Posts Tagged ‘John Doe’

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Country Club

Review of John Doe & The Sadies' Country Club and giveaway

Photo By Amanda SchenkAmanda SchenkThe Sadies have no shortage of experience in the role of backing band, having worked with the likes of Neko Case, Robyn Hitchcock and Jon Langford in addition to carving out their niche with their unique blend of country, rock, punk and psychedelic influences. John Doe has no shortage of experience fronting bands, most famously with Los Angeles punk legends X but also with country outfit The Knitters, to say nothing of his impressive solo career. So that the two parties would opt to work together on a record initiated, as Doe recalls, by “a drunken promise or threat” seems like a match made in country heaven.

Though Country Club, the resultant album, may have been conceived in a rather off the cuff manner, the execution is far from haphazard – quite the contrary, it’s a decidedly smooth and polished effort. The Sadies are as absurdly tight as ever – I think they’re genetically incapable of being sloppy – but stay largely in the background across the collection comprised mainly of old country covers, allowing Doe’s richly weathered voice to take centre stage. Doe and The Sadies favour a casual, back porch vibe on this record, focusing more on croony, country weepers featuring Doe and a variety of lady duet partners, including Kathleen Edwards. Foreknowledge of the tunes isn’t necessary – besides the Sadies original “Before I Wake”, I only recognized Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” and the Hag’s “Are The Good Times Really Over For Good” – just an appreciation for the hurtin’ side of country. Anyone looking for raucous, boozed-up jams should keep on walking; everyone else, grab a peer, pull up a stool and sit a spell.

And if you feel so inclined to do just that, Doe and The Sadies will be entertaining guests at the Horseshoe this Thursday night, April 30, and courtesy of Against The Grain and Outside Music, I’ve got a couple prize packs consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Country Club to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join The Country Club” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body and get that in to me by 7AM, April 29 (morning deadline what?). And, if you either don’t win, can’t make it or just need more Doe and Sadies in your musical diet, they’ll be doing an in-store at Sonic Boom Thursday evening at 7PM. Anyone who was at their in-store there back in November 2007 knows that the wood-paneled setting is perfect for the Good brothers and that unplugging them makes them no less fearsome a band.

Stream: John Doe & The Sadies / Country Club
MySpace: John Doe & The Sadies

Reuters talks to Steve Earle about his forthcoming Townes Van Zandt tribute record Townes, due out May 12.

Clash interviews Jason Lytle, whose new solo record Yours Truly, The Commuter is out May 19.

Billboard verifies that Wilco will release their new album on June 30. Unconfirmed is that the record, the band’s seventh, will be self-titled. How meta would that be – Wilco the band releases Wilco the album which contains “Wilco The Song”. Update: Rolling Stone confirms: Wilco (The Album) out June 30. Huzzah!

Chairlift has an Interface session with Spinner.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have released a new video, just in time for their show at Lee’s Palace tonight. There’s interviews with the band at The Ithaca Journal, The Cornell Daily Sun, New Haven Advocate and Hartford Courant.

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

Interview interviews Beach House, who will be part of the Olympic Island concert taking place at the Toronto Islands on July 11.

British Sea Power will release their new album, a soundtrack for the 1933 documentary film Man From Aran, on May 18 and there’s now an MP3 from the soundtrack and a trailer for the film. The band are already at work on their fourth proper studio album – Noble gives NME a progress report.

MP3: British Sea Power – “Come Wander With Me”
Trailer: Man From Aran

Another Dears b-side is up for grabs. They’re at the Mod Club on Thursday evening.

MP3: The Dears – “Crisis 1 and 2”

It’s Metric week at Drowned In Sound, and they lead off their coverage with a track-by-track annotation of Fantasies by Emily Haines and a five-part serialization of the The Rawside Of… docu-feature. One part a day, the first one is here.

Dog Day have rolled out new video to go along with the release of their new album Concentration. They’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 28.

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

Malajube have announced some Canadian dates including a June 12 show at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Malajube – “Porte Disparu”

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Flowers And Football Tops

Glasvegas at the Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s far too easy to be cynical about Glasvegas. Emerging from the UK as they did last year on a massive wave of hype with a sound that was unabashedly retro and a matching ’50s-greaser gang image, the Glasgow-based quartet were quick targets for those who wanted to dismiss them as contrived and calculated, not that that stopped them from topping the charts and becoming massive at home.

For my part, I went from intrigued on first listen to mildly suspicious after spending time with their self-titled debut and then somewhat won over following their daylight SxSW set. At the time, I figured that seeing them in neutral environs such as a SxSW day show, stripped of their light show and adoring fans, would provide a truer indication if they were for real or not. And yes they sold me, but it wasn’t until Friday night’s show at the Mod Club – their long-awaited Toronto debut – that I realized what I was missing out on by skipping the formal sales pitch.

Glasvegas are not ashamed to aspire to stadium-scale grandeur, with massive Spector-via-JAMC sonics and anthemic choruses designed to rouse the cheap seats and while the Mod Club is hardly Wembley Stadium, packed as it was with fans hollering along with every song, it wasn’t far off. From the opening notes of “Geraldine” through end end of their just under an hour-long set, it was clear that Glasvegas weren’t there to convince anyone they were a great band – they were there to celebrate that as fact with those who already knew it. Looking not a little bit Strummer and clad in a leather jacket (later swapped for a tank top and donated tartan scarf), frontman James Allan displayed dollops of rock star charisma, basking in the adoration of the audience but returning every bit of it right back to the crowd.

It was the sort of rapport that made me ashamed to have ever questioned the sincerity of the band. That doesn’t necessarily excuse some of the overly-direct earnestness of the songwriting, but it does mitigate it. Seeing and hearing Allan bellow the words with unquestionable emotion, no matter how clumsy, then back off while the enraptured audience take over while more than matching his passion… yes, on paper it’s kind of cliche but in person? It’s still pretty stirring. The band will probably always have more than it’s share of critics and naysayers, but I know where I stand now – over there with the other folks singing, “here we fucking go”.

The Toronto Sun has a glowing review of the show and reports that the band will be back this Fall, eye has another review. Music Snobbery has an interview with the band. And congrats go to Jarita, Ashlee and Mark who won the signed Glasvegas albums.

Photos: Glasvegas @ The Mod Club – April 3, 2009
Video: Glasvegas – “Please Come Back Home”
Video: Glasvegas – “Daddy’s Gone”
Video: Glasvegas – “Geraldine”
MySpace: Glasvegas

NME has a video interview and The Line Of Best Fit and The Herald text ones with Doves. Kingdom Of Rust is out tomorrow, they play the Kool Haus on June 1.

Tourdates UK talks to Emmy The Great.

Maximo Park have released the first video from their forthcoming album Quicken The Heart, out May 12.

Video: Maximo Park – “The Kids Are Sick Again”

And also with a new video are The Joy Formidable for their latest single “Whirring”, off the excellent A Balloon Called Moaning.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”

Drowned In Sound chats with Ryan Adams on the occasion of his retirement from the world of music. He interviews Marianne Faithfull for Black Book while The Guardian profiles Adams and other rockers turned authors including Nick Cave and Billy Bragg.

The Hold Steady are offering up an MP3 from their new live album A Positive Rage, out tomorrow.

MP3: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy” (live)

I saw almost 50 shows at SxSW this year, but one of the ones I missed – and regret – was The Uglysuit, who only played like three shows. Could they not have taken one of the Vivian Girls’ two dozen shows? They’ve released a new MP3 from their fine 2008 self-titled debut, reviewed here.

MP3: The Uglysuit – “…And We Became Sunshine”

Paste and The Skinny catch up with The Thermals. Their new one Now We Can See is out tomorrow and currently streaming at their MySpace. They’re at the Horseshoe on May 3.

Stream: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

Blurt, BBC1, The New York Times and Filter have profiles on The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Askmen talks to Metric’s Emily Haines. Their new album Fantasies is out tomorrow, they play an in-store at HMV on Yonge St on Thursday and a show at the Mod Club next Tuesday.

I Heart Music is sharing MP3s of the CBC Fuse session with The Sadies and The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie from a couple years ago. I saw them team up at the Horseshoe in December 2007 and it was intense. The Sadies’ new album backing John Doe, Country Club, is out April 14 and they play the Horseshoe together on April 30. The Tragically Hip’s new one We Are The Same is out this week and they have a six-night stand at Massey Hall the week of May 11.

WOXY has posted MP3s from a slew of Lounge Act sessions recorded during SxSW, including sets from The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart, Ume and The Wooden Birds. They also welcomed The Rural Alberta Advantage in for a session last week.

PitchforkTV is streaming the new Arcade Fire documentary Miroir Noir, which is now available in DVD form.

Soundproof has a guest column from Alan McGee wondering why people would actually want The Stone Roses to reunite.

The National Post has an interview with yours truly about blogs and stuff and includes what I hope is one of the worst pictures of me in existence. If anyone tells me that’s actually a good photo, I will despair.

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

In For The Kill

Concert announcements from La Roux, A Camp, M Ward and more

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceI’m just About hip-deep in Canadian Musicfest stuff at the moment and also trying desperately to get my SxSW junk together, but a handful of tasty concert announcements showed up yesterday and if I don’t get them out there now, who knows when I will.

I first noticed unabashedly ’80s-loving English electro-pop outfit La Roux when they showed up no small number of “next big things for ’09” lists at the start of the year. And while it’s still far too early to see if Elly Jackson and her interesting hair will deliver on those expectations – she’s only just released her second single with an album in the works for sometime this year – the Londoner and co-conspirator Ben Langmaid are coming across the Atlantic this Spring to try and make an impression. They’ll be at the Drake Underground as a special presentation of the Sticky Fingers DJ nights on April 5, tickets $13 in advance.

Video: La Roux – “Quicksand”
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill”
MySpace: La Roux

The Rosebuds are coming back to town on the back of last year’s Life Like – they have a date at Lee’s Palace on April 13, tickets $10.50. They just rolled out a new video for the title track of said record.

MP3: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”
Video: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”

M Ward’s Spring tour in support of Hold Time has slated a Toronto date for April 27 at the Phoenix. Tickets $23.50.

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

Baltimore’s Ponytail will be at the DeLeon White Gallery on April 27.

MP3: Ponytail – “Celebrate The Body Electric”

Country Club, the collaboration from John Doe & The Sadies, is out April 14 and they will follow that up with at show at the Horseshoe on April 30. Tickets $17.50. Currently on a western swing, Dallas Good talks to The Georgia Straight and Pique Newsmagazine.

And possibly the toughest decision I’ll have to make this year… A Camp who are going on tour in support of Colonia – out April 28 – have set a date at the Mod Club for June 1. A date that is already circled on the calendar as it’s also when Doves are at the Kool Haus. Nina Persson’s first visit to town in five years or Doves’ first in four? Swedish babe or Mancunian beardies? Hmm. Tickets for the A Camp show are $15 and already on sale. MusicOHM has an interview with Persson.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem Session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”

There’s a new vid from Franz Ferdinand, who have a gig at the Kool Haus on May 4.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”

PJ Harvey discusses her new album with John Parish, A Woman A Man Walked By, with Billboard. It’s out March 30.

And finally, the divine Mary-Louise Parker gives Esquire a list of ten types of albums no man should own if they ever hope to have sex again… (scans CD collection)… Yes! I still have a shot!

Friday, February 6th, 2009


Bruce Peninsula at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPlease understand, as much as I like them, I have no desire to make write-ups on Bruce Peninsula a weekly feature. However, their in-store performance at Soundscapes on Wednesday night to mark the release of A Mountain Is A Mouth merited a little more than cursory, “hey Bruce Peninsula played an in-store it was great let’s see what else is going on”.

Typically, in-stores involve a minimal setup – say acoustic guitar and mic into a PA – and a handful of songs, hopefully just enough to entice folks to buy a CD or attend a concert. And Bruce Peninsula did indeed invite the packed store to buy their album – cannily, the band set up across the width of the entire store and thus prevented anyone from being able to buy a CD from any other local independent artist – or a ticket to their February 22 show at the Polish Combatants Hall, but as far as the performance went there were no half-measures. The full band was in attendance – 10 members strong, though some different faces from when I saw them last – and they came equipped with electric guitars and drums (though just individual drums rather than full kits), intent on delivering almost a complete and proper show and demonstrating for those who hadn’t seen them before, the full power of the Bruce Peninsula live experience.

Their set ran almost 40 minutes, culminating in a stunning double-take of “Weave Myself A Dress” – double because it was being filmed for the Camera Music series on – and to thank the audience for sitting through the same song twice (though really, we should have been thanking them) the band moved the drums into the middle of the audience for a rousing, pounding finale of “Crabapples”. A headshakingly good performance – isn’t it great/scary when bands you already expect the world from still manage to raise the bar? And I promise this’ll be the last BP-led post until their February 22 show. Unless it’s not. and Metro have brief interviews with members of the band.

Photos: Bruce Peninsula @ Soundscapes – February 4, 2009
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MySpace: Bruce Peninsula

Also at’s Camera Music – an episode with Ohbijou, who will release Beacons in April and play the Opera House on April 13.

And to finish off the live video component of the post, head over to Baeble Music to see footage from Constantines’ show in Brooklyn last December. They’re at the Phoenix on March 31 and April 1.

The Toronto Star, National Post and Exclaim talk to Jenn Grant, who just released her sophomore album Echoes this week and will play the Mod Club on next Thursday, February 12.

Glasswerk and Edinburgh News introduce The Coast to the UK, where the band are kicking off a tour this weekend. They’ll be back in town for a homecoming show at the Horseshoe on February 28 alongside The Diableros and Oh No Forest Fires.

PopMatters chats with AC Newman, booked in at Lee’s Palace for March 11.

Austin Town Hall talks to Brendan Canning and Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene, while The Georgia Straight talks to Spearin about his solo work with The Happiness Project, who have two dates at the Music Gallery on March 11 and 12.

The Vancouver Sun profiles Angela Desveaux, whose CMW showcase will find her at the Gladstone on Thursday, March 12.

Wireless Bollinger interviews Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers. Lost Channels is out March 31 and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25.

Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon makes a playlist for taking the train around Europe for The Calgary Herald and are the subject of a feature at The Georgia Straight.

Paste has details on the John Doe/Sadies collaboration Country Club, due out April 14.

Collider has a video interview with Brandon Routh (aka evil ex-boyfriend #3 Todd Ingram) wherein he says that the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim, set to begin filming here in Toronto next month, will be a combination of live-action and animation. The penultimate volume of the series – Scott Pilgrim Vs The Universe – came out yesterday and I expect the final book will be timed to come out at the same time as the film next year, whenever that’ll be. I think one of the (many) reasons I love the series is that it creates a mythological Toronto which for me, at least, has never existed in any medium. And the mythology around cities is one of the reasons I love places like New York and London so much. The fact that our developing mythology includes killer robots and subspace expressways is just so much the better. And anyone who wants to set up field trips to stalk the production crews around the city, get in touch. No, I’m not kidding.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The Flame That Burns

CONTEST – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan CD giveaway

Photo By Kyle HuttonMySpaceThough it’s Isobel Campbell who gets top billing on Sunday At Devil Dirt, just released in North America after coming out in the UK this Spring, it’s her co-conspirator who permeates and defines the second album from herself and Mark Lanegan.

Lanegan’s presence is inescapable throughout. His gravelly voice takes lead on the majority of the songs with Campbell sticking mainly to harmonies or duet duties, and even when he’s not audible, he’s definitely felt, like a shadow falling over the land. It’s a bit cliche to talk about Lanegan in terms of his dark and brooding persona, but it’s really true. The man does what he does, and does it utterly convincingly, no surprises there. What is something of a surprise is that the vehicles Lanegan is given to drive, in all their raw folk-noir glory, were written and orchestrated entirely by Campbell.

Though she also claimed the bulk of the songwriting credits on their first collaboration Ballad Of The Broken Seas, that record still kept one foot in the more wispy folkish styles to which Campbell was accustomed. This time out, she’s more confidently embraced the possibilities offered by the talents at hand and has produced a more varied and convincing record. Guided by Campbell’s ghostly voice and hand, Lanegan’s desolate soul wanders through simple pastorals, country-blues and orchestrated ’60s spy-soundtracks, eternally seeking something – perhaps salvation, or perhaps just a stiff drink.

You can currently stream Sunday At Devil Dirt at Spinner, or you can win it on CD along with Ballad Of the Broken Seas. Courtesy of Vagrant Records, I’ve got a copy of both albums to give away to one lucky winner. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want the Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan CDs” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. Contest is open to residents of North America and will close in a week at midnight, November 26.

NOTE – the Spinner streams, both this one and the B&S one below, appear to currently be busted. Try hitting them back later. Sorry. Blame AOL. And the economic downturn. Update: Stream links fixed.

MP3: Isobel Campbell & Mark Langean – “Trouble”
Stream: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan / Sunday At Devil Dirt

NME reports that Lanegan’s other ongoing gig – The Gutter Twins – will be hanging it up after their European tour in January. He’ll then go to work on a new Soulsavers album and a new solo record.

Belle & Sebastian released their BBC Sessions collection this week, and it’s presently streaming at Spinner. A clarification should be made about the bonus disc that comes in the deluxe edition – many, including myself, assumed that since this is a BBC Sessions collection and the live disc was recorded at Christmas, that the extra CD is of the BBC Christmas show that has been bootlegged ad nauseum every year since it was recorded in 2002. It is not. It is a regular gig, recorded in Belfast in 2001. As for the main disc, I don’t know that I’d call it essential. The live versions of most songs don’t vary too much from the album cuts and the one that does the most, “Lazy Line Painter Jane” (which is tellingly retitled “Lazy Jane” here), differs larger for the worse for the absence of vocalist Monica Queen and the dialing down of its northern soul though the final minute does rescue it in grand fashion. None of the four unreleased songs is particularly exceptional though they do provide a fitting coda to Isobel Cambpell’s tenure in the band. But as a reminder of how wonderful this band was, particularly in their early years (the later years were wonderful in a completely different way), it’s a triumph. And most of their fans are so obsessive that they’ve already gone out and bought it already, anyways though if you’re on the fence, Paste has compiled a list of 15 reasons you need to own this.

Stream: Belle & Sebastian / The BBC Sessions

Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb discusses their new record proVisions (on which Isobel Campbell guests) with The Sun.

Pitchfork interviews Fleet Foxes.

altsounds chats with Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison. They’ve got a US tour coming together for January, but no Toronto date yet nor is there an obvious gap in the itinerary where I’d guess one would go. Still, fingers crossed.

Daytrotter sessions up with Film School.

Opting not to wait for Black Friday, Hard To Find A Friend has declared the holiday season as begun and has released a lovely charity Christmas compilation. Featuring artists such as American Analog Set, Oxford Collapse and Jason Collett, whose contribution can be sampled below. The mix costs $7.50 USD and all proceeds go to support The Children Of Uganda Foundation. Check it out – it’s the right thing to do and the easy way to do it.

MP3: Jason Collett – “A Beguiled Christmas in Sales”

Seattlest has an interview with Kathleen Edwards, The Oregon Daily Emerald talks to her and tourmate John Doe.

The Skinny gets some face time with Mick Harvey and Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave & Bad Seeds.

Drowned In Sound engages Okkervil River’s Will Sheff in the first of a two-part feature.