Posts Tagged ‘King Khan & The Shrines’

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Show Yourself

Okkervil River invite you to climb the rope in The Silver Gymnasium

Photo By Ben SklarBen SklarIt’s rather de rigueur these days to sneak-announce the existence of new albums of note, eschewing the traditional long lead for the immediacy allowed by the internet and social media or whatnot, but in revealing the existence of a new Okkervil River record, Will Sheff went with the teasing route, playing a guessing game through last week in revealing a few letters of their new album’s title each day, eventually announcing The Silver Gymnasium this past Monday.

Not that the announcement didn’t come with its share of surprise. Firstly, that it existed and would be out as soon as September 3 – to the casual observer, it seemed that Sheff was more occupied with his Lovestreams side project than recording the follow-up to Okkervil’s 2011 album I Am Very Far, and secondly, that the record sees the band leaving their longtime label of Jagjaguar for the Dave Matthews-founded ATO Records. But the new record is done and however it’s delivered, it’s good news.

More specifics are still forthcoming, but the album announcement also came with the itinerary for a Fall North America tour, which will bring the band back to town for the first time in over three years. They’ll be at The Phoenix on September 28 and tickets are $23.50 in advance.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”

Elsewhere on the concert announcement circuit, Doldrums and Absolutely Free have been named as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday performers next month on the evening of July 4. Tickets are $12 in advance.

MP3: Doldrums – “Jump Up”
MP3: Absolutely Free – “UFO”

Memoryhouse have announced a July 19 appearance at The Drake Underground, part of a very small handful of Canadian dates this Summer. Tickets for the Drake show are $10.25 in advance.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

German ambient-electronic artist Ulrich Schnauss will be at The Drake on August 10; his latest A Long Way To Fall came out back in January. Advance tickets are $20.

Video: Ulrich Schnauss – “A Long Way To Fall”

With her solo debut Hero Brother coming out August 20, Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld has scheduled a live date at The Drake for August 22, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”

Up-and-coming British soul singer Laura Mvula makes a return to town on September 7 at The Mod Club behind her debut album, Sing To The Moon. Tickets for the show are $20.

Video: Laura Mvula – “Green Garden”

They may have gone indie for their latest album Like Clockwork, but make no mistake – Queens Of The Stone Age are still a big-ass band. To wit – they’ll be at The Air Canada Center on September 10, tickets running at the $34.50, $49.50, and $59.50 price points. Full tour details can be had at Pitchfork.

Video: Queens Of The Stone Age – “I Appear Missing”

Jenn Grant is coming back to town play more songs from last year’s The Beautiful Wild, this time at Lee’s Palace on September 21. Tickets for that show are $15 in advance.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

With Austra’s new album Olympia coming next Tuesday, June 18, it’s high time for an advance stream courtesy of Exclaim, interviews with Katie Stelmanis at MusicOmh and Clash, and a Fall tour that includes a hometown show at The Phoenix on September 27, tickets $25.

Video: Austra – “Home”
Stream: Austra / Olympia

Norwegian singer-songwriter Jenny Havl has made a date at The Rivoli for September 27 in support of her latest album Innocence Is Kinky.

Stream: Jenny Havl – “Mephisto In The Water”

It may have been disappointing to many that Tricky had to cancel his Summer dates in support of his latest False Idols due to visa issues, but Toronto fans will be happy to know that the rescheduled dates now include a local date – October 6 at a venue to be announced. In the meantime, FasterLouder has an interview with Tricky.

MP3: Tricky – “Anti-Matter”

With a new album in Idle No More due out on September 3 via Merge, King Khan & The Shrines have announced a Fall tour that stops in at The Horseshoe on October 26 and offered a stream of one of the new songs via Stereogum.

Stream: King Khan & The Shrines – “Born To Die”

Continuing to stick to her habit of playing one small venue tour and one bigger venue tour per album, Kate Nash will bring Girl Talk back to Toronto for a night at The Phoenix on November 5, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Kate Nash – “OHMYGOD!”

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Happy As Can Be

Cut Off Your Hands and Boys Who Say No at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t know what their official show count at SxSW was, but I think I managed to miss Cut Off Your Hands play no less than ten times in four days. This actually took some effort. And it wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to see them – you may recall I quite liked their debut You And I despite its more derivative qualities – but knowing that they’d be in Toronto just a week later, it was hard to justify missing another band who perhaps didn’t have T.O. in their travel plans to see one that was. And while I still think that was the smart thing to do, after their blistering set at the Horseshoe on Monday night, I can’t but help feeling a twinge of regret that I’ll have to wait who knows how long to see them again.

I’d missed most of the first band in the evening, an instrumental post-rock outfit called Siberia, but was there in plenty of time for the middle act, a local outfit with the somewhat unfortunate name of Boys Who Say No – unfortunate because it’s a bad name and they were quite a good band. I’d describe them as being a little bit folk and a little bit punk, but would never call them folk-punk. They had impressive chops channeled into creating a Maritime-ish good times party vibe that initially made me want to dismiss them – I like my music serious and profound, thank you very much – but by set’s end I was won over.

No such convincing was needed for Cut Off Your Hands. New Zealand’s first most popular post-punk-pop quartet came out firing on all cylinders, frontman Nick Johnston pogoing all over the stage, and didn’t let up for a moment of their compact but exhausting 40-minute set. Whereas the album took pains to include some gentler moments and show off the band’s sensitive side, live they were all about being turned up to 10 and staying at 10 until their tanks ran down to zero. And even though the record crackles with no small amount of energy, I was quite (and pleasantly) surprised by just how utterly gleeful and manic their performance was, particularly since they were able to execute the songs so perfectly and Johnston was able to avoid causing himself serious physical harm. Slower songs were made fast and fast songs made breakneck, but there was no compromising quality for energy, and that’s a hell of a thing to pull off. Excellence.

eye has both an interview with the band and a glowing show review while Chart also enjoyed themselves, just not quite as much.

Photos: Cut Off Your Hands, Boys Who Say No @ The Horseshoe – March 30, 2009
MP3: Cut Off Your Hands – “Turn Cold”
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Expectations” (version 1)
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Expectations” (version 2)
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Expectations” (version 3)
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Oh Girl”
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “You And I”
MySpace: Cut Off Your Hands

Cut Off Your Hands had been touring North America with Ra Ra Riot, but peeled off on their own for a few Canadian dates but will meet back up with them in New York City. Ra Ra Riot are here on Sunday opening up for Death Cab at the Sound Academy – they gave an interview to The National Post.

Scots 1990s, whose latest album Kicks was also helmed by Cut Off Your Hands producer Bernard Butler, have just announced a North American tour which brings them to the Horseshoe on June 3.

MP3: 1990s – “The Box”
Video: 1990s – “Animate”

Some samples from upcoming releases of note, starting with Superchunk! The first new ‘Chunk material in forever will be out on April 7 in the form of the Leaves In The Gutter EP and 20% of it sounds like this.

MP3: Superchunk – “Misfits & Mistakes”

Also out that day is the SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE COVERS! compilation, from which you can hear the ‘Chunk being covered by Les Savy Fav.

MP3: Les Savy Fav – “Precision Auto”

King Khan & The Shrines will release What Is?! on April 21 and play the Phoenix on May 12.

MP3: King Khan & The Shrines – “Land Of The Freak”

John Vanderslice will release his first album for new label Dead Oceans on May 19 in Romanian Names, and one of the songs sounds like this. The Hartford Courant and Express Night Out talk to the ‘Slice about his new record.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Fetal Horses”

The Rumble Strips won’t release their second album Welcome To The Walk Alone until June 8 in the UK, but they’re sharing the first single from it, entitled “London”.

MP3: The Rumble Strips – “London”

Exclaim and Muzzle Of Bees have interviews with Hutch Harris of The Thermals. Their new album Now We Can See is out next Tuesday and they play The Horseshoe on May 3. Here’s another track from the record:

MP3: The Thermals – “When We Were Alive”

Blurt and The Dallas Observer talk to Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers. They play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25.

Neil Young is streaming Fork In The Road on his MySpace in advance of its release next Tuesday.

Stream: Neil Young / Fork In The Road

Wireless Bollinger, Flagstaff Live and CMT talk to Justin Townes Earle, who plays the Horseshoe on April 22.

Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice talks inspiration with Spinner.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

El Sincero

Wheat return again

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSay what you will about Taunton, Massachusetts’ Wheat, but you can’t deny that they refuse to stay down. Once upon a time one of my favourite bands (circa Medeiros and Hope & Adams), they became a cautionary tale against the major label machine with 2003’s ill-fated Per Second Per Second Per Second Every Second (which I chronicled back in 2004 and 2005) and essentially disbanded in the aftermath.

They unexpectedly returned in 2007 with Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square, again independent and down a member, but even then they were beset with label problems and delays. And the record itself was free of the excessive gloss of Per Second, it was decent at best – unfocused and only evidencing glimpses of the rough magic that defined their earliest releases. It pretty much came and went and I figured that that was the end of the band, again. They’d returned in order to finish on their own terms.

Or not. There were rumblings of a new record late last year and though there’s no release date as of yet, it has a title – White Ink, Black Ink – and a sample of it has surfaced on the band’s profile for SxSW, where I fully intend to see them play. Obviously not enough to form an opinion on, though it sounds like they’re sticking to the sonic cut-and-paste aesthetic of Kathy. I find I remain curious and still a little excited about the prospect of new music from Wheat – this news prompted me to revisit those magical first two records and they still give me tingles.

And those first two records – Medeiros and Wheat – are being reissued together along with a bonus disc of rarities and whatnots from the era entitled 30 Minute Theatrik (thanks to Mark for the tip). It’s set for a March 10 release but you can pre-order it now and get all three records digitally immediately. If you’ve never heard either one, well, you should. And here’s your chance.

More Wheat info and downloads available at

MP3: Wheat – “El Sincero”
MP3: Wheat – “Move = Move”
Mp3: Wheat – “What Everyone Keeps Telling Me”
MP3: Wheat – “World United Already”
Video: Wheat – “Don’t I Hold You”
Video: Wheat – “I Met A Girl”
MySpace: Wheat

Drowned In Sound declared this week just ending “slowcore week” and followed that up with extensive features on personal favourites like Low, Galaxie 500, The New Year and Early Day Miners. They’ll have a new album out sometime this year entitled The Treatment.

The Democrat & Chronicle interviews Blitzen Trapper, playing a sold-out show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

CBC Radio 3 talks to Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, who will release their second album Beacons on April 14 and follow that up with a CD release show at the Opera House on April 18.

The Thermals are hitting the road in support of their new album Now We Can See, out April 7. Pitchfork has the full North American itinerary, which includes a May 3 date at the Horseshoe.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

Mogwai have announced a North American tour for this Spring which will make up their cancelled The Hawk Is Howling dates from last Fall when drummer Martin Bulloch’s pacemaker threatened to escape from his chest. The Toronto date will be May 4 at the Phoenix – those who won passes to the cancelled show, I’ll be in touch about the make-up date.

MP3: Mogwai – “The Sun Smells Too Loud”

With their new album What Is?! coming out domestically on April 12, King Khan & The Shrines will be at the Phoenix on May 12 to promote.

Vetiver have a date at the Horseshoe on May 15 in support of last year’s Tight Knit.

MP3: Vetiver – “Everyday”

Leonard Cohen has announced a North American tour – closest local date is May 19 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Second closest is May 24 at John Labbat Centre in London. Tickets on sale March 2.

Neil Young’s Fork In The Road has a confirmed release date of March 31. Archives? Don’t ask.

Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, will release her sophomore album in Actor on May 5. Full details on the release at Pitchfork.

Also out May 5 is Outer South, the second solo record from Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band.

Viva Voce will release Rose City on May 26.

The Broken West have turned out a new video from last year’s Now Or Heaven.

Video: The Broken West – “Perfect Games”

CHUD interviews Scott Pligrim creator Bryan Lee-O’Malley.