Posts Tagged ‘Hefner’

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Passive Aggressive

The Radio Dept. no longer convincing anyone they hate touring

Photo via FacebookFacebookFor the longest time, conventional wisdom about The Radio Dept. said the Swedish three-piece hated to play live, preferring to record, throw out and re-record albums of gorgeously forlorn synth-pop in the safety and comfort of their studio. As such, I undertook a pilgrimage of sorts to New York two Summers ago to see them play what I assumed would be an incredibly rare show.

Even when their long-awaited third album Clinging To A Scheme broke them open to a much larger audience (relative statement but still) following its release last Spring, they seemed to be unwilling to capitalize on the interest, playing only some Asian and European dates in the Spring and another couple of New York shows late in the year. I seriously considered getting on a plane again but was tipped off that 2011 would be year that The Radio Dept became intimately acquainted with North America and indeed, they spent the first half of February traversing the continent and making their Toronto debut in front of a completely sold-out Lee’s Palace.

And then, against all expectations, they came back, playing The Horseshoe in late May. I missed that one on account of being in Europe but I’d like to think that the show was well-attended, perhaps with all the people who couldn’t get into the Lee’s show. Either way, it must have been at least full enough to justify a third go-around because that’s what we’re getting – a third Radio Dept. show in nine months, this one on November 17 at The Mod Club. It’s part of their largest North American tour yet, and if you need an reason beyond “why not”, then how about that first show was to promote Clinging, the second the Passive Aggressive compilation and this one… their vinyl reissues? I hope so, because Pet Grief has been sorely underrepresented in the shows I’ve seen… In any case – even though I won’t assume they’re any more dynamic a live act than in the past, I still highly recommend seeing them because the songs are still sublime and – wealth of recent appearances notwithstanding – who knows when they’ll be back?

The band are offering a recording of their set at Sasquatch this past May – including a new, untitled song – for free download.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “untitled new song” (live at Sasquatch 2011)
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

Also filling out the November concert calendar a bit – mysterious British rockers WU LYF, whose name is an acronym for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation and not meant to be shouted, have made a date at The Horseshoe for November 12 as part of a Fall tour in support of their debut Go Tell Fire To The Mountain. Spinner has an interview with the band.

MP3: WU LYF – “Summas Bliss”

And The Boxer Rebellion, who were here back in April, will graduate to The Opera House for their November 19 show in support of The Cold Still as well as their just-released live set Live In Tennessee.

MP3: The Boxer Rebellion – “No Harm”

Listen Before You Buy is streaming two sides of a new Frightened Rabbit tour EP, the tour in question being the one that brings them to the Molson Amphitheatre tonight.

Wild Beasts have a new video from their latest Smother. They play The Mod Club on September 29.

Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”

Black Book talks to James Blake, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 30.

The first video from Ladytron’s new record Gravity The Seducer has been released. The album is out September 13 and they play The Phoenix on October 5.

Video: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

Drowned In Sound has a sit-down with Sons & Daughters drummer David Gow about their new record Mirror Mirror.

There’s a new live in-studio performance video available from Patrick Wolf, showcasing one of the numbers from Lupercalia.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Time Of My Life” (Live at The Pool Studios, 2011)

The National Post gets to know Anna Calvi.

I’m finally discovering the works of Hefner, though it’s about a decade too late to do anything with it in real time… but Artrocker reports that ex-frontman Darren Hayman has a new solo record entitled The Ship’s Piano out come October 11. Those who’ve followed his career through all its guises – is his solo stuff as good as Hefner? Not that I’ll have waded through all of Hefner’s back catalog anytime soon, but for reference.

Video: Hefner – “Good Fruit”

NME reports that Manic Street Preachers will mark their 21st anniversary with the release of the National Treasures singles compilation in October. It will supplant 2002’s Forever Delayed as the go-to compilation, not unreasonably since they’ve release four albums since then and the new comp will also include a new single.

Also coming in October – the 3rd to be exact – is a ridiculous Smiths box set entitled The Smiths Complete. On the plus side, it contains all the band’s official albums and compilations on CD and 180g LP, 25 7″s, a DVD, tonnes of posters and art, the whole thing has been remastered by Johnny Marr and it’s limited to an edition of 3000 so in owning it, you can impress the people on the internet who are impressed by this sort of thing. On the down side, its got nothing fans haven’t already bought several times over and in purchasing it, you continue to subsidize this nutjob. So yeah, your call. Details on the set at Pitchfork.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

A Balloon Called Moaning

An introduction to The Joy Formidable

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo even though I’ve got a mighty backlog of stuff to cover and even though this has been a long weekend (or maybe because), I’ve still not had time to get to any of it properly. So coverage of the past few days worth of showgoing will start tomorrow. For today, you get this. A free album. Which is probably better than my concert reviews.

Welsh trio The Joy Formidable know how to get media attention. Last Summer, they had a video for debut single “Austere” banned from YouTube on account of it being comprised of video clips of people… well, I’d rather not have my site indexed for THOSE particular keywords but even though it was just a fan-made clip, the band gave it their seal of approval by posting it on their own website. And it’s probably NSFW. The band also made an official clip, but it’s far less controversial. And now, they’ve opted to take their debut album A Balloon Called Moaning and give the whole thing away for frees via NME. It was already released in a limited edition box set which sold out in a heartbeat and will be out in physical form tomorrow, but you can have it digitally now.

Now both of these might seem like gimmicky ways to get people talking about the band, but fact is that even without these talking points, The Joy Formidable would be more than worthy of your attention. Its eight tracks veer from dreamy to wide-awake and in-your-face but always maintain a gleeful enthusiasm, propelled on a wave of fuzzy, barbed hooks and snarlingly saccharine vocals. It sounds like a being hit in the face with a sack of sugar. When anyone asks me next week what I did over the long weekend, I’m going to say (and truthfully) that I listened to this record ad nauseum and didn’t tire of it at all. Is that sufficient endorsement to get you to go download and listen? It’s free for goodness sake. Just go get and listen. Thank me later.

Uncensored has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
MySpace: The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable had been listed as one of the acts heading to SxSW next month and surely would have been one of my highlights, but with the release of the official schedule last week, they’re nowhere to be found. Actually, instead of heading to Texas, they’ve opted to go out on a UK tour as support for Howling Bells, another band I was hoping was going to be in Austin. In fact, the entire Sx lineup is looking pretty weak. I know I said the same thing last year around this time and ended up having the best time ever anyways, but there’s going to be a lot of digging to find acts that will get my attention. But on the plus side, I already know how my Saturday night is ending – seeing Echo & The Bunnymen play a gay Texan cowboy bar.

If you missed the numerous edits to last week’s post about Polly Scattergood, allow me to sum up – rather than her debut album being entitled Other Too Endless and being released on March 9, it will now be self-titled and be coming out on May 19. But there’s a new video for the next single, which would have been the title track but is now just a song. A great song.

Video: Polly Scattergood – “Other Too Endless”

Emmy The Great week at Drowned In Sound wrapped up with another set of interviews conducted by Emmy. First off, she talks with Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap and who’s just released a new album in How To Get To Heaven From Scotland. There’s also a piece with Darren Hayman, formerly of Hefner and also with a new solo record in Pram Town, a talk with Mica Levi of Micachu. And to wrap up, a heart-to-heart with Dev Hynes, aka Lightspeed Champion, about the genius of Steve Martin. She also lets Metro have a look at her iPod (though they evidently look at her as they’ve run a picture of Los Campesinos with the piece, and helpfully identify the one of them as Emmy) and gives an interview to Virgin Music.

BBC profile Saint Etienne.

This Is Nottingham talks to Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong. They have two dates at the Kool Haus on March 13 and 14.

The Boston Globe, Boston Music Spotlight, Metro and The Village Voice have interviews with various member of Los Campesinos!, in town at the Opera House on April 1.

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 may be saying Goodnight Oslo on their new album, out tomorrow, but they’ll be saying “hello Mod Club” when they come to town on April 16. Tickets $20.