Posts Tagged ‘Holly Miranda’

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Sleep On Fire

Holly Miranda and Braids at The El Mocambo in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve already document thoughts in this space about Holly Miranda on record – specifically her debut The Magician’s Private Library – and Holly Miranda live – specifically one of her day shows at SxSW – so I’m a bit short on lead-in thoughts to her show at the El Mocambo in Toronto this past Thursday; her second solo appearance but first headlining.

I do, however, have some thoughts on Montreal’s Braids, who were supporting her on a handful of dates and who have been getting some modest buzz; buzz which played a fairly large part in getting me off the fence about going to the show (on the side of going, if that wasn’t clear). And from the very limited samples they’ve posted on their MySpace – “Lemonade” and “Liver & Tan” – they certainly sound like they’d be worthy of note. Both are fine balancing acts between aural experimentation and pop smarts, where complex vocal and guitar arrangements still resolve into hooks and however far they meander, they don’t lose sight of the melody, and if these songs – which I believe bookended their set – were representative of everything in between, then I’d happily be adding my voice to the chorus of praise. Unfortunately, much of what else went on sounded like the above description but without the pop element – there was plenty of impressive musicianship and four-part vocal chorals, but little in the way of structure. It’s worth noting, however, that I am anything but a card-carrying member of the Dirty Bear Collective into which the Braids aesthetic seems to fall quite squarely, so it’s possible/probable that I just don’t like or get what they’re about. It doesn’t change the fact, however, that there was enough there that I found appealing that the rest of it felt like a disappointment.

There was no such disappointment from the headliner, though it helped that I had a good idea of what to expect. Miranda was touring as the same four-piece that had been in Austin in March, which meant that the leaner and punchier version of The Magician’s Private Library would be in effect. With a low-key but magnetic stage presence, Miranda appeared appreciative of the decent turnout on the eve of a long weekend but obviously preferred to let the music speak for her. Library did a good job of capturing the dreamier side of Miranda’s songs and vocals, but those familiar with her works beyond just the record know that she’s got a grittier, earthier aspect to her that’s just as potent if not more. This was particularly evident in her show-stopping cover of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” and main set-closing new song that called for equal rights first with yearning vocals, and then a raging guitar break. If Library was intended to capture the feeling of being asleep and dreaming, then the new material seems very much wide awake – most certainly a good thing.

NOW and Faster Louder have interviews with Holly Miranda. Braids’ debut full-length will be entitled Native Speaker and is due out in the Fall. They’re currently on a Canadian tour that includes another Toronto date at The Piston on May 29 as part of this year’s Pitter Patter Music Fest.

Photos: Holly Miranda, Braids @ The El Mocambo – May 20, 2010
MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”
MP3: Holly Miranda – “Forest Green Oh Forest Green”
MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”
MySpace: Holly Miranda

Land Of Talk have announced their second full-length album will be entitled Cloak & Cipher and be released on August 24. talked to Liz Powell a little while ago about making the record with producer Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes.

Dose talks to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, in town at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Blurt has kicked off a multi-part series remembering Jeff Buckley.

Daytrotter has got a session with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, who will release their new record Let It Sway on August 17. Grab the first MP3 in exchange fr your email at Polyvinyl.

NPR has an interview with The Hold Steady; they have a date at the Kool Haus on July 16.

NYC Taper is sharing a live recording of Phantogram at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan last week and has an interview with guitarist/vocalist Josh Carter.

Cincinatti’s WHY? will be at the Horseshoe on July 15, tickets $13.50. Their most recent release was last Fall’s Eskimo Snow

MP3: WHY? – “The Blackest Purse”

With their new record Barbara due out June 15, We Are Scientists will be hitting the road this Summer including a date at the Horseshoe on July 19, advance tickets $15. TwentyFourBit has an interview with the band, who are also blogging over at The Guardian.

Video: We Are Scientists – “Rules Don’t Stop”
Video: We Are Scientists – “Nice Guys”

Much to the delight of people who hate Dave Matthews – which is to say everyone – The Felice Brothers have scheduled their own Toronto show for July 27 at the Horseshoe, following their June 1 date supporting DMB at the Molson Amphitheatre. Tickets for the show are $15. Simone Felice is also appearing solo at NXNE, with a show at the Great Hall on June 18.

MP3: The Felice Brothers – “Run Chicken Run”
MP3: The Felice Brothers – “Frankie’s Gun”
MP3: The Felice Brothers – “Wonderful Life”

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

CONTEST – Holly Miranda @ The El Mocambo – May 20, 2010

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI can’t pretend I wasn’t a bit disappointed when Holly Miranda departed The Jealous Girlfriends to strike out on her own – that outfit had a lot of potential that their debut only touched on – but after hearing where she went with The Magician’s Private Library, it’s understandable why it didn’t work. As eclectic as her former band’s stylings were, they were still very much a rock band and it’s hard to imagine there’d have been a place for the hazy, Sitek-scapes that suffuse her debut.

Miranda’s voice is a marvelous instrument; rich and expressive in timbre, soaring and swooping in range, and alternately anxious, smouldering, questioning and knowing. In short, it’s a hell of a thing to hear and for all the sonic busyness that fills the Library, Miranda’s vocals remains front and centre, impossible to overwhelm. The Magician’s Private Library isn’t the most immediate record, relying less on hooks than caresses, but unquestionably a beautiful one and with repeated listens, as the songs sink in, only gets better from there.

After a number of choice supporting engagements, Miranda is finally in the midst of her own headlining tour and having seen her perform at SxSW, I can report that the live experience is many times louder and in your face than the record, yet just as pretty. Don’t ask how, just accept and enjoy. The Toronto show is May 20 at the El Mocambo – tickets are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts and Beggars Canada, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away for the show along with three copies of The Magician’s Private Library on vinyl in a fancy gatefold package. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Holly Miranda” if you want to go the show and “I want to check out the Magician’s Private Library” if you want the vinyl in the subject line and your full name (and mailing address for the LP) in the body, and get that in to me before midnight, May 17. Contest is open to residents of Canada and you can enter both if you like.

MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”
MP3: Holly Miranda – “Forest Green Oh Forest Green”
MySpace: Holly Miranda

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

A Token Of Gratitude

Review of The Radio Dept.’s Clinging To A Scheme

Photo By Max WeilandMax WeilandFor so long has Clinging To A Scheme, the third album from Sweden’s The Radio Dept, been promised and not delivered that it’s become something of a myth – if someone were to tell me that when it was finally to be released unto the world that it would be delivered by Axl Rose and Kevin Shields riding unicorns, I’d probably believe it.

But it finally arrives in stores next week, and fans who’ve been waiting for upwards of four years for another Radio Dept record will find that it… is another Radio Dept record. The trio haven’t used the time away to reinvent themselves or their sound, but with only two records to their names over twelve years of existence, you can hardly accuse them of having fallen into a holding pattern or phoning it in. They’ve simply adhering to the template laid out in their two masterpieces so far, Lesser Matters and Pet Grief, and written (and discarded and rewritten) songs until coming up with a collection they were happy with, and this is how long its taken. While it’s true that wrapping pop songs built on strings and electronics in fuzzy blankets of sound isn’t unique in and of itself, very few have managed to strike as perfect a balance between shimmer and static as The Radio Dept, and that’s even before you factor in their distinctly Scandinavian melancholy.

Within the boundaries of what makes a Radio Dept album, however, there are some adjustments from past works. Sonically, it largely retains the cleanliness of Pet Grief but some of the rough edges of Lesser Matters has crept back into the mix – welcomely, I might add – creating a blended texture that’s quantitatively different from but more quintessentially characteristic than anything they’ve done before. The mood of Clinging is also lighter, with a handful of genuinely bouncy numbers that would probably have felt out of place on the beautifully downbeat Pet Grief, but overall it moves at the pace of a thoughtful stroll and the vibe is that of someone trying their best to have a good time and be happy and not really succeeding. And it’s that contrast and combination of smiling whilst frowning that’s the source of much of The Radio Dept’s magic, a magic which is present in abundance on Clinging To A Scheme. Yes, it sounds just like The Radio Dept, but that’s all we ever asked for.

Penny Black talks to frontman Johan Duncanson about the long road to the record and what lies ahead for the band.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Never Follow Suit”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Heaven’s On Fire”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “David”

The Mary Onettes are releasing a new 7″ for Record Store Day and for those who won’t be able to get their hands on a copy, they’re giving away the a-side for free.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before The Funeral”

Interview interviews jj.

Jens Lekman recalls the state of Swedish indie in the ’90s to The Jakarta Post.

The Vancouver Sun, Bay Area Reporter and The AV Club have conversations with Jonsi, while Grapevine talks to him and collaborator Nico Muhly. Jonsi plays the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

The Telegraph and Houston Chronicle talk to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. They’re at the Opera House on May 4.

LCD Soundsystem have put up a stream of their new record This Is Happening, weeks ahead of its May 18 release date. They will be at the Kool Haus on May 25.

Stream: LCD Soundsystem / This Is Happening

The Toronto Star and CNN chat with Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on Sunday night, April 18.

The jokers at MBV Music have posted the cover art to the new Pernice Brothers record, which is coming out on June 15 with the cheery title of Goodbye Killer.

Spin talks to Stephen Malkmus on how the Pavement reunion came to be while North County Times chats with rhythm section Bob Nastanovich and Mark Ibold. Said reunion rolls into the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Beach House are giving away one of the tracks on their Record Store Day 12″ EP. Get it – if you’re early and lucky – this Saturday. They’re also playing the Toronto Islands on June 19.

MP3: Beach House – “Zebra” (UK Edit)

Filler has an interview and fashion spread with Holly Miranda. She plays the El Mocambo on May 20.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

SxSW 2010 Day Three A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFull writeup of the day over here.

Twin Sister
– Brooklyn poppers were just declared one of “8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear” by L Magazine and are giving away their debut EP Color Your Life for freesies. Ear Farm has an interview.
Photos: Twin Sister @ Club DeVille – March 19, 2010
MP3: Twin Sister – “Dry Hump”
MP3: Twin Sister – “Ginger”
MP3: Twin Sister – “Nectarine”
MP3: Twin Sister – “I Want A House”
MP3: Twin Sister – “All Around And Away We Go”
Video: Twin Sister – “#6”
ZIP: Twin Sister / Vampires With Dreaming Kids
MySpace: Twin Sister

Nicole Atkins
– New Jersey singer has recruited a new band – The Black Sea – to back her on album number two, which is currently in process and is due out this year.
Photos: Nicole Atkins @ Club DeVille – March 19, 2010
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Maybe Tonight”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “The Way It Is”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Neptune City”
MySpace: Nicole Atkins

Holly Miranda
– Former Jealous Girlfriend has just released her solo debut The Magician’s Private Library and will be at the El Mocambo on May 20 as part of a headlining tour of the northeast.
Photos: Holly Miranda @ Club DeVille – March 19, 2010
MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”
MP3: Holly Miranda – “Forest Green Oh Forest Green”
MySpace: Holly Miranda

Johnny Flynn
– English folksinger released the Sweet William EP last Fall as a stopgap before finishing album number two, entitled Been Listening and set for release on June 7 – details at NME.
Photos: Johnny Flynn @ Hilton Second Play Stage – March 19, 2010
MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Drum”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Tickle Me Pink”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Leftovers”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Brown Trout Blues”
MySpace: Johnny Flynn

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

When I Still Have Thee

Middle-aged cult heroes Teenage Fanclub return with new album

Photo via MergeMergeSo much to catch up on. Where to begin? How about Scotland? That Teenage Fanclub had completed a new record in the last while is no secret. Even the title has been kicking around since last year. But the lack of news on the actual release of the record has been tough to find, at least until now. Merge, who put out their last album Man-Made in 2005, will release Shadows on June 8 to the delight of power pop connoisseurs everywhere.

To stir up anticipation, they’ve released the first MP3 from the record. It’s a Norman Blake composition but like most everything they’ve done since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, regardless of who the specific songwriter is, it’s a master class in mid-tempo, ultra-melodic jangle-pop. One of the wonderful things about this band – besides the music, of course – is how each of the three principals has their own distinct songwriting personality, and yet they fit together seamlessly. I’ll admit that in the past half decade, I hadn’t really been chomping at the bit for a new Fannies record but knowing that one is coming and that it’s almost certain to be of the same high level of quality as they’ve maintained pretty much forever is a comforting thought. The Fannies will never really surprise, but they’ll never disappoint either.

Also worth looking forward to is the fact that there are plans for North American touring this Fall. Their last tour was also five years ago so another visit is long overdue. Tracklisting and cover art for Shadows can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”

After a goodly amount of teasing, the first official taste of High Violet, the new record from The National, is available to download and it is, in a word, amazing. I’d been joking that this was going to be my album of the year before I heard a note, but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Blood Buzz Ohio”

The Acorn have set a June 1 release date for their new album No Ghost – details on the release at Exclaim.

Exclaim talks to Wolf Parade about their still-untitled new album, which has a release date of June 29. They’ll preview it at the Phoenix on April 7.

BBC6 talks to Thomas Mars of Phoenix, who are celebrating a pretty good year by giving away a free live album. Go and get it.

ZIP: Phoenix / Live In Sydney

And speaking of live, let’s talk show announcements. With their new album The Five Ghosts set to come out on June 22, Stars are looking to get back into game shape with a short Canadian tour that will find the band playing rooms much smaller than they normally would, including the Mod Club in Toronto on May 5. And you’ll be paying for the privilege of pretending its December 2004… tickets are a rather dear $34.75, on sale Friday morning. But you know that even at that price, they’ll be gone lickety split.

They entertained the hell out of me just a few days ago, and now Man Man are coming to do the same to you – they’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 9 as part of a short tour, tickets $15.

MP3: Man Man – “Top Drawer”

UK electro outfit Fuck Buttons have made a date at the Horseshoe for May 19.

MP3: Fuck Buttons – “Bright Tomorrow”

Holly Miranda will finally be bringing her solo effort The Magician’s Private Library to town for a show at the El Mocambo on May 20.

MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”

The Avett Brothers will bring their latest album I And Love And You back to town for a show at The Phoenix on June 1. Tickets are $25.50 and on sale now.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Though they were just here in October, The Psychedelic Furs are back for a much cozier show at Lee’s Palace on June 8.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

His date at the Mod Club last April was cancelled due to illness, but Robyn Hitchcock is finally making that up in intimate style with two shows at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12. Of course that show was supposed to be with the Venus 3 – no word yet what the touring configuration for these appearances are going to be, but it’ll be entertaining regardless.

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

The New Pornographers have announced their extensive North American touring plans in support of Together, out May 4. For their June 15 date at the Sound Academy, they’ll be joined by The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke – tickets $26.50 general admission and $40 VIP balcony, on sale Friday. And since it’s a question that always gets asked when tour dates are announced, yes – Dan and Neko are going to be there.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”
MP3: The Dodos – “Fables”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”

And if you like your west coast pop a little more bent, Frog Eyes will be at the Music Gallery that same evening, June 15, accompanied by Seattle’s Pearly Gate Music.

MP3: Frog Eyes – “Bushels”
MP3: Pearly Gate Music – “Big Escape”

And oh yeah, Montreal’s Osheaga festival announced their lineup this week and it’s a pretty big pile of holy shit. With a top-five bill of Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, Metric and The National and a pretty solid undercard, it’s pretty much a must-attend for any indie-rocking type who isn’t averse to standing around in a field for two days. The fest goes July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal; weekend passes go for $110/$120 depending on how soon you’re willing to commit.