Posts Tagged ‘Jenny Lewis’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

You Cross My Path

Charlatans schedule Ontario club dates, hope people forget the last time they tried that

Photo By Roger SargentRoger SargentIt’s been some time since The Charlatans could be considered “buzzworthy” by any objective measure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s commendable that they’ve endured as long as they have, outliving most of their contemporaries in the baggy/Britpop eras and assembling a respectable oeuvre of singles and albums, but I will wager they’ve never been anyone in the world’s favourite band and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

They did manage to garner more headlines than they have in years last year, though, when they opted to release their tenth album, You Cross My Path, as a free download (physical formats that you had to pay for followed a couple months later). The record was also notable for being surprisingly decent. They’d lost me with 2001’s funk-soul pastiche Wonderland and I’d assumed that the plot remained lost, but Path was very much an example of the Charlatans doing what they’d always done well, melodic, danceable and anthemic and if you listen closely, cribbing shamelessly from pretty much every era of British rock.

And on a more local scale, they made a surprise concert announcement in July, making a date for the the Mod Club in October – a venue that no matter how far removed from their heyday they might be, would still be considered small for them. And, of course, they canceled the date for reasons unknown barely two weeks later. But it seems they’re bound and determined to give their Toronto-area fans an up-close and personal encounter as they’ve again announced a show at the Mod Club, this one for September 23 – that gives them four months to change their minds. They’ve also announced a couple other North American dates, including September 22 in London, Ontario, so it looks like they’re making a proper tour of this. Tickets for the Toronto show are a rather dear $36 before service charges, so you’ll have to stop and think just how badly you want to hear “The Only One I Know”. And yeah, tickets for the canceled show were a slightly more reasonable $30 but hey – the economy’s collapsed. What’re you going to do.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Oh! Vanity”
MP3: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”
Video: The Charlatans – “Oh Vanity”
Video: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”
Video: The Charlatans – “The Misbegotten”
Video: The Charlatans – “Mis-Takes”
ZIP: The Charlatans / You Cross My Path

Colorado Daily and The Colorado Springs Independent have interviews with Doves, who will be at the Kool Haus next Monday night, June 1.

Dots & Dashes talks to Patrick Wolf about new album The Bachelor, out June 1. He’ll be at the Mod Club on June 15.

White Lies discuss the state of the music industry with BBC. They’re at the Phoenix on September 26.

Florence & The Machine’s debut Lungs has a UK release date of July 6 but according to Pitchfork, it’s not going to be out in North America until October 13. Yeah, I’ll wait for the domestic release. Sure.

Clash asks Fanfarlo on how they like to pass the time while waiting.

With their North American tour set to kick off tonight in New York, A Camp took some time to talk to NME, New York Magazine, New York Press and Magnet, where Nina Persson and Nathan Larsen are also playing guest editor this week. They’ll be at the Mod Club on June 1.

The Boston Globe talks to Gentleman Reg, who will be opening up many of those A Camp shows.

While in town this week, The National stopped in at the CBC to record a performance of one of their new songs, formerly entitled “Karamazov” but now dubbed “Runaway”. Gorgeous stuff.

Video: The National – “Runaway” (live on QTV)

The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Jenny Lewis.

The Los Angeles Times profiles The Kills.

All week, PitchforkTV is running Do You Love Me Like I Love You, the documentary feature that appear on the recent Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues. The first two segments are up now, more to follow.

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Don't Worry About The Future

Review of Dog Day's Concentration and giveaway

Photo By Paul HammondPaul HammondHalifax’s Dog Day have got the goods to be a terrific pure pop band, capable of crafting sublime melodies and hooks, but their fondness for the noisier virtues of the indie rock canon of the ’90s ensures that they’ll never be quite so easy to pin down. As such, their 2006 effort Night Group was an incongruous yet perfectly natural bit of doom-pop, all spiky and sweet – heavy and foreboding in intent but eminently hummable in execution.

Their recently-released follow-up Concentration takes those same classic college rock ingredients and brews up something familiar, but still new. It’s less immediate than Night Group, yet somehow smoother and more melodic and textured with Seth Smith’s vocals still distinctively monotone but Nancy Urich’s vox much stronger and expressive on this outing. Some may bemoan the absence of Night Group‘s punchier elements but the dream-pop qualities of Concentration reveal themselves with deeper listens and are just as rewarding.

Touring Night Group to death was a successful strategy for the band last time out, so it’s only logical that they pile into the van yet again for Concentration. Their cross-Canada tour already covered the Maritimes earlier this month but they’re covering all points Quebec and west starting next week, including a date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on the 28th of May. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away for this show which will also feature The Burning Hell, Wild Life and Pacific Trash Vortex and on top of that, courtesy of Pigeon Row, I’ve got two copies of Concentration on vinyl available to give away. I’ll run these contests separately, so to enter both, email me twice – contests AT – either with “I want to see Dog Day” in the subject line and your full name in the body for the passes, or “I want to hear Dog Day” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body for the vinyl. Contest closes at midnight, May 26th.

There’s an interview with Dog day at The Coast.

Update: Just announced – Dog Day are also doing an in-store at Soundscapes on May 27 at 6PM.

MP3: Dog Day – “Rome”
Video: Dog Day – “Happiness”
MySpace: Dog Day

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the new Royal City compilation Royal City, and can tell you it’s a beautiful package – hardcover and bookbound – and oh yeah, the music is pretty terrific too. The limited edition set collects an album’s worth of unreleased material from the departed Guelph outfit and is set for release June 23.

MP3: Royal City – “Can’t You Hear Me Calling”
MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”

Royal City guitarist Jim Guthrie’s new project Human Highway was just featured in a session on NPR.

NOW and The Cord talk to Joel Plaskett, who plays Massey Hall tomorrow night.

Metric have rolled out a new video from Fantasies.

Video: Metric – “Sick Muse”

eMusic and The Quietus have typically entertaining interviews with Jarvis Cocker. He also talks to The Guardian about his thespian ambitions in the new Wes Anderson adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox.

It’s like a nostalgia trip back to SxSW 2009 at Bandstand Busking as they present a session with Fanfarlo and another with Theoretical Girl.

These days it’s rare that a record of interest is put out without my being bombarded with press releases about it well in advance, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the existence of Hard To Find – a digital-only collection of American Analog Set rarities which quietly came out in April. Covering the band’s years with Tiger Style and Arts & Crafts, it acts as a companion volume to 2001’s Through The ’90s. Considering that Andrew Kenny is now dedicated to his new project The Wooden Birds, this set could act as the final whirr and click in the quietly lovely story of AmAnSet.

MP3: The American Analog Set – “Stoney Chariots”
MP3: The American Analog Set – “Make It Take It”

Exclaim reports on the copyright clusterfuck that will essentially prevent the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse collaboration Dark Night Of The Soul from seeing any “legal” release.

Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs talks to Billlboard. They’re releasing a remix EP for “Zero” on June 9 on vinyl – it’s available digitally now.

Artrocker interviews School Of Seven Bells. They’ve also got a new video. A trippy new video.

Video: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal”

The Line Of Best Fit, The Sun, The Georgia Straight and The Village Voice have features on Grizzly Bear. They’ll release Veckatimest next Tuesday, May 26, and have a show at the Phoenix on June 5. There’s also an in-studio performance at WNYC streaming at NPR.

Decider and Rolling Stone interview St Vincent’s Annie Clark. She will be at Lee’s Palace on August 8, and has just made available another MP3 from Actor.

MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”

Paste and Decider have interviews with John Vanderslice, while I Pick My Nose has an interview AND a tour of the ‘Slice’s garden. He will be at the Horseshoe on July 10.

Good Times, Metro Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Sentinel talk to Jenny Lewis.

My contest to give away copies of Dean Wareham’s memoirs Black Postcards wraps up tomorrow night, but if you don’t win a copy – and let me just say that the response to the contest has been overwhelmingly good and I wish I could give you all books – take heart, the folks at Ear Farm are also giving copies away AND they’ve got an interview with Wareham to go with it. So head on over and hedge your bets.

Other commitments keep me from partaking in this year’s Over The Top Fest, which began last night, but if you’re around this weekend and are looking to partake in some music and/or film, it’s really your best bet for discovering something new. There’s previews of some of the acts at this week’s NOW and eye.

Ottawa’s I Heart Music has been a tireless promoter of independent Canadian music for some years now, introducing both myself and countless others to great up-and-coming domestic talent via the blog and many, many live showcases. And it appears that no good deed goes unpunished as SOCAN, the national agency tasked to collecting royalties for Canadian songwriters, has gone after Matthew for royalties owed on his live shows, to the tune of a couple thousand dollars. Now if you’re of the inclination to donate to music media types in financial distress, you’ve obviously got a few options these days but Matt is fighting the good fight and deserves some support.

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The Water

Watch "The Water", starring Feist and Cillian Murphy

Photo via PitchforkPitchforkDirected by Kevin Drew and filmed over two days in Toronto this past January, The Water had its genesis as a music video for Feist’s song of the same name but eventually grew into a mostly silent and very wintry 15-minute short film starring some bona fide Hollywood talent in Cillian Murphy.

The film will be available to watch online for one week starting today at PitchforkTV, and for some background on the piece, check out the video interview with Feist and Drew at PitchforkTV and another with Murphy at IFC. Paste also talked to Feist and Drew a bit back in February when word of the project first came to light. And if you’re really jonesing for more info, there’s a feature in this month’s Filter (that’s the physical magazine) that has Drew being interviewed by actor Zach Galifianakis about the project.

Video: The Water

Metric have released another video from Fantasies, Jimmy Shaw and Emily Haines gave an interview and acoustic performance to Rolling Stone and Haines and Shaw gave interviews to Dose and Fazer respectively. Metric play the Mod Club on Tuesday, April 14.

Video: Metric – “Help, I’m Alive”

It’s a double-shot of Neko Case at NPR, with a KUT radio session from earlier this week and last night’s show in Washington DC both available to stream. The DC show includes the opening set from Okkervil River’s Will Sheff and some absolutely classic stage banter – “Vas deferens!” – with Case and Kelly Hogan. And if that’s not enough Neko multimedia, there’s a video interview online between her and ABC News. Case is in town for two nights at Trinity-St Paul’s next Friday and Saturday.

Opening up both of those shows is Crooked Fingers, who are keeping a Tumblr tour blog whilst on the road.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Phony Revolutions”

NPR also has a World Cafe session with Alela Diane. Diane is also featured on The Silence Of Love, a covers album from Headless Heroes for which Diane was the voice. That record will be out May 19, some of it sounds like this.

MP3: Headless Heroes – “True Love Will Find You In The End”
Video: Headless Heroes – “The North Wind Blew South”

The star-studded SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE COVERS! covers compilation is now available to stream.

Stream: various artists / SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE COVERS!

Cryptacize and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone have a date at The Boat on July 8. Cryptacize’s new album Mythomania is out April 21 while Casiotone just released two records – the retrospective Advance Base Battery Life and all-new Vs Children.

MP3: Cryptacize – “Blue Tears”
MP3: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – “Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)”
MP3: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – “Old Panda Days”
Video: Cryptacize – “Blue Tears”

Headlights are opening for Loney Dear on their Spring tour, including the May 8 date at the Rivoli. Nice! They’re almost done their third album and are aiming for an early Fall release.

MP3: Headlights – “Cherry Tulips” (TJ Lipple Remix)

Soundproof features Malajube.

Entertainment Weekly is hosting a video clip from Wilco’s forthcoming DVD Ashes Of American Flags, which will be out next Saturday as part of Record Store Day but which I will be seeing theatrically in May as part of Hot Docs. Because I’ve realized that the only way I’ll ever watch a music film is if I’m a captive audience in a theatre – DVDs will simply never get played.

Video: Wilco – “Side With The Seeds” (live)

Stay Thirsty talks to Jason Lytle. His new album Yours Truly, The Commuter is out May 19.

Sacramento News & Review and Honolulu Weekly talk to Jenny Lewis.

Fazer interviews Cut Off Your Hands.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Tiger Lily

La Roux at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA typical Sunday evening for me can go any number of ways. Catching up on the past week’s television, working ahead a bit on the blog, taunting the cat with a piece of string, whatever. What is not a typical Sunday evening is standing in front of a PA cabinet with obnoxious dance music being pounded into my ears and midsection. And yet, this was my past Sunday at the Drake Underground.

The why was because I had been invited out to see the next buzzy thing in British electro-pop, the ’80s-adoring duo called La Roux, who had been tipped as one of the BBC’s Sound of 2009 acts but who had yet to really begin to capitalize on that cachet – this made a tiny club show like this appealing for bragging rights, if nothing else. So I acquainted myself with their entire recorded output thus far – two singles clocking in at under 10 minutes total – liked what I heard, and off I went.

The DJ went about 20 minutes longer than I’d have liked – dude, when no one is dancing you’ve failed – but eventually gave way as the keyboard half of the band, Ben Langmaid, took the stage to kick off “In For The Kill” and frontwoman, voice and hair Elly Jackson followed soon after. Without a whole lot of material to draw on, their set was necessarily short – just seven songs – but it was enough to get a sense of where their fortunes might lay. On the plus side, they obviously have a distinctive look – Jackson’s coif was as impressively vertical as one would hope – and even separated from her backing tracks her voice is distinctive and impressive, not quite falsetto and with an almost vocoder-ed quality. And while none of the songs quite reached the inescapable catchiness of “In For The Kill”, it was mostly solid material throughout.

On the con side, it was very evident that the live performance end of things was still new to them. Langmaid was fine, hidden behind his banks of equipment, but Jackson never seemed especially comfortable onstage, preferring to perform with eyes tightly closed and microphone in death grip and occasionally working in some tense dance moves. It was good to see that her “no smiling” policy of publicity photos didn’t carry over live – she was friendly in banter if a bit awkward and cracked a couple jokes – but there wasn’t a lot of charisma on display. If there’s a positive side to that, it’s that with her nervousness and rather… eclectic fashion sense, she seemed quite genuine, and that’s not necessarily the first attribute you’d expect to find in potential electro-pop divas.

I’m sure the La Roux live experience will improve with more shows, but if there was ever a case study for a synth-based act who could benefit from some more live instrumentation, it’s them. They should look up to the top of that BBC list at Little Boots for an example of the difference a live drummer can make. Either way, I do feel fortunate to have gotten to see them perform such an intimate show – when their debut album is released in June, I’m sure that the hype will buoy them to much larger performances. I just hope they’re ready for them.

The Times has an interesting feature following La Roux as they try to convert buzz into hype into real success.

Photos: La Roux @ The Drake Underground – April 5, 2009
MP3: La Roux – “Quicksand” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Video: La Roux – “Quicksand”
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill”
MySpace: La Roux

The Toronto Sun talks to White Lies.

Natasha Khan discusses the distinctive style of Bat For Lashes with The Quietus. Scotland On Sunday and Digital Spy also have interviews. Two Suns is out today and their April 25 show at the Mod Club is nearly sold out.

The Rumble Strips talk about their new album Welcome To The Walk Alone, out June 8, with Clash.

Billboard talks to Mark Olson about making the Jayhawks Green Grass-era reunion official. Good Times also has an interview with Olson.

The New York Daily News talks to Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice while Art In The Age has video of a recent in-store performance in Philadelphia.

Metromix has an interview with Jenny Lewis. According to Chart, a documentary detailing the making of her last solo record Acid Tongue is in the works.

So Neil Young’s new one Fork In The Road is finally out today – don’t y’all trample each other at the store getting a copy, now – and in addition to the little webcam videos he’s been making for the songs, there’s also a mini-film entitled Get Around which basically features Neil driving his Lincvolt around America whilst singing along to the album. They do use better quality cameras, however. You can “rent” the thing at Jaman and while you have to register, it does appear to be free.

Trailer: Get Around

Son Volt will release their new album American Central Dust on July 7 – details at Billboard.

The Martlet profiles Chad Van Gaalen.

The Young & The Hungry talks food with Ra Ra Riot. The Daily Orange, despite being named for food, talks to them about music.

The Guelph Mercury and Exclaim! talk to Julie Doiron.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing a recording of The Mountain Goats’ recent show in Somervile, Massachusetts last month including a couple of new songs.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The Hungry Saw

Tindersticks and Elfin Saddle at The Opera House in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEven before setting foot in the Opera House on Tuesday night, you knew it wasn’t going to be a typical evening – security wasn’t bothering to check anyone’s ID, as the odds of someone underage wanting to sneak into a Tindersticks were pretty much slim to none. The audience for the veteran Brits, on their first North American tour in half a decade in support of their first album in just as long – last year’s The Hungry Saw – skewed older to say the least.

Support on the Canadian dates were Montreal’s Elfin Saddle, a duo expanded to trio for live performance and whose principals set up seated behind small fortresses of unusual musical instruments. They sounded like what you might expect to hear if you were traversing the hills of medieval England and just happened to stumble across a Japanese temple built into a Gregorian monastery – a strange and fascinating combination of Eastern and Western sounds from long ago, not so much blended as tied together with wire and string. Definitely unique.

I’ve fully admitted to being a Tindersticks neophyte, but after their show I can also declare myself a total convert. They began with each player taking the stage one by one as they built up “Introduction”, the instrumental opener from The Hungry Saw, from nothing to perfection and thus set the tone for the night and that tone was one of effortless elegance. The seven-piece band of guitar, bass, drums, keys, horns and of course Stuart Staples’ inimitable croon were the very definition of class up there, grand yet understated, in creating an atmosphere like a suspended breath or the very last dance of the evening – like one of those fleeting moments you want to last forever.

And while not forever, their 90-minute set still felt like a gift, one which the enraptured crowd didn’t take for granted if their almost utter silence throughout the show was any indication (enthusiastic applause aside). Though Staples’ interaction with the audience was minimal – we got a “hello” and an “I already said hello” – it was obvious from the looks on he and founding guitarist Neil Fraser that they were fully enjoying this return to action after so long away. The setlist – punctuated with lovely instrumental interludes throughout – drew heavily on The Hungry Saw, so even though my knowledge of their catalog was limited the show still felt warm and enveloping. And as for the songs I didn’t know, while their words and melodies may have been unfamiliar, their language of sumptuous melancholy was one I’m quite fluent in and nothing was lost in translation. Simply a stunning show, top to bottom.

eye also has a review of the performance. The San Francisco Examiner has an interview with Stuart Staples, talks to Elfin Saddle.

Photos: Tindersticks, Elfin Saddle @ The Opera House – March 10, 2009
MP3: Tindersticks – “The Hungry Saw”
MP3: Elfin Saddle – “Temple Daughter”
Video: Tindersticks – “Can Our Love…”
Video: Tindersticks – “Traveling Light”
Video: Tindersticks – “The Art Of Lovemaking”
Video: Tindersticks – “Rented Rooms”
Video: Tindersticks – “Dying Slowly”
Video: Tindersticks – “Can We Start Again?”
Video: Tindersticks – “No More Affairs”
Video: Tindersticks – “City Sickness”
MySpace: Tindersticks

Beirut have made a date for the Phoenix on July 9 with The Dodos as support. Tickets are on sale Saturday at 10AM, and will cost $25.

Matador continues to build the mythology of Yo La Tengo the Condo Fucks with a short documentary film entitled Straight Outta Connecticut. The Fuckbook album is out March 24.

MP3: Condo Fucks – “Whathca Gonna Do About It?”

The Tripwire and Newsweek have conversations with Bob Mould about his new album The Life & Times, out April 7. You can stream the first single over at Anti-blog.

NPR has an acoustic session with School Of Seven Bells.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are releasing a new 7″ on March 31, the a-side of which you can download below, perhaps as an excuse to continue touring – they’re at Lee’s Palace on April 28. They’re also playing every show and showcase at SxSW next week. I was going to play a little game called “Try not to see POBPAH in Austin” but that would pretty much require me to not leave my hotel, and even then I don’t think I’d be safe.

MP3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Young Adult Friction”

Filter has posted online their recent cover story featuring a meeting of the minds between Elvis Costello and Jenny Lewis.

Clash talks to Colin Meloy of The Decemberists about their new album The Hazards Of Love, out March 24.

The Boston Herald and The Varsity interview AC Newman while Philadelphia Weekly gets him to review some of his reviews.

Forest City Lovers say hello with both a new download, a live acoustic track from a few years back, and a lovely new video. Kat Burns is playing a solo show at Rolly’s Garage on April 4 before the band heads out on a European tour (!). Their next local show is June 27 at the Tranzac for the Zunior anniversary. Burns gives Anika In London her guide to Toronto.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Oh Humility” (live)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Song For Morrie”

NOW talks to Handsome Furs’ Dan Boeckner. They’re at the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

eye interviews Malajube, who play the El Mocambo tonight.

The Playlist rounds up some of the musical developments in the Scott Pilgrim film.