Posts Tagged ‘Library Voices’

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

David Comes To Life

Fucked Up, The Sadies, PS I Love You and Quest For Fire at The Great Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe baseline for any Fucked Up show is glorious mayhem. Add in factors like a hometown show, a full-album recital of their ridiculously ambitious and critically-acclaimed, concept rock opera David Comes To Life, the last gig of an insanely busy year in support of said album that took the band around the world from bars to festivals to arenas, a fundraising benefit for Barriere Lake Solidarity, and a lineup made up of some of the band’s favourite acts from Toronto (and outlying regions), and expectations will not unreasonably be increased to ludicrous heights.

Things opened with Quest For Fire, the only act of this two-night mini-festival that I’d never seen despite them having been around for some time. And though I’d been briefed on what they were about, musically, I could have guessed from their pedalboards – any band with that many Big Muffs on stage is likely to be stoner-rock inclined, and indeed they were inclined to the big lumbering riffs, but their brief set showed they were also able to move with some velocity when needed. First band of the night and our daily recommended dose of head banging and guitar solos were well covered.

It’d been a while since I’d last seen PS I Love You, and apparently in the interim they’ve decided the two-man band thing wasn’t cutting it. For this show, at least, they’d expanded to a three-piece with Tim Bruton of Matters and countless other local acts helping out on guitar and keys. Not that Paul Saulnier necessarily needed the help – he’d also acquired a double-neck guitar to beef up his already massive sound, and on this night PS I Love You were easily the loudest I’d ever heard them. And also the proggiest – it’s interesting how when they first emerged, all the reference points were ’80s and ’90s college rock because now there’s little chance you’d peg their influences any more recent than the ’70s. There are still plenty of fret-shredding solos, but now you couldn’t ignore the sophistication in the ideas and arrangements – that Rush cover they released a little while back wasn’t ironic, I’ll tell you that.

I don’t think it’s a slight to say that The Sadies are always The Sadies, because if you’ve seen The Sadies live before, you know that means they’re always awesome. As with when I saw them last, opening up for another not-immediately obvious act in Godspeed You! Black Emperor back in April, their set skewed a little more to the rock side of things than the country – Travis Good’s fiddle did not make an appearance – and it may have felt a little looser than they normally are – at one point Dallas Good dedicated a song to everybody in the whole world – but favourites like “Ridge Runner Rell” and “Tiger Tiger” were givens for the set and as jaw-dropping as ever. That there was a mic set up in the centre of the stage but unattended for most of the set was clear sign that a guest would be joining them, but it really could been anyone since the band have worked with pretty much everyone. Who it ended up being was Andre Ethier – the former Deadly Snake, not the current Los Angeles Dodger – who led the band through a couple of tunes reminiscent of Rolling Thunder-era Dylan, this ensuring that the ’70s theme that had been running through the night remained unbroken.

And then it was time for Fucked Up. Speaking objectively, it was hard to ignore that Damian Abraham’s mic sounded either broken or deliberately distorted beyond reasoning, or that the mix wasn’t nearly as balanced as it should have been to allow a work as sonically complex as David to really shine (though standing right in front of Ben Cook’s amp probably didn’t help my perspective), or that at a few points in the set I heard the band’s usual uber-tightness waver some. But none of that mattered one whit. This was the band that had improbably become this city’s musical ambassadors to the world over the last few years celebrating an amazing year with their friends and family for a worthy cause, and any nit-picking about the technical details – which were mostly minor – were rendered completely invalid by the spirit and energy of the show.

For his traditional foray into the audience early in the show, Abraham climbed right up off the stage into the balcony and traversed the entire perimeter of the venue while his bandmates churned through “Turn The Season”. Beneath him, as they did from note one and would through the duration of the show, a relatively small but unquestionably determined mosh pit did what they do; Abraham would encourage the horseplay but also clearly kept a watchful eye on his charges. And though he’s the indisputable focal point of the band, enough can’t be said about the rest of the band and their ability to keep up the exhausting and unrelenting pace that the material demands, be it unloading massive riff after riff or providing the melodic backing vocals so essential to tempering Abraham’s gruff roar. I can’t imagine the endurance necessary to pull off a show like this, but they did it.

Surprisingly, the show seemed to go by quicker than the album itself seems to and with the set finale of “Lights Go Out”, you couldn’t help but feel a huge swell of hometown pride for what had just gone down. Arguably the city’s best band right now, for whom epithets like “punk” or “hardcore” are now so stylistically inadequate, gave us a fantastic gift and reminded us that in a year when so much seems to have gone wrong civically, there was still so much to love about this city. Toronto the good, Toronto the Fucked Up.

Exclaim and BlogTO also have reviews of the show and The AV Club has an interview with drummer Josh Zucker. Pitchfork has the whole of the Fucked Up performance of David in New York City available to watch.

Photos: Fucked Up, The Sadies, PS I Love You, Quest For Fire @ The Great Hall – December 20, 2011
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”
MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: The Sadies – “Anna Leigh”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Subdivisions”
MP3: PS I Love You (featuring Diamond Rings) – “Leftovers”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Butterflies & Boners”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
Video: Fucked Up – “Turn The Season”
Video: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
Video: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Black Albino Bones”
Video: Fucked Up – “Crooked Head”
Video: The Sadies – “Another Day Again”
Video: The Sadies – “Cut Corners”
Video: The Sadies – “Postcards”
Video: The Sadies – “The Horseshoe”
Video: The Sadies – “Flash”
Video: PS I Love You (featuring Diamond Rings) – “Leftovers”
Video: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
Video: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
Video: Quest For Fire – “I’ve Been Trying To Leave”

Kathryn Calder has released a new video from Bright & Vivid.

Video: Kathryn Calder – “Turn A Light On”

Exclaim has details of the new Woodpigeon EP For Paolo, which will be released digitally on January 24. There’s also a new video for the title track.

Video: Woodpigeon – “For Paolo”

Colin Stetson also has a new video for his new 10″ single for “Those Who Didn’t Run”.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Those Who Didn’t Run”

Amos The Transparent have released a video from their forthcoming album Goodnight My Dear… Im Falling Apart, which compiles a pair of previously-released EPs and will be out on February 14. They play a release show for the record at The Horseshoe on February 25.

Video: Amos The Transparent – “Sure As The Weather”

It’s a two-night stand of the in sound from out west at Lee’s Palace on April 12 and 13 when Yukon Blonde and Library Voices roll into town.

MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: Yukon Blonde – “Water”
Video: Library Voices – “Generation Handclap”

The first official taste of Memoryhouse’s debut full-length The Slideshow Effect is available and it’s very… awake. The album is out February 28.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “The Kids Were Wrong”

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

What Do You Wanna Do?

Louise Burns and other gentle suggestions for NXNE 2011

Photo By Michelle FordMichelle FordAnother year, another NXNE, another NXNE preview post. I’ll apologize in advance if this one’s a little less thorough or exploratory than previews past, as travels and general business has taken up time that would usually be spent cruising band websites and Myspaces Facebooks, Bandcamps and Soundclouds.

But I can offer one unconditional endorsement for the coming week, and I’d like to think it’s not a wholly obvious one: Vancouver’s Louise Burns. Her debut Mellow Drama came out a couple months ago and sat in my CD stacks until some recommendations both personal and professional prompted me to dig it out and give it a spin and wow. Gifted with a crystalline voice possessing just the right amount of twang at the corners, Burns puts it to work on a remarkably strong set of songs born of a love of classic ’50s and ’60s rock’n’roll but grown to feel timeless rather than throwback. While not the most universal reference point, readers of this here site will appreciate how high praise it is when I compare her to Nicole Atkins in influence and aesthetic, though with less torchiness and more jangle in the mix. Dig those Pretenders guitar tones.

I’m quite taken with this record and so was pretty happy when Burns was a late addition to the NXNE lineup; her showcase goes 9PM on Saturday night, June 18, at Supermarket. Southern Souls has a video session with downloadable MP3s to check out.

MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

And here’s the day-by-day of stuff that, should you find yourself looking for something to check out, I think may be worth your while. I’ve left out some perennial recommendations because, well, that’d be kind of redundant, but they still have my implicit endorsement.

Wednesday, June 15
Young Contrarians @ Rancho Relaxo, 8PM – advertised to me as a fun sort-of side-project of local musicians who rarely play, the samples of their lightly synth-y, New Wave pop is better than lots of what I’ve heard from deadly serious, full-time bands. Check out the tune on their NXNE profile and tell me I’m wrong.

Lower Dens @ The Garrison, 10PM – hypnotically atmospheric Baltimore outfit finally returning to Toronto for a couple of NXNE shows, this one and another at 1AM on Thursday, June 16, at Lee’s Palace. One of the bands I really hope to catch but won’t be surprised if I miss completely.
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

Ume @ The Drake Underground, 11PM – the Austin-based power trio who’re personal favourites will be previewing their new album Phantoms, due out on August 30. They always put on an absolutely scorching live show courtesy the guitar heroics of frontwoman Lauren Larson.
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”

The Postelles @ The Garrison, 11PM – New York guitar-pop band that sounds like a New York guitar-pop band, which is to say kind of throwback garage-y and a lot catchy. Billboard and The Washington Examiner have features.
MP3: The Postelles – “Hold On”

Library Voices @ The Rivoli, 12AM – unflappable Saskatchewan collective who’ve endured theft, floods and living in Saskatchewan to keep putting out upbeat, catchy pop will release their second album Summer Of Lust on August 23. NOW, The National Post and The Leader-Post have interviews.
Video: Library Voices – “Drinking Games”

Thursday, June 16
Evening Hymns @ The Music Gallery, 8PM – Toronto duo built around the duo of Jonas Bonetta and Sylvie Smith will be previewing their second album, as yet untitled but due out in the Fall, in pretty much the most perfect setting short of a mist-covered mountaintop. Spill has an interview with Bonetta.
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”

Fucked Up @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8PM – the chance to see the 2009 Polaris Prize winners do their crowd-invading, half-naked thing in a public square is not to be missed, nor is the opportunity to hear their latest opus David Comes To Life live. They’ll also play Wrongbar at 1AM the same evening. The National Post has a feature.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Modern Superstitions @ The Garrison, 9PM – constantly on my festival “you ought to see” lists because, well, you ought to see them. Their catchy garage-pop get better every time out.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

The Two Koreas @ The Velvet Underground, 10PM – in brief: local rock scribes form rock band, make surprisingly good guitar-rock record, get other local rock scribes to recommend seeing them and regret no longer being in bands.
MP3: The Two Koreas – “Midnight Brown”

Cowboy And Indian @ The Comfort Zone, 10PM – CRUCIFICTORIOUS!
MP3: Cowboy And Indian – “Ledbellies”

Slow Down, Molasses @ The Dakota Tavern, 11PM – sprawling Prairie collective who’ve found an extra dose of cohesion and rock on their second album Walk Into The Sea
MP3: Slow Down, Molasses – “Late Night Radio”

Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – one of Alternative Nation’s original power couples, now back together and doing… I’m not exactly sure. But expecting to slapped upside the head with ’90s nostalgia probably isn’t unreasonable.
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: The Juliana Hatfield Three – “Spin The Bottle”

Bruce Peninsula @ The Rivoli, 1AM – local gospel-blues-folk choir continues their gradual return to active duty with their first live show in what seems like forever. Their second album Open Flames is out this Fall
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”

Friday, June 17
Art Brut @ The Mod Club, 9PM – hilarious and whip-smart Brits will showcase their new record Brilliant! Tragic. Paste has a profile.
MP3: Art Brut – “Lost Weekend”

Volcano Playground @ Rancho Relaxo, 11PM – Atmospheric synth-pop made right here in Toronto that pulls together all manner of influence into something impressively unique. A local act to keep an eye on, whether at NXNE or not.
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Waiting”

Julianna Barwick @ Wrongbar, 11PM – Haunting, ambient soundscapes built on layers of vocals and imagination.
MP3: Julianna Barwick – “The Magic Place”

Swervedriver @ The Great Hall, 12AM – British shoegaze legends making a rare appearance in these parts… even if their last appearance in 2008 was at this very same festival.
MP3: Swervedriver – “Last Train To Satansville” (live)

Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – sun-kissed Californian garage-pop from the guaranteed best-dressed band at the fest. Including Devo. Spinner and NOW have interviews.
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Gladstone Hotel, 12AM – London orchestral-folk faves finally return with a new, full lineup that should allow them to recreate more of if not all of their gorgeous And Now We Sing album
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

Rouge @ Sneaky Dee’s, 3AM – if for some reason you’re still awake and looking for something to do, their electro-pop will make a compelling argument for dancing, dancing, dancing.

Saturday, June 18
Cults @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – possibly the buzziest of all the buzz bands playing the festival, thanks to the love for the retro-pop that adorns their self-titled debut. They also playing at midnight at Lee’s Palace on June 17. Filter and Boston Globe have features.
MP3: Cults- “Go Outside”

Bellewoods @ The Dakota Tavern, 9PM – raggedly lovely and rockingly downcast outfit preparing for the upcoming release of their debut Don’t Rely On Me
MP3: Bellewoods – “Take Me Out”

Devo @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – They’re legends, they’re the headliners, they’re free. Are they not men? They are DEVO.
Video: Devo – “Girl U Want”

Smoke Fairies @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – English folk-blues duo specializing in tight harmonies and creepy atmosphere. Tour Dates has an interview.
MP3: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”

Peelander-Z @ The Comfort Zone, 12AM – A single look should be all you need to know if you want to see the planet’s premiere Japanese action comic punk band. They also play an all-ages show at Sneaky Dee’s at 5PM that afternoon. Spinner has an interview.
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”

Chad VanGaalen @ The Great Hall, 12AM – The release of Diaper Island brings Canada’s premier weirdo-pop auteur back to town. The Take and National Post have interviews.
MP3: Chad Vangaalen – “Sara”

Secret Cities @ The Dakota Tavern, 12AM – Classic, lightly psychedelic pop low on fidelity but high on songs, hailing from the music hotbed of Fargo, North Dakota. They’re also playing 9PM Friday at Wrongbar and 5PM Saturday at The Rivoli
MP3: Secret Cities – “The Park”

Obviously, this is just a tiny sample of what’s on offer this week at the clubs around town – to be honest, I haven’t even sorted out what I’m going to be seeing so I can’t very well say with any authority that these are the acts you should be seeing. But hopefully there’s something in the selections above that click with you and at least register as an option for your festival itinerary. And if you need more, check out festival previews at Spin (focusing on worthy Torontonian acts), OTM, BlogTO, Toro (two-parter) and The Line Of Best Fit

And note that these only covered the official evening showcases; while things are still far from Austin-scale, there’s more day shows and whatnot this than I ever recall, which is good news for everyone – particularly underagers and people without the time/money/energy for the club crawl. There’s a number of in-store shows, the Kelp Records/Line Of Best Fit BBQ on Friday, an Rdio-sponsored thing and BrooklynVegan-branded boat cruise on Saturday afternoon and the Live In Bellwoods performances in the park running afternoons from Thursday through Sunday to name the ones that are on my radar. And there’s also a launch party for the just-released Static Zine on the Sunday, which will feature live shows at both Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches and in Christie Pits.

Update: Just posted – Spinner’s as-comprehensive-as-you’ll-find guide to NXNE afterparties, day shows and secret shows.

So yeah, NXNE. Here we go.

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Light You Up

Review of Forest City Lovers’ Carriage

Photo By Ryan MarrRyan MarrToronto’s Forest City Lovers began essentially as a pseudonym for singer-songwriter Kat Burns, and while ably assisted by members of Toronto’s burgeoning music community her debut The Sun & The Wind was accordingly spare, but still gave hints to her broader pop ambitions. 2008’s Haunting Moon Sinking found Forest City Lovers no longer a pseudonym but a proper band and accordingly, it was a much fuller and rangier affair with a few moments of pure pop bounce amidst the more contemplative numbers. It made clear that talent-wise, Forest City Lovers had the potential to be one of the city, if not the country’s, finer pop bands though to make the grab for that brass ring seemed at odds with the understated charm that seemed to be such a fundamental part of their appeal. How would they reconcile that, if at all?

The answer comes in the form of Carriage. Their third album, released this week, is the sort of record that you always hope that a band you believe in will make, but don’t really expect for fear of being disappointed. Somehow Forest City Lovers have managed to make a game-changer of an album without actually changing their game – the core of their sound, Burns’ insightful and evocative lyrics delivered with her gentle, hint-of-smoke vocals, are intact and front and centre but this time out they’re cast against type in some big pop arrangements and damn if they don’t more than rise to the challenge.

Bookended by different versions of both sides of last year’s Phodilus and Tyto 7″, Carriage comes with a wealth of fresh ideas and it seems the more unexpected the turn, the more rewarding the outcome. Perhaps the best example of this is the confidently off-kilter “Minneapolis”, whose two minutes and forty seconds boasts one of the most infectious choruses you’re likely to hear anywhere this year. It’s pretty much the sort of song that you’d have thought Forest City Lovers would be great at but never would have expected them to write, and that feeling of both surprise and satisfaction permeates the record. The presence of new drummer Christian Ingelevics is surely a big part of the album’s heightened energy – he’s certainly brought such to their live show – and perhaps the decision to work with an outside producer for the first time is also part of it, though the record still maintains much of the of intimate, unvarnished vibe of the earlier recordings. But I think that most of the growth on Carriage can be attributed to a band that was simply ready to take that next step and decided to make it a huge leap forward. So very, very rewarding.

I Heart Music also has a review of the album and is offering a download of “Minneapolis”, also his pick as the key song on the record. Exclaim couples their review with a quick interview and Soundproof, The National Post and Chart have features on the band. Forest City Lovers start a three-week North American tour this weekend and will play a hometown record release show at the Great Hall on August 12, preceded by an in-store at Soundscapes on August 10, before heading back out on the road in September.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”
MySpace: Forest City Lovers

Left-field Vancouver art-poppers Apollo Ghosts are touring their Polaris Prize-nominated album Mount Benson right across Canada and are making two stops in Toronto – on July 27 for an in-store performance at Criminal Records at 7PM and then after hitting the east coast, will double back and wrap things up on August 6 at Sneaky Dee’s with Dog Day.

MP3: Apollo Ghosts – “Coka Cola Admen”
MP3: Apollo Ghosts – “Things You Go Through”

The Take interviews The Balconies.

Chart talks to The Sadies, who will ring in Canada Day with a free show at Harbourfront Centre tonight.

Great Lake Swimmers have released a new video from last year’s Lost Channels.

Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “River’s Edge”

Also with a new video are Black Mountain, whose Wilderness Heart is out September 14. They’re at the Horseshoe on July 23.

Video: Black Mountain – “Old Fangs”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon. They’ll be back in town on October 6 to play a free noon-hour show at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Washington City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly talk to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, whose performance in Washington DC last week is available to stream over at NPR.

Pornographer going solo Kathryn Calder has released another MP3 from her forthcoming debut Are You My Mother?, out August 10.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”

CBC, Chart and Exclaim interview members of Stars. They are at Massey Hall on October 23.

John O’Regan of Diamond Rings offers The Line Of Best Fit a guide to his Toronto.

The Vancouver Sun talks to Shad, who’s at the Kool Haus on October 1.

Clash interviews Emily Haines of Metric. The video for their Twilight theme song is now available to swoon at. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on Friday, July 9

Video: Metric – “Twilight (All Yours)”

Supporting Metric on that show are Holy Fuck; has an interview.

Rae Spoon will release Love Is A Hunter, the follow up to 2008’s excellent Superioryouareinferior, on August 17 and the first MP3 is available to download.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “You Can Dance”

The Hidden Cameras will play two intimate shows at the Lower Ossington Theatre on August 5 and 6 as part of the Summerworks theatre and film festival. According to Chart, they will be taking the opportunity to reimagine their last album Origin: Orphan as a theatrical work. Tickets for the shows are just $10.

MP3: The Hidden Cameras – “Walk On”

Half of this Take-Away Show with Land Of Talk was posted a couple weeks ago but the second video posted at Le Blogotheque, presumably a track from Cloak & Cipher, is the real jaw-dropper. So very excited for this record, which will be out August 24.

Exclaim talks to members of Wolf Parade.

PunkNews interviews Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up.

Harbourfront Centre’s Love Saskatchewan festival will feature free performances from Rah Rah and Library Voices on July 23 and July 25, respectively. And with lots of Saskatchewan-related goodness in between.

Tourisme Montreal talks to Basia Bulat, who was there last week for the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Wired interviews Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright and star Michael Cera. Hilarity ensues. Pitchfork also talks to Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning about their contributions to the film soundtrack.

The National Post examines the state of the Summer concert season.

Happy Canada Day, everyone. I am marking this auspicious occasion by leaving the country. I’m off to New York City for an extended long weekend – I think these are called vacations. We’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Reconstruction Site

The Weakerthans lend a hand to Library Voices with club show fundraiser

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceThere’s bad luck, there’s worse luck, and then there’s Library Voices luck. Back in February of 2009, the boisterous Regina-based pop outfit had approximately $10,000 worth of equipment stolen in Vancouver; despite the loss, they managed to regroup, re-equip and record a new album which was released last month as Denim On Denim and were gearing up for a Summer tour to support when disaster struck – again. This time, it was an act of god – at least as far as their insurance is concerned – in the form of a burst water main in their rehearsal space, which in addition to causing immense damage to the Regina Cultural Exchange all-ages venue and community centre, destroyed all their gear.

While the band struggle to salvage what they can out of the situation, some of their prairie brethren are stepping in to lend a hand. Winnipeg’s Weakerthans, already in town for next week’s May 26 show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, have commandeered the preceding evening’s Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe – that’s May 25 – and turned it into a fundraiser for Library Voices. Advance tickets for the night go on sale Thursday for $25 and a portion of proceeds will go to help out Library Voices get back on their feet. I really can’t remember the last time The Weakerthans played such a small room – that alone should be incentive to go, let alone the charitable angle. So yeah, good on The Weakerthans for chipping in, and here’s hoping that Library Voices are back on their feet by the time they arrive in town to play that very same Horseshoe stage on June 19 as part of NXNE.

MP3: The Weakerthans – “Sun In An Empty Room”
MP3: The Weakerthans – “Night Windows”

Chad Van Gaalen talks to Exclaim about what he’s been up to of late, working on “an electro record, there’s a rock record and then there’s a pretty much straight-up folk record,” which may see the light of day as individual efforts of mashed together into one typically all-over-the-place Van Gaalen album. He estimates a late 2010/early 2011 release window for whatever it ends up being.

Paste catches up with Carl Newman of The New Pornographers. They will be at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Chart talks to Hannah Georgas. chats with Dan Mangan. He will be back in Toronto on June 9 taking part in the Alli’s Journey fundraiser at Koerner Hall in the Royal Conservatory of Music and his album Nice Nice Very Nice will be getting a US release via Arts & Crafts on August 10; Mangan talks to Spinner about how he came to work with the label.

The Balconies are featured in a new video session with Southern Souls to go along with their first one. They will play the Steam Whistle Roundhouse on May 28, cover $5.

So it appears Arcade Fire are finally ready to start off the feeding frenzy that will surround their third record. Dose reports that the band announced via handwritten postcard (scanned and posted online, of course) that a new single will be ready in a couple weeks and various sources around the interwebs point to it a) being available as a 12″, b) containing songs entitled “Suburbs” and “Month of May” and c) available June 1. Some or all of this may be true or untrue. What is for sure is this: GUYS, ARCADE FIRE ARE DOING STUFF.

Emily Haines of Metric talks to Spinner about being tapped to write the theme song for the next Twilight film. They are at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9.

Wednesday night’s Hurricane Bells show at the El Mocambo is now free. So if you were looking for something to do that night… there you go.

So yeah, they sold out the Sound Academy lickety-split earlier this year, but can they do it with a venue five times the size? Vampire Weekend will find that out when they play the Molson Amphitheatre on September 7. Tickets range from $44 to $59.50 – seriously – but to sweeten the deal, they’re bringing along Beach House and Dum Dum Girls as support. Convinced yet? Presale starts today, regular on sale starts Friday.

MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Horchata”
MP3: Beach House – “Norway”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Canadian Musicfest Day Three

The Week That Was, Library Voices, We See Lights and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo yes, I sort of wimped out on the first couple days of Canadian Musicfest, but like to think I made up for it with Saturday, hitting up something from the evening’s start to the very end although I did skip out on a couple of very attractive pre- and post-showcase events. But anyways.

Scottish septet We See Lights were making the most of their visit to Canada, playing three shows in the week – this one at Bread & Circus in Kensington being the last – though from what I’d heard from others, they weren’t what you’d call the best-attended performances. And that’s a shame because they have a lot to recommend and really, an overabundance of talent. Boasting four more than capable lead singers, they crafted lush and beautifully open-hearted whose sentimentality and earnestness was extra endearing given the youthfulness of the band – like a teenager absolutely convinced that they’re the first ones to have ever had their heart broken. They’re like the melancholic, mirror universe version of Los Campesinos! and by god they deserved to have people hear them. Dear We See Lights, please don’t hold our city’s indifference against us – please visit again.

Photos: We See Lights @ Bread & Circus – March 14, 2009
MySpace: We See Lights

After the Scots cleared out all their gear, Swedish singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik took the stage with her decidedly more stripped-down band, made up of one cellist, one percussionist and one fellow tapping out synth notes on an iPhone. The spare but thoughtful accouterments worked well at accenting Talvik’s fairly straightforward singer-songwriter fare, which was a bit disappointing in that it didn’t seem to exhibit the sort of sunny exterior/dark subtext that a lot of Swedish acts seem to imbue their work with. I thought I got whiffs of that on her latest album Jonestown, but she also didn’t play some of my favourite tracks from that record so perhaps she was just smoothing out the set list for the audience. Either way, a lovely voice and a lovely girl – hard to complain too much about that.

Photos: Sofia Talvik @ Bread & Circus – March 14, 2009
MP3: Sofia Talvik – “My James Dean”
Video: Sofia Talvik – “It’s Just Love” (with Bernard Butler)
MySpace: Sofia Talvik

At this point the plan was to again hoof it up to the Tranzac for The Morning After Girls but after seeing two streetcars zip by while walking to the stop, the transit line seemed to dry up and there was nothing else in sight. At this point it was obvious that I’d be 10-15 minutes late for their set at best and I bailed – just as well, too, as I’ve heard that their set was cut short due to technical difficulties.

Instead, plan B became the El Mocambo and Regina’s Library Voices and goodness, all consolation prizes should be so satisfying. I should say that at this point, I’m utterly skeptical about bands whose rosters could also be fielded as a baseball team, but Library Voices – nine members strong – won me over. Yes they indulged in the same sort of antics other big bands do – instrument swapping, raucous on-stage behaviour, general shenanigans – but they did it so well and so infectiously, that my cynicism was melted away within a couple songs. And in more quantitative terms, they may be a big-ass band but their sound is surprisingly focused and the songs are grand and hooky. I’m not sure I could subsist on a diet of what they’re serving, but for one musical meal, at least, it was tasty.

Photos: Library Voices @ The El Mocambo – March 14, 2009
MP3: Library Voices – “Step Off The Map And Float”
MySpace: Library Voices

This was only halfway through the night? Egads. When discussing my CMF schedule with someone, don’t remember who, mention of The Assistants reminded said unknown person that he’d seen them at a Jesus & Mary Chain tribute night once upon a time, whereas my only live experience with them was a few years ago at a shoegaze tribute night. The point of this being that The Assistants really don’t sound anything like shoegaze, so their presence at these shows and ensuing mental associations is erroneous to say the least. What they do sound like, as their set at Neutral confirmed, is good to great ’80s-inflected jangle-pop. A little Go-Betweens and New Order for the hip influences, a dash of Tom Petty and Dire Straits for the not-so-hip though, for the record, I like Tom Petty and Dire Straits and make these comparisons flatteringly. They play next April 11 at the Mod Club.

Photos: The Assistants @ Neutral – March 14, 2009
MP3: The Assistants – “Fiction”
MySpace: The Assistants

I’d originally planned to wrap the night at this point, but I still hadn’t seen the band I had circled before this whole week began, and since they were on at 1 it I had some time to kill – back to Bread & Circus. On stage were Abbey, hailing from Pembrooke, outside Ottawa, and notable for being the new project of Jordan Zadarozny, ex of Blinker The Star, who were almost the next big thing for a moment in the ’90s. And that brief shining moment definitely comes across in the music, which is big, downstroke-heavy guitar rock with just enough pop in it to not be rawk. Not offensive, but the most memorable thing about their set was the band blowing a fuse a couple songs in.

Photos: Abbey @ Bread & Circus – March 14, 2009

And then, finally, it was around the block to the El Mocambo for The Week That Was – an appropriately-named act to finish things off, I think. I’ll tell myself that everyone who wanted to see them had done so Thursday night at the Gladstone because the turnout for this show, hastily scheduled last week after they were removed from the Ting Tings bill, was pretty meagre. The Week That Was, however, are pros and didn’t let something like that dissuade them from putting on a performance that was worth the wait, somehow managing to recreate the breadth and impact of their densely prog-pop self-titled debut with only four players, even though the record was recorded with upwards of ten members. Though not exactly overflowing with stage presence – frontman Peter Brewis spent kept his eyes shut most of the time – the playing was tight and impactful. With Brewis returning to concentrate on Field Music after this North American tour is done, it was possibly the last time these songs would be aired so it’s good that they were done justice.

Photos: The Week That Was @ The El Mocambo – March 14, 2009
MP3: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
MP3: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”
Video: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
Video: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”

And yeah, that’s another CMW/CMF in the can. There’s a crapload of CMF coverage at eye, Chart, The Toronto Star… oh hell, just google the rest.

And here’s a smattering of non-CMF/SxSW stuff to hopefully appease those who have no interest in either.

Billboard profiles Bob Mould, whose The Life & Times is out April 7.

Bob Dylan’s next album will be entitled Together Through Life and be released on April 28. Billboard has more details.

Spin has details on the forthcoming Bloc Party remix album Intimacy Remixed, due out May 11. There’s also a downright disturbing video for for one of the mixes. Egads.

Video: Bloc Party – “Signs” (Armand Van Helden remix)

Swedish rockers The Sounds have a date at the Mod Club on April 28. Their new album is Crossing The Rubicon and due out May 26.

And one to file under “didn’t see that coming” – Charlotte Hatherley has joined Bat For Lashes. She will be guitarist in Natasha Khan’s touring band through the Fall while they promote Two Suns, out April 6. So the good news is that Ms Hatherley will finally be coming to North America on tour, the bad news is she’s not doing any of her own songs. The more good news is she’s still going to be playing some great songs. The more bad news is this means the release of her next solo record Cinnabar City has been pushed back from the Spring to September. The even more good news is that it looks like the record will get a North American release and that proper touring of her own will follow. Oh hell, just read her MySpace blog for details. And be at the Mod Club on April 25 to welcome Charlotte – and Bat For Lashes – to Toronto.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.