Posts Tagged ‘Guitar Wolf’

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Gung Ho

Patti Smith is coming back to Toronto and this time, she wants our electricity

Photo By Angelo CricchiAngelo CricchiAfter the longest time without a proper concert – 2000, if the internet is to be believed – 2013 has turned out to be quite the boon for Toronto-area Patti Smith fans. First there was the Camera Solo exhibition of her photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario which began running in February and just wrapped this past weekend, then the super-intimate, super-sold out 1st Thursday shows in March which begat the almost last-minute Queen Elizabeth Theatre show shortly thereafter. And while no one in attendance would argue that show was anything less than spectacular, I’m sure some wished that the primarily acoustic performance had evoked a little more of the punk pioneer’s rock’n’roll spirit.

Well those people have gotten their wish. On September 6, Smith will return for a show at Massey Hall and be backed by her long-time electric band of Lenny Kaye, Tony Shanahan, Jay Dee Daugherty, and Jack Petruzzelli. Tickets will run from $49.50 to $79.50, and a presale will go today at 2PM; hit up Collective Concerts and their attendant social media avenues for details. Regular on-sale goes Thursday at 10AM via Massey Hall’s website.

MP3: Patti Smith – “Wing”

Counting one of the most ridiculously fierce guitarists in the indie rock world right now – that’d be diminutive frontwoman Marissa Paternoster – New Jersey’s Screaming Females are coming to town for a show at Parts & Labour on August 22, tickets $10 in advance. Their last full-length Ugly came out last year but they put out the Chalk Tape EP back in February of this year; I think their last visit to town was in June 2010 supporting Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.

Video: Screaming Females – “Poison Arrow”

Atmospheric Los Angeles duo Houses released their A Quiet Darkness back in April – stream it and read an interview at Huffington Post – and they’re undertaking a North American tour behind it, hitting The Garrison on September 17.

Video: Houses – “The Beauty Surrounds”
Stream: Houses / A Quiet Darkness

Chart-topping, BRIT-winning, fresh-faced English singer-songwriter Tom Odell, whose debut album Long Way Down was released last month, will be hitting North America this Fall to try to replicate his success on this side of the pond. Full dates are still forthcoming, but he’s in Toronto at The Great Hall on September 25 and tickets are $16.50 in advance. The Daily Mail has an extensive interview with Odell.

Video: Tom Odell – “Another Love”

That Odell show happens to be on the same day that fellow Brits Bastille, who themselves had a #1 record in the UK with their debut Bad Blood, are in town and they’ve just upgraded said September 25 show from The Opera House to The Phoenix and put out a new video to boot. What oh what will the Anglophiles do.

Video: Bastille – “Things We Lost In The Fire”

Widowspeak have scored themselves a pretty plumb spot opening up for Iron & Wine for a leg of their Fall tour, including the September 28 date at The Sound Academy. Their new EP The Swamps comes out October 29.

MP3: Widowspeak – “The Devil Knows”

Japanese garage rock heroes Guitar Wolf are coming back to North America behind their latest album Beast Vibrator. They play Toronto’s Hard Luck on October 1.

Video: Guitar Wolf – “Fighting Rock”

Having managed to not come to town at all behind their debut album Give You The Ghost, Minneapolis synth-soul outfit Poliça have thoughtfully included Toronto as one of the very first dates behind their second album, Shulamith. It’s out October 22 and they’re here at The Mod Club on November 1 – tickets will run $16.50 in advance.

Video: Poliça – “Tiff”

Veteran – as in a 40-year career in counting – Los Angeles avant-power-pop duo Sparks have scheduled a rare local date at Lee’s Palace on November 2, tickets $30.

MP3: Sparks – “The Rhythm Thief”

Rolling Stone reports that Bob Dylan will focus on the era surrounding his much-maligned Self-Portrait album, circa 1969 to 1971, for The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), due out August 27.

NPR has premiered an interactive stream of another song from the new Okkervil River album The Silver Gymnasium, coming out September 3. They play The Phoenix on September 28.

Stream: Okkervil River – “Down Down The Deep River”

Pitchfork has details on and a first stream from the new Elf Power record Sunlight On The Moon, due out October 1.

Stream: Elf Power – “Sunlight On The Moon”

Rolling Stone reports that you can hear a new track from The Dismemberment Plan’s forthcoming Uncanney Valley – out October 15 – by calling them on the phone at 252-64-DPLAN. That number again is 252-64-DPLAN. Operators are standing by.

The Flaming Lips have released a new video from their last album, The Terror.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “Turning Violent”

Clearly Dinosaur Jr don’t have an issue with cross-promotion. According to Consequence Of Sound and Pitchfork, unreleased songs – including a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” – are being made available to folks to buy or think about buying Keep shoes or Skullcandy headphones.

Stream: Dinosaur Jr – “Fade Into You”

Noisetrade has a live Caitlin Rose EP available for purchase or free download, depending on how generous you feel.

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Rumour Has It

Adele at The Masonic Temple in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAdele has been a big deal for a while, her 2008 debut 19 having picked up all kinds of accolades and awards. And that’s kind of a shame because with that level of acclaim as a floor, it’s difficult to express just how much better the follow-up 21 is. I appreciated the debut as a showcase for Ms Adkin’s talents as a singer and songwriter, but the follow up bests it in pretty much every way.

Her voice is still as formidable a presence as ever, with so much inherent strength and character that the acrobatics and oversinging that those who would aspire to be her peers inevitably resort to are wholly unnecessary. But 21‘s songs themselves are more sophisticated, melodic and dynamic and so effortlessly cross genres like soul, gospel, folk, pop and even a couple commendable forays into rock that they make the idea of genres kind of pointless. Whereas on 19 some of the songs were there to serve the voice, on 21 everything is in service to the songs. In other words, it’s a hell of a record.

And in support of it, Adele was in town last night for a taping of MTV Live which included an intimate mini-concert at the Masonic Temple. Having not seen her perform before – I think her Toronto appearances took her directly from The Rivoli to Massey Hall – I felt fortunate that I was invited to attend this show. Following a sort-of late-night talk show format segment that wasn’t as terrible as a feared and certainly featured more on-camera raunch and swearing than I’d expected, Adele came out delivered a set that was brief but also would have convinced anyone that she was the real deal.

Backed by a full six-piece band, she opened with “Rolling In The Deep” and then stripped (and sat) down with just a pianist and cup of tea for the ballady portion of the show, delivering “Someone Like You”, “Turning Tables” and 19 Dylan cover “Feel My Love” with astonishing presence despite not having much in the way of stage moves. Between songs, she took the time to banter and joke with the adoring audience – there was certainly no sign of the stage fright that she’s said to suffer from – and after inviting her band back, closed with “Chasing Pavements”. A short but completely stirring set that proved that having the lungs and the voice is only meaningful if they’re connected directly to the heart.

Adele plays a sold-out show at The Kool Haus on May 18. The Daily Record has an interview.

Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Spinner, BBC and The Guardian talk to Noah & The Whale, whose new record Last Night On Earth is available to stream at NME in advance of its March 15 release date. If their goal with this record was to no longer be lumped in with the English anti-folk movement… well I think they’ve done it. Noah & The Whale and their synths will be at The Mod Club on March 24.

Stream: Noah & The Whale / Last Night On Earth

The “director’s cut” for one of Mumford & Sons’ videos from Sigh No More is now online, though curiously it’s about 9 seconds shorter than the official version.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Winter Winds” (director’s cut)
Video: Mumford & Sons – “Winter Winds”

Spinner talks to Esben & The Witch, in town at Wrongbar next Friday night for Canadian Musicfest.

Vanity Fair and University Observer Q&A Anna Calvi, who was also supposed to be on that Wrongbar CMF bill but who has cancelled all dates prior to that one and the one after due to an arm/hand injury. So while I await the official word, it’s safe to say that the Toronto show is off as well.

The Quietus interviews Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye.

Drowned In Sound meets Gruff Rhys, who follows up the May 3 release of Hotel Shampoo with a date at The Horseshoe on June 11.

Ladytron have released a video for one of the new tracks that will appear on the Best of Ladytron: 00-10 compilation, due out March 29.

Video: Ladytron – “Age Of Hz”

Digital Spy talks to Patrick Wolf about his forthcoming new record Lupercalia, out May 31, while Spinner grabs an interview video-style.

A new Loney Dear video has surfaced. Let’s hope this means the new full-length Hall Music isn’t far behind.

Video: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”

The Line Of Best Fit, Pitchfork, Blurt and Exclaim all have interviews with Lykke Li about her spanking new record Wounded Rhymes. She is at The Phoenix on May 22.

The Line Of Best Fit points out a new video from The Concretes and a complete live show from Paris available to stream at Grand Crew.

Video: The Concretes – “Crack In The Paint”

Blurt reports that the third salvo of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues will arrive on May 17 and cover his ’90s output with bonus-loaded editions of Let Love In, Murder Ballads, The Boatman’s Call and No More Shall We Part.

R.E.M.’s new record Collapse Into Now is available to stream all over the place leading up to its release next week. Check it out at Exclaim

Stream: R.E.M. / Collapse Into Now

And here are some of the new(ish) concert announcements for this week; Joe Pug and Strand Of Oaks have a date at The Horseshoe on April 20, tickets $10.

MP3: Strand Of Oaks – “Bonfire”

Joan As Police Woman, whom I don’t think has been to Toronto in the past four years if ever – a Summer 2007 show was cancelled – will be at The Drake on April 21 as part of a tour in support of her new record The Deep Field, which comes out on April 11, tickets $12. After Ellen has a feature.

MP3: Joan As Police Woman – “The Magic”
MP3: Joan As Police Woman – “To Be Loved”

Guitar Wolf have a date at Lee’s Palace for May 17, extending their previously-announced North American tour, tickets $18.50. They released Uchusenkan Love last Fall.

MP3: Guitar Wolf – “After School Thunder”

Anti reports that Man Man are almost done work on their new record and are setting out on tour, presumably to promote. They’re in Toronto on May 26 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.50.

MP3: Man Man – “Top Drawer”

Sondre Lerche gives New York Magazine the scoop on his new self-titled record, due out June 7. He’ll be playing songs from it – presumably – when he hits The Mod Club on May 31, tickets $18.50.

Here’s a tour filled with more win than Charlie Sheen – Okkervil River, Titus Andronicus and Future Islands stopping in at The Phoenix on June 10, tickets $18.50 in advance. Okkervil will release their new record I Am Very Far on May 10, Titus are still working last year’s glorious The Monitor (and will still be at The Horseshoe for their own headlining show April 1) and Future Islands released In Evening Air last year.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine” (live on Jimmy Fallon)
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”
MP3: Future Islands – “Tin Man”

That same night but costing $18.50 less than the Okkervil show – that’s free, if you don’t feel like doing the math – is The Joel Plaskett Emergency performing at Metro Hall as part of this year’s Luminato arts festival. Their set time is 9:20PM.

MP3: The Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Deny Deny Deny”

And finally, some fellow with Britpop love in his heart and too much time on his hands has begun digitizing archives of Select Magazine. I bought so many mediocre records based on their boundless enthusiasm, but also some awesome ones. Ah, nostalgia.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Matador At 21: The Lost Weekend Day One

Pavement, Sonic Youth, Fucked Up and more at Matador at 21

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangLas Vegas is the sort of place that everyone should go to once in their life, if just to bear witness to the astonishing and grotesque excess of the city. If you couldn’t tell, I am no great fan of the place and, having been there once as an adult some years back, I had been there, done that, eaten the deep-fried twinkie and had no need to ever go back. Matador Records, however, felt otherwise and so when the astonishingly stacked lineup for their 21st anniversary celebrations was announced earlier in the Summer, I begrudgingly made plans to return to Sin City.

And it was a hard deal to pass up. Beyond the sheer amount of indie rock royalty that was being crammed into three nights, there were packages that included rooms at the casino where everything was going down – The Palms – which as I learned was regarded as a party hotel even by Vegas standards and had a history of hosting such cultural watershed events as The Real World and hosting luminaries from Jersey Shore. But while the couple thousand Mata-fans who descended on Vegas Friday, Saturday and Sunday were but a drop in the ocean of decadence that was a normal weekend at The Palms, we were able to commandeer their fancy-pants Pearl concert theatre, fittingly located underground so as to keep the Morlocks apart from the Eloi, to celebrate the days when indie rock was called college rock.

The Friday night program was thankfully the most compact of the three, a thoughtful bit of consideration for those who traveled several time zones to be there (aside: Vegas is in the Pacific time zone, not Mountain, which is an interesting thing to discover when you land and it’s not what time you thought it was). But it was still as laden with great bands as you could hope for, though it was almost a little less laden before things even got started. In mid-afternoon, word was going around that Japan’s Guitar Wolf had had their flight delayed and weren’t going to make it in time to kick things off. Writing them off turned out to be premature, though, as they apparently opted to drive to Vegas rather than wait for a flight and were able to storm the stage with their leather pants and pure garage rock posture for an abbreviated but still incredibly bould electrifying set. Pretty great for a band that wasn’t even supposed to be there.

Photos: Guitar Wolf @ Pearl at The Palms – October 1, 2010
MP3: Guitar Wolf – “After School Thunder”

Next up were one of a few old-school Matador alumnus who had been largely inactive for the past decade but got it back together for the occasion – New York’s Chavez. Their aggressively mathy yet melodic sound was very much of the ‘90s but still undeniably potent. Led by Matt Sweeney’s vocals and Clay Tarver’s searing guitar lines, they played a tremendous energy you wouldn’t expect from a band that’s only occasionally active. Their compact set whipped the crowd into a delirium and offered a glimpse into what an alternate universe where these singles had been hits might have looked like – graying and clad in faded t-shirts, yes, but still delirious. I’d listened to a little Chavez in the past; clearly there’s a need to listen to a lot more.

Photos: Chavez @ Pearl at The Palms – October 1, 2010
MP3: Chavez – “The Guard Attacks/Unreal Is Here”
MP3: Chavez – “You Faded”

Considering the veteran demographic of much of the attendees, it’s not surprising that Fucked Up seemed to be the designated pee break band. They were the only band representing the Matador new school on this night and even though they’ve succeeded as a sort of gateway hardcore act, they weren’t exactly classically Matador-sounding. And it’s just as well that some of the audience cleared out as it gave the youth contingent more room to lose their shit, which they did with gusto as Fucked Up provided the ideal soundtrack for shit-losing. As his bandmates churned out an unrelenting rock attack, frontman Pink Eyes was in fine form with a plastic cup smashed and stuck on his forehead for am impressively long time as he roamed the stage, bellowing and hollering all the while. The highlight of their set, though, wasn’t Fucked Up per se but one of their fans who went on an epic-length crowd surf that found him on stage singing with the band, back into the crowd, back on stage, out into a cluster of photographers (not a good idea we don’t have free hands and dropping you is a preferable scenario to dropping our gear), way out the far corners of the Pearl floor, back on stage and then heaved up fireman-style onto Damian Abraham’s shoulders and once more back into the crowd. No, this was not something you were likely to see during Belle & Sebastian’s set.

Photos: Fucked Up @ Pearl at The Palms – October 1, 2010
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Twice Born”

Sonic Youth have only been a Matador band for one record so far, but they certainly they shaped the landscape that allowed the label to exist and are spiritually intertwined on countless levels. But rather than focus on their official Matador material – last year’s The Eternal – they instead performed some revisionist history and adopted their back catalog with OLE numbers and delivered a jaw-dropping set of exclusively pre-1994 material in their original four-piece configuration, with Kim Gordon on bass full-time. The throwback song selections was a great contrast to their show at Massey Hall last year where they focused almost exclusively on the new material and while that was certainly a great show in its own right, this one was another level of riveting entirely. And maybe most terrifically, they closed out with a genuine, physical guitar duel as Lee Ranaldo dashed across the stage to cross guitar necks with Thurston Moore, laying flat on the stage. It was great to see the musical godfathers of nearly everyone playing this weekend still having fun like, well, youths.

Photos: Sonic Youth @ Pearl at The Palms – October 1, 2010
MP3: Sonic Youth – “Sacred Trickster”
MP3: Sonic Youth – “Incinerate”

The night closed with the reunion that a year ago no one ever thought would happen – Pavement – winding down a year of shows that had taken them around the world to claim some of the reward that largely eluded them when they were an active proposition in the ‘90s. And while Pavement 2010 has been a success by most standards, on this night there were clearly signs that the tensions that split them up a decade ago were resurfacing. Just one song into the set, some technical issues with Steve West’s drum kit opened up some dead time, prompting Steven Malkmus to invite Bob Nastaonovich to join him in an impromptu reading of “Perfect Depth” but not extending it to Scott Kannberg – whether it was an oversight or deliberate slight, only SM knows but the net result was an unhappy Spiral Stairs (credit to Prefix for catching it). Kannberg’s unhappiness boiled over when he stepped up for “Kennel District” and while Malkmus – who had earlier turned his mic stand so as to have his back to the band – rolled around on the floor covering his parts, Kannberg alternated verses with grimaces and by song’s end was fuming over perceived flubs, though it sounded fine in the audience.

Seething and palpable tensions aside, Pavement sounded great and their performance had an extra bit of looseness that wasn’t there when they played Pitchfork earlier in the Summer. Malkmus, in particular, was in a strangely goofy mood, cracking jokes and batting around the mic like a toy and Nastanovich was, well, Nastanovich, bounding around the stage like a kid while belting out his parts. The SM/SS dynamic would still be the biggest take-away from their set as Kannberg walked off stage a couple times before the set was done, only grudgingly returning to finish things off. It was a very Pavement moment that rather than have a properly grand finale prepared for their final North American show, they went with an off-the-cuff “AT&T” and, uncertain if they had any more time but down a guitarist, shuffled off stage. No handcuffs made an appearance but no one in attendance will likely be surprised if it’s announced that Pavement are, again, done. And for night one, despite some sweet-ass after party type events scheduled, I was also done.

Photos: Pavement @ Pearl at The Palms – October 1, 2010
MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Pavement – “Rattled By The Rush”
MP3: Pavement – “Heckler Spray/In THe Mouth Of A Desert” (live)
MP3: Pavement – “All My Friends”
MP3: Pavement – “Greenlander”

You may note that no mention was made of the evening’s MC, Jeffrey Joe Jensen. This was deliberate.

eye talks to Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham at Matador at 21 while The New York Times considers the Pavement reunion and the band’s legacy. There’s more night one writeups at Las Vegas Weekly, The AV Club and Los Angeles Times. And loads more are out there, just look.