he’s still working at an impressively high level. While he may have spent the last little while looking backwards, there’s no question he’s still moving ever-forwards.

Hitchcock and his crew are touring North America and will be at the Mod Club in Toronto this Thursday night, April 16. I saw them there in 2006 and even for someone only casually familiar with Hitchcock’s oeuvre, it was a tremendously enjoyable show. This should be no different. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for this show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I wanna go backwards” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and get that in to me by midnight tomorrow evening – April 14.

There’s interviews with Hitchcock at Wired, JamBase, Philadelphia Daily News and Nashville Scene. And while there’s no album MP3 from Goodnight Oslo available, Hitchcock’s live shows are freely available at and that includes shows from the current tour, like this one from Carrboro, North Carolina where he naturally played some of the new material.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “What You Is” (live)
MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)
MySpace: Robyn Hitchcock

Thanks go to Anika In London for pointing the way to this video session with Emmy The Great at Channel M. There’s also an interview with Emmy at The Is Nottingham.

And digging through those Channel M archives unearthed this session with Fanfarlo. Have I mentioned how great their Reservoir album is? I have? Good. Because it is.

Gomez have a date at the Phoenix on May 29 in support of their new album A New Tide.

Beatroute, The Georgia Straight and Decider have interviews with Friendly Fires.

Incendiary and The Skinny interview Micachu & The Shapes.

St Vincent has a new video from her new album Actor, due out on May 5.

Video: St Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”

At long last, Los Angeles-based music mag Under The Radar has a proper website with actual content. Like this interview with Bob Mould. Under The Radar remains one of the best (and last) indie-centric music magazines out there in the physical world, I look forward to seeing the same high level of quality from them online.