Posts Tagged ‘Hylozoists’

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

White As Diamonds

Review of Alela Diane's To Be Still and Soundscapes in-store

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhat had been forecast as just some light snow on Saturday evening blew into town as more of a proper storm, apparently on the exact same route that Alela Diane was taking en route from Detroit and thus delaying her in-store performance at Soundscapes by nearly an hour.

Considering that she had to get to the Horseshoe to soundcheck for her sold-out show supporting Blitzen Trapper, it would have been understandable if she’d bailed entirely but sending her band ahead to the venue, she still made it to the shop to perform for a crowd that’d thinned only a little from the scheduled start time – a testament, perhaps, to how much people wanted to see her perform in such an intimate environment.

Chances are they’d been won over by her just-released and critically acclaimed sophomore album, To Be Still. And it’s not hard to see why – it’s a beautifully constructed contemporary folk record, with Diane’s evocative songwriting perfectly supported by her clear, strong voice – it’s not a showy instrument, but one which lilts and yodels in exactly the right spots to offer emotional emphasis to the words. Diane is then surrounded by just the right amount of accompaniment – fingerpicked guitar, banjo, fiddle, steel, gentle percussion – to fill things out without ever threatening to overpower. It’s a balance that’s harder to achieve than you might think, but To Be Still gets it just right.

But stripped of that backing as Diane was at the in-store, she still impresses. Her voice is much more powerful than you might expect and has a bit of a rawer edge that’s not as evident on record, and across a brief set – maybe 20 minutes – she was mesmerizing. At the end of it, she thanked us for sticking around and we thanked her for making it out. Everybody wins.

MPR has a streaming session with Alela Diane.

Photos: Alela Diane @ Soundscapes – February 21, 2009
MP3: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
Video: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
MySpace: Alela Diane

I forgot to post up an MP3 from the new Hylozoists record L’Ile de Sept Villes when I wrote up their Soundscapes in-store a couple weeks back. Consider that rectified. And check out an interview with the band at Chart.

MP3: The Hylozoists – “Bras d’Or Lakes”

And the next Soundscapes in-store will be with Gentleman Reg – that’s tomorrow night at 6PM and marks the release of his new album Jet Black, which is currently streaming at his MySpace. He also plays the Horseshoe on March 12 as part of CMW. The Queen’s Journal has a conversation with Reg.

MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re in a Thunderstorm”
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Jet Black

Reg also makes a brief cameo in the new video from Brendan Canning, which in which he channels his inner Tony Manero in the streets of Kensington. Pretty hilarious stuff.

Video: Brendan Canning – “Love Is New”

Daytrotter is featuring a downloadable session with The Acorn.

Pitchfork and The Brooklyn Daily Eagle talk to Grizzly Bear about their forthcoming album Veckatimest, due May 26.

M Ward talks to Spinner and The Philadelphia Inquirer about new record Hold Time.

Colin Meloy discusses The Decemberists’ pre-tour preparation with Billboard. Their shows will consist of one set comprising their new record Hazards Of Love (out March 24) in its entirety and in sequence and another set of older material.

Jenn Grant discusses new album Echoes with Chart. She plays the Reverb at midnight on March 14 as part of CMW.

Blurt has an extended feature on Jenny Lewis.

The New York Times and San Jose Mercury have features on and MPR a session with Antony & The Johnsons.

The Milwaukee Decider talks to Patterson Hood about current goings-on in Drive-By Truckers-land.

NPR welcomes DeVotchKa to the World Cafe for a session.

Fever Ray, aka Karin Dreijer Andersson. the she-half of Swedish electro duo The Knife, will release her self-titled debut album on March 18 and will be in town at The Phoenix on May 25. She’s interviewed by Sentimentalist and Drowned In Sound.

Video: Fever Ray – “When I Grow Up”
Video: Fever Ray – “If I Had A Heart”

Bonnie Prince Billy warns fans to Beware on March 17, but should be in a more welcoming frame of mine when he plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 14. Advance tickets for that are $25.

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Bubbles & Wheezy

The Hylozoists at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust a week after seeing Bruce Peninsula jam Soundscapes to the gills for a rousing in-store, the store again played host to an act intent on cramming a lot of band into not a lot of space. This time, it was The Hylozoists and while the ensemble was hardly small with six members, it was their equipment – in particular the dual vibraphones – that took up the majority of the real estate.

The Hylozoists are generally known as “that vibraphone band”, and while that’s not an inaccurate description – the instrument is very central to their sound – it’s also fails to do justice to the scope and sweep of their sound. It’s far more enticing to go with something along the lines of, “that band that creates soundtracks to lost ’60s European art films, all elegance and majesty and bursting with texture, atmosphere and melody. And they have a vibraphone”. Listening to them play – and it’s really unreal how good a live sound they were able to get with just a portable PA – you’d be hard-pressed to not close your eyes and imagine yourself in some exotic and exciting locale, engaged in some manner of illicit adventure or grand romance.

The occasion for the show was the recent release of their new album L’Ile de Sept Villes, which somehow manages somehow to even out-lush their last effort, La Fin Du Monde – no mean feat. The band are playing a handful of dates around southern Ontario throughout this month, including a February 21 date at the Mod Club – if you can, hit up one of the shows and be taken away somewhere besides a dark and slushy southern Ontario in February.

The Guelph Mercury talks to head Hylo Paul Aucoin about finding inspiration for the new album.

Photos: The Hylozoists @ Soundscapes – February 10, 2009
MP3: The Hylozoists – “Smiley Smiley”
MySpace: The Hylozoists

eye pays tribute to Wavelength on the occasion of the music showcase’s ninth anniversary and start of its final year. The celebrations start tonight, run through the weekend and were covered here last month.

JAM, Metro, The Ottawa Citizen, The Coast and Chart talk to Jenn Grant about her new record Echoes while The National Post gets some Valentine’s Day insight from her. She plays and early show at the Mod Club tonight and will be at the Reverb on March 14 for CMW.

Prefix interviews AC Newman and Pitchfork is streaming his cover of a-Ha’s “Take On Me”. He plays Lee’s Palace on March 11.

Neko Case talks to Reuters about Middle Cyclone, due out March 3. And if you were hesitating on either of her shows at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18, consider yourself lost – both are sold out.

Malajube have rolled out a video from their new album Labyrinthes. They’re at the El Mocambo on March 12 as part of CMW and The National Post has an interview.

Video: Malajube – “Porté Disparu”

Mobius Band want to be your Valentine again. As they did last year, they’re making an EP of romance-themed cover songs available for free off their website tomorrow.

Chairlift talk to NME about the forthcoming major label re-release of their debut Does You Inspire You?, which will come with two extra tracks when it arrives in April. They play The Phoenix on April 25 with Peter Bjorn & John.

Billboard and American Songwriter talk to Jason Lytle about coming back to music with Yours Truly, The Commuter. It’s out on May 19.

Mark Olson and Gary Louris discuss their reunion with PopMatters and The Free-Lance Star.

SoundProof interviews Cut Off Your Hands, set to play the Horseshoe on March 30.

The Quietus has details on the first batch of 5.1 surround-sound Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, due out March 30 in the UK and presumably April 1 in North America.

You can currently stream the whole of the War Child: Heroes compilation, due out February 24, over at the project’s MySpace.

Stream: War Child: Heroes

The Quarter Bin recaps the Scott Pilgrim panel with Bryan Lee-O’Malley at last weekend’s New York Comic Con, including info on the film which is set to begin filming here in Toronto at the end of March. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, aka Ramona Flowers, is already in town and MTV has a photo of her – or her hair and eyes, at least – getting in character.

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Jump In The Pool

Friendly Fires make a date

Photo ByCatherine LosingFor The Records pointed out a curious concert listing for UK indie-dance act Friendly Fires at the website for Beggars Canada – it puts the St Alban’s trio in town on March 31, but only narrows the venue down to two possibilities – Mod Club or Lee’s Palace. So all I can accurately say is that they’ll be in Toronto at an approximately 500-capacity venue on that date. And wherever they are, odds of a dance party breaking out are pretty much one to one. Personally, I think that Mod would be a much more suitable venue – the ass-shaking, slick and scratchy new wave/disco goodness of their self-titled debut demands spectacle, which Mod’s famously over-the-top lighting system is equipped to provide. Lee’s doesn’t even have a disco ball.

MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Paris” (Aeroplane Remix)
Video: Friendly Fires – “Skeleton Boy”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Paris”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
Video: Friendly Fires – “On Board”
MySpace: Friendly Fires

Toronto vibraphone mavens The Hylozoists will release their new album L’ile de Sept Villes on February 3 and showcase it at the Mod Club on February 21. Update: They’re also playing a Soundscapes instore on February 10 at 7PM. Here’s some older stuff.

MP3: The Hylozoists – “Smiley Smiley”
MP3: The Hylozoists – “Strait Is the Gate”

Marissa Nadler, whom I believe ended up cancelling her last scheduled date here last Summer, will try and pay us a visit again on April 21 at the El Mocambo. She has a new album due out early this year. Here’s some older stuff.

MP3: Marissa Nadler – “Diamond Heart”
MP3: Marissa Nadler – “Thinking Of You”

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains are doing an in-store at Sonic Boom on January 29 at 7PM.

MP3: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains – “American Names”
MP3: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains – “By Cover Of Night (Fire Fight)”

Putting lie to the notion that bands can only play larger venues as they get bigger, Born Ruffians and Akron/Family have a date at Sneaky Dee’s on March 24. Tickets are $13 and on sale now.

Earlier yesterday Uncut speculated that the release of that Neil Young video for “Fork In The Road” implied not only the impending release of a new album with the same name, which may well be true, but to also mean that the Archives set has been pushed back indefinitely to accommodate. They’ve since been corrected with the same information that one of the official Archive-ists left on a post at Thrasher’s Wheat – “NYA Vol 1 has been completed in BD, DVD, CD and Digital Download editions. The only thing remaining is announcement of a street date”. Which is good news, though it does put lie to the February 24 release date that most had been clinging to. In short, there’s lots of material coming from Neil this year. Only no one knows what and when.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer interviews Kathleen Edwards, who is at Trinity-St Paul’s on February 13.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”

The Quietus talks politics with Death Cab’s Nick Harmer.

Beirut have released a video from their forthcoming EP March Of The Zapotec, out February 17.

Video: Beirut – “La Llorona”

The Village Voice profiles Antony & The Johnsons. The Crying Light is out Tuesday and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 17.

Muzzle Of Bees asks five questions of Los Campesinos!

The Decemberists are giving away a track from their forthcoming album The Hazards Of Love, out March 24. All you have to do is sign up to their mailing list. Colin Meloy was also on NPR’s World Cafe yesterday for an interview.

Clash talks to Kathy Foster of The Thermals, who will release Now We Can See on April 7.

The previously-mentioned untitled Bob Mould album also set for an April 7 release now has a title – Life And Times.

Filter talks to Ra Ra Riot, Daytrotter videotapes them playing in a park.

Pitchfork has an MP3 from M Ward’s Hold Time, out February 17. This track features the She to his Him, Zoey Deschanel, on vocals.

MP3: M Ward – “Never Had Nobody Like You”

Drowned In Sound solicits a mixtape from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, the buzz around whom is growing at a pace that’s considerably larger than Neutral, the room they’re slated to play here in town on February 12. If you’re curious, an advance ticket may be a good idea. Their self-titled full-length is out February 3.

NPR has an acoustic session with The Hold Steady while Wireless Bollinger has an interview.

Former Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle will return to active musical duty on May 19 with the release of his first solo record, Yours Truly, the Commuter.