Posts Tagged ‘Grinderman’

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


Anna Calvi at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor the first part of Thursday night, I was – as recounted yesterday – happily seeing my favourite band deliver the best performance of theirs I’d ever seen. So why, in the name of all that’s holy, did I leave early? Because of Anna Calvi. The British-Italian artist released one of my favourite records of 2011 (ooh, year-end list spoiler!) in her self-titled debut, but fate seemed determined to keep me from seeing her perform it live.

First, her CMW and SXSW showcases – which were legion – were cancelled due to an arm injury, then the make-up date in May came on the exact same night I was in Barcelona seeing Pulp (yes, no sympathies, I understand) and then, even though I know there technically wasn’t a local date, her being on the bill at Osheaga in Montreal in August felt like missing her again. So nothing – not even the aforementioned conflicting show – was going to keep me from catching this latest date. Though the cabbie that took me from the Air Canada Centre to Lee’s Palace certainly gave it a shot, managing to catch every red light between one venue to the next and not seeming to get a read on my urgency in the back seat. Maybe I wasn’t swearing loud enough.

In any case, I made it and only missed the first 10 minutes or so of her set. Unfortunately, her set was only about 45 minutes in total so it felt awfully brief, but what I did see made the anxiety of the cross-city club-hopping worthwhile. Backed by a drummer and percussionist/harmoniumist (?) and without the aid of any kind of set dressing, Calvi nonetheless managed to transform Lee’s Palace from a rock club into a cabaret, an opera house, a smoky jazz lounge, all by virtue of her music. Okay, suggesting there was no visuals at play is just wrong; done up in her stage uniform of blood-red blouse and lipstick with jet-black pants and stilettos, she was quite the striking figure. But her appearance wasn’t why it was impossible to take your eyes off of her. No sir.

It’s a toss-up which is more astonishing, Calvi’s vocals or her guitar skills, and in a live setting she doesn’t make it any easier to choose. To the former, she was more breathy than belty, slowing songs like “Suzanne & I” down for a more sensual and seductive delivery – if that’s even possible – and also to make the moments where she unleashed the full strength of her voice that much more powerful. And as for her instrumental abilities, well let’s just say that Telecasters have long been my favourite guitar but I’ve never wanted to BE one so much before. Any time she stepped away from the mic to take a solo, it was eye-opening and jaw-dropping the sounds she was able to coax out of the most basic of electric guitars; the soaring and guttural instrumental break in set-closer “Love Won’t Be Leaving” was particularly unexpected and devastating.

The set seemed to comprise the whole of her album (this was confirmed by folks who’d seen the whole show) and a couple of covers, the recently-released reinvention of TV On The Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” and Frankie Laine/Edith Piaf standard “Jezebel” for the encore, so that it still seemed short was no one’s fault but the cabbie. But I suspect that even if the show had run two hours, I’d still be wanting more. Next time.

NOW also has a review of the show while JAM, The Montreal Mirror, Winnipeg Free Press, Under The Radar, and The Vine all have interviews with Calvi.

Photos: Anna Calvi @ Lee’s Palace – December 8, 2011
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Jezebel”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Suzanne & I”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Desire”

So very pleased to see that Slow Club will be touring their second album Paradise to North America – they’ve just announced a February 19 date at The Rivoli, tickets $12 in advance and worth every penny. For a preview, check out this video session just posted at They Shoot Music and also this interview at DIY.

Video: Slow Club – “Where I’m Waking”
Video: Slow Club – “Two Cousins”

Billboard has posted excerpts from year-end cover story on their artist of the year, Adele, in which she says to not expect a third album anytime soon.

Spinner and The Toronto Star have interviews with Laura Marling, whose recent concert for Philadephia’s WXPN is available to stream at NPR.

Spinner has a video session and interview with Florence & The Machine and Florence Welch talks to Rolling Stone about how well things are going with her in the wake of Ceremonials release.

Over at The New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones articulates why Emmy The Great’s Virtue was one of the best records of the year. I concur!

The Twilight Sad will treat the February 21 release date of their third record No One Can Ever Know like a starter’s pistol for a North American tour which will bring them through Lee’s Palace on February 29 en route to SXSW.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Kill It In The Morning”

The Guardian is streaming a video of Richard Hawley covering The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For My Man” at last week’s Other Voices festival. This reminds us of two things: first, Richard Hawley is awesome and second, Richard Hawley is due a new album. Let’s have it, then.

Fire Records has posted details of the three Pulp reissues they’ll be putting out in the new year – each of Freaks, Separations and It will be remastered, appended with bonus tracks and set free into the world on February 13.

Under The Radar reports that two Radiohead will release a new single of King Of Limbs-session tracks debuted as part of their From The Basement broadcast will be released as a digital single on December 19. If this interests you, then you’ve already heard the songs.

Video: Radiohead – “The Daily Mail” (live on From The Basement)
Video: Radiohead – “Staircase” (live on From The Basement)

Spinner reports that The Stone Roses have signed major label record deals for a third album to go along with their reunion. Gotta give them credit – if they’re going to make this a fiasco, they’re going all in.

The Guardian reports that Nick Cave called time on Grinderman on stage in Australia this past weekend. I can only assume this was a planned break to work on the new Bad Seeds record that had originally been targeted for release as early as this year, though clearly that’s been pushed until 2012. If it’s actually internal band friction, that’ll make that first Bad Seeds rehearsal awkward as it’s basically the same band.

Niki & The Dove have released a new video from their The Drummer EP. Update: Make that two videos?

Video: Niki & The Dove – “DJ Ease My Mind”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “Mother Protect”

The Stool Pigeon talks to the Söderberg of First Aid Kit about their new record The Lion’s Roar, out January 24. They’re at The Great Hall on April 4.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011 Day Two

The Flaming Lips, Grinderman, Girl Talk and more at Primavera Sound

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m not sure what purpose Barcelona’s Parc del Forum, a fairly massive, considerably paved waterfront park on the edge of the city, is used for the rest of the year – it seems to built up and out of the way for just hanging out in – but for one weekend in May, at least, it’s a pretty terrific spot to hold a music festival. Some more grassy spaces would be welcome and being long and narrow, it can be a haul from one stage to the next, but when you realize you’re seeing a fantastically well-curated lineup of artists right on the shores of the Mediterranean, then a little bit of walking doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

As a North American festival-goer used to things kicking off at the crack of noon, it was odd to see Primavera Sound’s schedule not getting underway until late afternoon each day and going until almost the crack of dawn. But as it turned out, this was a pretty sweet arrangement – assuming you didn’t have to work in the morning – as it saved you from being in a wide open space during the hottest part of the day and let you do touristy things while still packing in a full slate of acts.

My Thursday began at the San Miguel mainstage for Of Montreal and though it had been a few years since I last saw them live, it was good to see that they hadn’t tamed things down at all in the interim. Quite the opposite, actually, as in addition to the psychedelic electro-funk that you find on their records, the show was crammed with such curiosities as costume changes, balloon acrobats, Mexican wrestlers and epic man versus she-pig battle re-enactment. For any other band, these technicolor shenanigans would probably constituted doing something special for the festival but for Of Montreal? Just another day at the office.

Post-Of Montreal, it was time to wander the grounds a bit and get the lay of the land and coming across the ATP Stage, I stopped to listen to London’s Seefeel for a bit, having read something about them on the Twitters. I caught about 10 minutes of their set but apparently this was just the outro of their final song, consisting of a pulsing, groovy bit of drone-dub that played quite nicely against the backdrop of the sea. Might have been nice to have actually heard a song, but what can you do.

By this time, night had fallen and ater verifying that none of the festival’s wifi points were working – no surprise but really, why even pretend they’ll work? – it was over to the Ray-Ban Stage where I was susprised to find Big Boi on stage and punctual. Maybe he was jet-lagged and thought he was two hours late. Either way, his crew had been hard at work pre-set to round up pretty girls from the audience – and this being Spain there were a lot of them – and had them on-stage as dancers. Fun to watch for a bit but after hearing the couple of Big Boi/Outkast songs I knew, it was time to move on.

The first can’t-miss act of the festival, for me at least, as Grinderman. Yes, I’d seen Nick Cave and company’s alter ego at their North American debut last Fall but whereas some acts excel in a club-sized environ, I posit that the potency of Grinderman actually comes across better in a big outdoor setting. With the extra stage and pit space to move around in, Cave seemed extra unhinged as though he amped up his intensity to make sure all the thousands in attendance got their fair share. In particular, the camera shots of Cave stalking the pit between audience invasions during “Kitchenette” reminded of ringside footage from a prize fight and in “Honey Bee”, he proved that he may be the only man on earth who can make bee noises and arm flapping come across sinisterly. Grinderman were loud, raw and exhilarating and it’s a good thing that at set’s close when Cave encouraged everyone to Suicide, he specified the band playing the next stage over and not the act. Because after their performance, this was not a man you wanted to say no to.

Circa their latest self-titled album, there’s been much talk about how Interpol’s time is past, how they’re on the decline – that’s not a position that would have gotten much traction with the thousands who showed up for their 1AM set on the Llevant Stage. And for as much as you can complain that Interpol does the same thing over and over again, there were a few new things to come out of their set. For instance, Daniel Kessler speaks Spanish – at least I think it was Kessler who addressed the audience fluently in their native tongue, I suppose it could have been Paul Banks. I couldn’t tell from way back in the field. And also different was the speed at which they plowed through their songs – tempos on most numbers were ratcheted up from the norm, perhaps for a more efficient set. It wasn’t necessarily better, but it was different. But otherwise, Interpol was Interpol. And I have no idea who’s playing bass for them now.

I left their set early so as to stake out prime bubble walk/confetti cannon position for The Flaming lips. There was some ambiguity about exactly which show they were going to be performing and I was mildly disappointed this didn’t turn out to be a Soft Bulletin show as I’m one of those who hold that album up as their masterpiece and material from it doesn’t get aired out in regular sets nearly as much as it should. But if it being otherwise meant that I’d get a repeat of last year’s stellar Molson Amphitheater show, then okay – I can deal. And a lot of it was the same, but that didn’t diminish the fun of it, particularly when you’re surrounded by people who’re witnessing the spectacle for probably the first time. Because it remains a hell of a thing. Twists on this particular show included bringing out a translator to greet and advise the audience of the opening space bubble walk, a Wizard Of Oz theme for the dancers with dozens of cute Dorothys whooping it up on either side of the stage, the giant exploding confetti balloons were new, the firing of laser hands at a giant disco ball was an inspired move and there was even a new song in the set with Steve Drozdt showing off some manner of iPhone app that he used to generate noises Kaos Pad-style. It’s nice to see their show continue to evolve with new material while maintaining the elements that are now basically trademarks of the Lips’ shows. Always a blast and you would hear people singing “Race For The Prize” into the night, long after the show was done.

I should note that I started to fade at 4am. I am allowed to fade at 4am. But it wasn’t done. The evening/morning closer was back at the Llevant Stage where Greg Gillis – aka Girl Talk – was flown in from Pittsburgh specifically for this show and when you only have to work for one hour, I imagine you give it your all. Of course as a mash-up artist/DJ, “giving it your all” is more just a figure of speech but for a guy with a laptop, Girl Talk live was a lot of fun. He also filled the stage with dancers and would periodically step out in front of or on top of his desk to dance it up himself, and then there were the thousands of partygoers getting down in sea of feathers, presumably left over from El Guincho’s set beforehand. Yes, it was a sight. Musically I only knew about half of the stuff he played – typically the Top 40/pop half, not the hip-hop half – but I can see why people enjoy his stuff so much. I stuck around for a while but eventually the rising sun and falling stamina forced an end to the day.

A new Flaming Lips EP done in collaboration with Prefuse 73 is available to stream at Paste.

And in other news.

Last night’s Friendly Fires show at The Phoenix has been rescheduled for October 23 at The Phoenix after drummer Jack Savidge was hospitalized “due to exhaustion”. Details at Exclaim. There’s a pre-exhaustion interview with the band at Interview.

White Lies are back for a show at The Phoneix on August 3, tickets $27.50 in advance.

Video: White Lies – “Bigger Than Us”

The Village Voice interviews Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles. They’re at The Phoenix on June 10.

Low play a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR and talks to The Skinny.

Exclaim reports that Stephin Merritt will be releasing a compilation of rarities spanning all of his various bands and projects in Obscurities, due out August 23 on Merge.

MP3: Stephin Merritt – “Forever And A Day”

NPR welcomes TV On The Radio for a World Cafe session.

Drowned In Sound and NPR interview Death Cab For Cutie. They play The Molson Amphitheatre on July 29.

Diamond Rings’ remix series continues with an interpretation of Austra’s “Lose It”. Diamond Rings plays Echo Beach on June 3 and Yonge-Dundas Square and Wrongbar on June 18 for NXNE.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It” (Diamond Rings remix)

Fucked Up’s new opus David Comes To Life is now streaming in whole at NPR, in advance of its release on June 7. They’re playing Yonge-Dundas Square and Wrongbar on June 16 for NXNE and the Air Canada Centre on August 9. Tourdates UK has an interview with Damian Abraham.

Stream: Fucked Up / David Comes To Life

Evening Hymns are featured in a Takeaway Show; they play the Music Gallery for NXNE on June 16.

Dan Mangan has cobbled together some tour footage into a new video, presumably the last from Nice, Nice, Very Nice before his third album Oh, Fortune arrives in September. You can also stream his set this weekend at Sasquatch over at NPR.

Video: Dan Mangan – “Sold”

JAM interviews Sloan. They have two dates at the Mod Club for June 21 and 22.

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Hoop Dreams

Canadian Musicfest reveals first batch of acts for 2011

Photo via FacebookFacebookSeeing as how 2010 is basically over and done with – didn’t you see all the lists summing it all up? The next week and a half are just formality – it’s time to start turning our eyes ever so slightly to next year and Canadian Musicfest, one of the first big upcoming to-dos hereabouts, has given us something to focus on with the first batch of showcasing artists at the festival, which will run March 9 to 13 at clubs around downtown Toronto.

Some of the names that jump out at me are J Mascis, who will be showcasing his acoustic side as per his forthcoming solo record Several Shades Of Why out March 15, buzzy Brit band Bombay Bicycle Club, Canadian acts like Land Of Talk and Shad who will have graduated to marquee artist status and up and comers such as La Patère Rose and Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

I was especially pleased to see Miracle Fortress in the lineup, as it means the long wait for a follow-up to 2007’s Five Roses could finally be coming to an end. At one point last year the word was the famine was going to become a feast with not one but two new albums being readied for release, but nothing came of them and Graham Van Pelt busied himself with Think About Life. A new record for 2011 seems like a certainty, although exactly what that record will be is anyone’s guess. The promotion cycle for Five Roses turned Miracle Fortrees from a solo endeavour into a band, but key members Jessie Stein and Adam Waito have their own projects – The Luyas and Adam & The Amethysts respectively – demanding their attention. I’ll bet that album number two will again be Van Pelt on his own and suspect that anyone hoping for another collection of sparklingly psychedelic Beach Boys-esque pop will be left scratching their heads. But my guess is as good as anyone else’s, and we’ll find out for sure come March.

MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Have You Seen In Your Dreams”

Diamond Rings has had a pretty impressive 2010, and his 2011 is looking to be shaping up nicely as well – it was announced yesterday that he would be opening up for Swedish pop superstar Robyn on all her upcoming North American dates, starting on January 26 at the Sound Academy in Toronto. Yes indeed, a hell of a thing.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”

Paste asks Destroyer’s Dan Bejar to describe his new record Kaputt. Said album is out on January 25.

The first MP3 from Iron & Wine’s new record Kiss Each Other Clean is up for download at the band’s website in exchange for an email address.

Billboard talks to Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst about their new record The People’s Key, out February 15. They are at the Sound Academy on March 13.

Beach House are giving away a new song, just because they sound like Summer and it is currently, in no way shape or form, Summer. Except in the southern hemisphere.

MP3: Beach House – “I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun”

If you missed their sold-out show at the Drake last week, take heart – husband-and-wife duo Tennis will return on February 25 for a show at the Horseshoe. Their debut Cape Dory is due out January 18. The Denver Post profiles the band.

MP3: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”
MP3: Tennis – “Baltimore”

Bandwidth has an acoustic video session with Frightened Rabbit.

Matablog reveals that Belle & Sebastian’s hometown show at the Barrowland in Glasgow next Tuesday will be streamed live via a number of online outlets, including NPR, starting at 4PM EST.

The Dumbing Of America, Bloginity and Herald Scotland interview White Lies, whose second album Ritual will be out January 18. They’re at the Mod Club on January 29 and a live version of the first single is available to download at their Myspace.

Grinderman have a new video. It’s “Evil”. And evil.

Video: Grinderman – “Evil”

Pitchfork has details on Peter Bjorn & John’s next record, which will be entitled Gimme Some and be out on March 29.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

In The Dirt

Review of S. Carey’s All We Grow and giveaway

Photo By Cameron WittingCameron WittingIt doesn’t seem like much of a selling point to be the drummer in the band that’s generally held to be a pseudonym for the songwriter and frontman. But for Sean Carey, who works under the name of S. Carey, the Bon Iver connection is much more than a marketing angle.

While Carey’s debut solo effort All We Grow wasn’t recorded in solitude, ensconced in a rural Wisconsin cabin – it was assembled piecemeal over time between tours – it taps into a similar emotional wellspring as For Emma, Forever Ago. Built on layers of Carey’s gentle vocals and wrapped in gently insistent piano motifs, stark yet complex percussion and raw guitar work, All We Grow is hypnotic, meditative and suffused with a serene sort of longing. It’s the sort of record that could simultaneously lull you to sleep while reminding you of an unshakeable ache in your heart.

Many found For Emma an unbearably beautiful record – I wasn’t one of them. I liked it and certainly understood what people found so emotionally resonant about it, but it didn’t strike that chord in me like it did others. All We Grow, on the other hand, hits much closer to the mark. If Justin Vernon makes the next Bon Iver record into more of a band-crafted affair and Carey can contribute some of the depth that he’s infused his own work with, the results could be devastating.

The Daily Iowan talks to Sean Carey, who is currently on tour and will be at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto this Sunday, December 19. Tickets for the show are $11.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see S Carey” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 16.

MP3: S. Carey – “In The Dirt”
MP3: S. Carey – “In The Stream”
Myspace: S.Carey

Mark Kozelek finally returns to Toronto – he cancelled his last scheduled visit in June of 2008. This time, he’s scheduled to play Lee’s Palace on March 22 as part of a solo tour supporting Sun Kil Moon’s latest Admiral Fell Promises.

Le Tigre spinoff MEN have assembled a North American tour in support of their next record Talk About Body, due out February 1. Look for them at Wrongbar in Toronto on March 21.

The Los Angeles Times finds out just how close Warpaint came to calling it quits before breaking out with their debut The Fool.

The Daily Yomiuri chats with Owen Pallett and eye gets some insight into the scoring of the New York Times’ “14 Actors Acting” videos that made the rounds last week.

Prefix talks to drummer Arlen Thompson of Wolf Parade.

OMG Blog has an interview with Liz Phair.

Stereogum gets a status report on the next Death Cab For Cutie record, which will carry the name Codes And Keys and be due out in the Spring of next year.

Not content to be known for records, rock operas and possibly plays, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists talks to Spinner about his literary ambitions – his novel Wildwood is currently in the editing stage. The new Decemberists record The King Is Dead is out on January 18 and they’ll be at The Sound Academy on February 1.

Pitchfork talks to Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch about his upcoming book/memoir The Celestial Cafe, due out in early 2011.

James Allan of Glasvegas talks to NME about their old drummer’s departure, their new drummer’s arrival and their second album, which is targeted for a late 2011 release.

There was some disappointment when it was revealed that The Radio Dept.’s forthcoming Passive Aggressive compilation wouldn’t be a total rarity treasure trove as originally hoped, but a mix of singles and b-sides that would be of limited value to people who’d collected the band’s one-offs over the years. That disappointment has been allayed some with the announcement that the collection will be released on double vinyl in an edition limited to 2000 pieces and available for pre-order exclusively from Insound. I will leave you all to claim the other 1999 yourselves. The set is out January 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on February 7. And they have a new video.

Video: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”

The Dø have put out a video from their new EP Dust It Off.

Video: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”

Spin hangs out with Grinderman during their North American tour.

Friday, December 10th, 2010

A Week In The Dark

Do Make Say Think leads 2010 What’s In The Box lineup

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongAs of right now, I’m perfectly happy to see the 2010 concert season – as wonderful as it’s been – winding down, but talk to me in a few weeks when resting up begins to turn into getting bored, and I may be getting itchy for something to do or see. Which is where The Drake Hotel has come in handy since 2006, running a week of (mostly) live music programming in The Underground for the next-to-nothing cover charge of $5.

This year’s lineup was just unveiled and as always, there’s some choice stuff on the schedule. The evening of Tuesday December 28 should be particularly tasty, being headlined as it is by local instrumental monsters Do Make Say Think, who usually play much larger rooms and cost much more than a fiver. Also appearing throughout the week will be Kingston’s buzz/fuzz merchants PS I Love You, up-and-comers Ruby Coast, veterans By Divine Right and many more. And again: $5. Beat that with a stick, I dare you.

MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
Video: Do Make Say Think – “In Mind”
Video: Ruby Coast – “Whatever This Is” has posted up a 3-song Camera Music session with Diamond Rings, Oregon Music News an interview.

NPR talks to Born Ruffians.

Emo-rock forebears The Get-Up Kids have set a date at The Phoenix for March 8 of next year in support of their new record There Are Rules, out January 25. Tickets $24.50 in advance.

John Darnielle has revealed details of The Mountain Goats’ next record – All Eternals Deck is coming on March 29 and may or may not have a little death metal seasoning in the brew.

Spinner talks to Editors frontman Tom Smith.

This excerpt from a documentary about a man who bicycled around the world is being used as the first official Mogwai video from Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, out February 15. They’re at the Phoenix on April 26.

Video: Mogwai – “How To Be A Werewolf”

Adele has rolled out the first video from her new record 21, due out February 22. She talks to Spinner about making the clip.

Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”

The Radio Dept have made the whole of their acoustic radio session at KEXP available to download. Their Passive Aggressive compilation comes out January 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on February 7.

John Eriksson gives Spin a status update on the new Peter Bjorn & John record, due out in the early part of 2011.

New York Magazine talks to Nick Cave about Grinderman while The Los Angeles Times looks at how a Bad Seeds song made it onto the latest Harry Potter soundtrack. BBC reports that Cave crashed his car this week, but is alright.