Posts Tagged ‘Lucky Soul’

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The Seven Year Itch

Music blog turns seven, gets nostalgic, makes list

Photo via IMDBIMDBAnother year, another… year. This here blogsite turns seven years old today, a milestone which simultaneously fills me with pride, amazement and some degree of despair. If you told me seven years ago that I’d still have enough free time and energy to be blogging extensively on an almost daily basis, I’d have thought you mad. Mad, I say. How would I have time on top of tending to the wife and kids and other domestic responsibilities I’d surely have acquired by then? Ahem. Yeah.

The last few anniversary posts have tended along the lines of “hey, this site is another year older and I still haven’t gotten a life – that’s awesome, thanks for stopping by” but this year, I’ve decided to do something just a little more involved and put together one of those things that bloggers live for – a top ten list. “Top Ten Favourite Records That Have Come Out Since This Blog Has Been In Existence”, to be precise.

While the specific criteria for inclusion in said list was a bit nebulous, the selections weren’t – they were actually completely obvious. Each of these albums are ones that I have completely fallen in love with over the past seven years, initial infatuation evolving into long-term, meaningful relationships. I intend to grow old and sit on rocking chairs on a veranda with these records. They are my go-to records for when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to be reminded of why I continue to seek out new music. My desert island discs of the past 7/10 of a decade. Did these records change my life? Maybe not, but they definitely made it better.

As, incidentally, have all of you who come by, read and made this whole exercise worthwhile over the past years. So for that, I thank you. Now make with the clicky.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Heart Skipped A Beat

An introduction to The xx

Photo By Owen RichardsOwen RichardsI don’t always trust myself, particularly when it comes to things like first impressions to music. Some things I think I hate grow to become dear favourites, while other things that may impress at first blush turn out to have the shortest shelf lives. But sometimes the things that instantly sound amazing actually are, and while it may still be too soon to call it, I’m prepared to put The xx in that rarefied group.

I only got a copy of their debut album xx earlier this week, but it has already received more plays than some records I’ve had for months – it simply demands to be heard and re-heard. Trying to find a place from which to begin describing it is difficult – imagine smooth trip-hop crossed with goth-tinged dreampop, seamlessly fused at the genetic level. Imagine Massive Attack busking in an abandoned tube station, armed with just guitars, bass and drum machine and drenched in reverb. It’s cold and sensual. Joyous and sullen. Dark and luminous. Detached and seductive. Confident and trepidatious. It’s dead simple and richly complex, and it’s crafted by four nineteen-year olds from the south of London. I want to use all manner of superlatives and hyperbole, but that sort of enthusiasm is sort of at odds with xx‘s utterly laid back beauty. So I’ll just say that while there’s plenty of time for its spell to be broken, for the moment it certainly looks like this is one of the best new bands/debuts/albums I’m likely to hear this year. Oh dear, that was a bit hyperbolic, wasn’t it? Ah well.

xx is out now in the UK now but North Americans who still like the physical product must wait until October 20. Those who do the digital over here can get it now, however, as it became available on iTunes, eMusic and the like this week. They’re also touring North America later this year as support for Friendly Fires – the pairing of their austere understatedness and the headliners’ unabashed dance party should be an interesting mix. Very much looking forward to the December 2 date at the Mod Club Phoenix.

The Guardian and have interviews with the band, who may end up being one of the rare bands who deliver far more than what the hype promises. Oops, more hyperbole.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
MP3: The xx – “Crystalised”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
MySpace: The xx

Elbow’s Guy Garvey tells BBC that the band are, uh, elbow-deep in new songs for their next album, which they’ll start working on in earnest after they finish touring in mid-September.

Pitchfork reports that pre-orders of the US release of Manic Street Preachers’ Journal For Plague Lovers on September 15 via the band’s website will get a copy of the previously announced remix album, featuring contributions from the likes of Patrick Wolf and The Horrors, for free. Those of us who already have the album will presumably be given some other way to get it. Probably involving a further outlay of cash. Manic Street Preachers are at the Phoenix on October 4.

MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Doors Closing Slowly” (Horrors remix)

The Line Of Best Fit has details on the fan-funded new Idlewild album, Post-Electric Blues, which will be out on October 5.

Clash talks to Noah & The Whale, who are set to release their new album The First Days Of Spring in the UK on August 31 and October 6 in North America. They also recently recorded a Black Cab Session.

Rockfeedback welcomes Emmy The Great to their digs for a lovely video session and hilarious interview. Emmy crush unabated.

To anyone wondering, Lucky Soul’s new album – still untitled – has had its release date pushed back from this Fall to January of next year. Until then, we will have to subsist on the first single. I can do that.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy”

Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura talks David Lynch and inspiration with The Tripwire.

PopMatters celebrates the early years of The Wedding Present.

I Taught Myself How To Grow Old talks to Bobby Wratten, formerly of The Field Mice, about the experience of having Saint Etienne cover their “Let’s Kiss And Make Up” to much greater success than the original ever achieved.

Video: Saint Etienne – “Let’s Kiss And Make Up”

Magnet plays over/under not with a single band’s oeuvre, as they normally do, but with the bands of the Britpop era.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

My Maudlin Career

Camera Obscura and Anni Rossi at Lee's Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere were plenty of evening entertainment options in Toronto this past Saturday night, including but not limited to free shows as part of Pride over in the Village and the Zunior Fifth Anniversary festivities at the Tranzac, but I opted to head over to Lee’s Palace to see Camera Obscura – a band I’d already seen live some half-dozen times. Considering that even the most generous fan would be hard-pressed to call them an especially dynamic live act, you might rightly question why I keep going back rather than try something new. To that, all I can say is “I don’t know” and “I like them”.

It also helped that this was their first time back in town since August 2007, their final show in support of Let’s Get Out Of This Country, and they were playing a room half the size of that show despite having released maybe their best album yet in My Maudlin Career. Country had been a definite breakthrough record for the Scottish outfit, shedding once and for all the Belle & Sebastian comparisons by adopting a more Motown-influenced attitude, but while it had a brace of killer singles, across the whole record it sometimes lagged or drifted back into more familiar musical postures. Career‘s highlights don’t quite hit the same heights as its predecessor, but it’s a much more consistent record top to bottom. The band sounds much more comfortable in the richness of their sonic trappings but most importantly, Traceyanne Campbell is doing something different with her voice. It’s still wearied and lovely as ever, but there’s something in her inflection and phrasing on this record that ratchets up the emotional quotient significantly. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot.

And so this is why I was standing at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night, waiting for the show to begin. And waiting. And waiting. Being completely sold out, arriving early was necessary to get a decent vantage point but the set times seemed unnecessarily late. Normally the opening act would serve to pass the time, but Chicago-based Anni Rossi seems to be a firm believer in the adages of “less is more” as well as “leave them wanting more”. Her warm-up set ran just 20 minutes, but she certainly made an impression in that time with her idiosyncratic, sorta-folkish sorta-not songs, distinctive acrobatic vocals and musical accompaniment consisting of violin viola and percussion generated by her stomping on the suitcase on which she stood. With a recipe like that you’d think she’d be a bit difficult for the casual listener but she was actually quite immediately engaging and surely could have played longer without anyone complaining – after her set, I saw a few people scurry back to the merch table to pick up copies of her debut Rockwell. She’ll be back in town on July 14 opening for Micachu at the El Mocambo – fingers crossed she plays a longer set.

The brevity of her performance meant it was another lengthy wait for the main attraction and grumbling could be overheard from all directions, but when the sextet finally strode onstage, the ladies decked out in vintage dresses, all was forgiven. Somewhat surprisingly, it was a different lineup than I’d seen play SxSW just three months prior – trumpeter Nigel Baillie had since gone to part-time status to tend to his new role as a father and bassist Gavin Dunbar had left the tour early due to a death in the family. The stand-ins were more than up to the task, however, and even added a bit of extra energy that might not have been there otherwise.

For as already stated, Camera Obscura will never be mistaken for Gogol Bordello in a live setting. They’re quite content to play their songs well and let their craftsmanship speak for them, so it’s a good thing their songs do that so well. Tracyanne Campbell has become a much better frontperson over the years, though that’s relative to the early days where the odds of her so much as cracking a smile were pretty low and if she did, it’d be at show’s end. On this night, she flashed a smile or two early on – basically guaranteeing a good night – and even cracked a few jokes. Their set covered almost all of My Maudlin Career – the arrangements were somewhat leaner than on record but never sounded lacking – and a lot of Country material also made appearances, particularly later in the set. Big cheers went out for the staples from the first two records, but for my money the new material is just so far superior that it deserves the spotlight. And I was particularly proud of the Hogtown punters for cheering when Toronto got namechecked in “Forests & Sands”, but only the first time – for subsequent choruses we stayed polite and let them do their thing. That’s the way to do it. And that’s how Camera Obscura did it – politely, but excellently. I like them.

There’s interviews with band members at The Georgia Straight and Portland Mercury and Panic Manual also has a review of the show.

Photos: Camera Obscura, Anni Rossi @ Lee’s Palace – June 27, 2009
MP3: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Ecology”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Wheelpusher”
Video: Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
Video: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Tears For Affairs”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Teenager”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Keep It Clean”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Eighties Fan”
Video: Anni Rossi – “The West Coast”
MySpace: Camera Obscura
MySpace: Anni Rossi

Clash has an advance sneak peak/listen to Forget The Night Ahead, the new album from The Twilight Sad, due out September 22. The new single “I Became A Prostitute” is streaming over at their MySpace.

NME has a Glastonbury-themed interview with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos.

They’d already played a number of warm-up gigs, but Glastobury was really the first big Blur reunion show, and by all accounts they utterly killed it. A good portion of the set was broadcast on the BBC and Deaf Indie Elephants has pointers to where you might be able to hear it. And if that doesn’t work or just isn’t enough, Pitchfork reports that the band’s shows in Hyde Park this week will be recorded and released as a live record about a week after the shows are performed.

Under The Radar gets a status update on album number two from Lucky Soul’s Andrew Laidlaw. Still being recorded, it’s targeted for October release and is going to be titled Whoa, Billy! – making this the title track. You can also follow the band on Twitter. Update: Band tweet denies that the album is going to be called Whoa Billy – thank goodness.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa, Billy!”

As part of their “” week, Drowned In Sound contemplates London’s scene, which with players such as Lightspeed Champion, Emmy The Great and Laura Marling, looks (and sounds) an awful lot like what they were calling “anti-folk” last year.

A couple of show announcements to wrap – Butthole Surfers are apparently still around and will be at The Phoenix on October 2, tickets $25. But much more exciting is the news that School Of Seven Bells are finally playing a headlining date in Toronto. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 15 in support of Alpinisms, one of my favourite albums of 2008.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Connjur”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Chain”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal” (Robin Guthrie mix)
Video: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal”
Video: School Of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Prelude To A Debut

An introduction to Reverie Sound Revue

Illustration by Amber AlbrechtAmber AlbrechtIt seems almost appropriate that there don’t exist any current photographs of Reverie Sound Revue – like a unicorn or your mythical creature of choice, many have never heard of them, those who have probably don’t believe they exist (anymore) and even those who believe will probably never get to bear witness with their own eyes, the odds of seeing them together and out in the wild ranging from slim to none.

Originally formed way back in 2002 in Calgary, the quintet released a self-titled EP in 2003 that largely flew under the radar but ensorcelled those fortunate enough to have heard its shimmery charms. Built on a bed of dreamy, delay-laden guitars and led by the vocals of Lisa Lobsinger – inflected by jazz but dedicated to pop – the outfit captured the sound of morning in the city, filled with the promise of the day. And, of course, they then split.

The members then drifted apart to various locales around Canada, seeking their various fortunes. Lobsinger, most notably, took the daunting role of being the first to step into the lady vocalist role in Broken Social Scene not named Amy, Emily or Leslie. And while immense geographic distances usually do a good job of keeping things that are broken apart, the band decided that it would be the perfect time to get things going again and officially re-formed in 2005, utilizing the wonders of modern technology to craft an album together, each from their own respective home bases.

But even with technology, things can only move so quickly under such circumstances so its taken four years to reach today, or more accurately six weeks and a bit from today – June 23 – when Reverie Sound Revue will finally release their self-titled debut. A bit of a wait for those who’d discovered, forgotten and re-discovered the band in the past six years or so but somehow still worth it. Their sound was distinctive and fresh, while still classic and timeless, the first time around and listening to the new record it’s remarkable that there’s still not really anyone that’s done what they do. There are shades of Ivy, Phoenix and Saint Etienne but without the overt Euro-ness that those reference points probably imply. Instead, the Reverie sounds slightly removed from time and place – the perfect soundtrack for anywhere you might find weekends, sidewalks and early morning dew.

In advance of the album’s release, the band’s 2003 EP will be getting released digitally on May 26. And there’s no plans for the band to re-commence playing live so if you’re smitten with them – and you will be – you’d do well to gather up as much of their recorded output as possible and just put it on repeat.

MP3: Reverie Sound Revue – “Rip The Universe”
MP3: Reverie Sound Revue – “An Anniversary Away”
MP3: Reverie Sound Revue – “Arrows”
Video: Reverie Sound Revue – “An Anniversary Away”
MySpace: Reverie Sound Revue

Laundromatinee has a session with Great Lake Swimmers, available in video and downloadable audio form. Chart talks to Tony Dekker about the band’s upcoming Summer tour itinerary.

NXEW interviews Two Hours Traffic.

I’m not sure when this got released but Land Of Talk have made a video for the title track of their album Some Are Lakes. A smattering of live dates have shown up on their MySpace, which gives hope that Liz Powell has recovered from the throat surgery that sidelined the band through most of the year so far. I also wonder if that means she’ll be with Broken Social Scene at their Olympic Island gig on July 11.

Video: Land Of Talk – “Some Are Lakes”

When I was able to premiere the new Lucky Soul single back in March, hopes were that the new album (tentatively titled Dark Times Ahead) would be out by June. As it’s now May and apparently October is looking more likely. Ack. I guess I’ll just have to keep playing “Whoa Billy” over and over and over again until then. Okay. Soundproof and Sweeping The Nation have interviews with the band.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa, Billy”

Also highly anticipated and targeted for an October release is Bonfires On The Heath, the new album from The Clientele. Alasdair Maclean talks to Pitchfork about how the next one might be their last. Noooooo.

You Ain’t No Picasso interviews Noah & The Whale.

Fever Ray, aka Karin Dreijer Andersson and the she-half of Swedish electro duo The Knife, was originally slated to play The Phoenix on May 25 but the Spring tour is now a Fall tour and instead, look for her at the Kool Haus on October 2.

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

Jason Lytle has released a new video from his debut Yours Truly, The Commuter, out May 19.

Video: Jason Lytle – “I Am Lost (and the Moment Cannot Last)”

Adelaide Now and Interview interview Chairlift.

Sigur Ros’ live film We Play Endlessly is streaming this week over at PitchforkTV. Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi Birgisson will release the self-titled debut from this side-project Riceboy Sleeps on July 20.

Video: Sigur Ros / We Play Endlessly
Video: Riceboy Sleeps – “All The Big Trees”
Video: Riceboy Sleeps – “Daniell In The Sea”

Spinner has an Interface session and The Boston Globe an interview with Cut Off Your Hands.

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Whoa Billy

Brand new single from Lucky Soul improves your quality of life

Photo via Ruffa LaneRuffa LaneHow’s your Sunday afternoon? Good? Enjoying the sun and warm weather? Well it just got a little bit better, because hot off the mixing desk, I have for you the new single from Lucky Soul.

The tune is called “Whoa Billy”, it’s going to be released as a single come May 4 and it is, in a word, divine. The ’60s throwback pop sound that made their debut The Great Unwanted one of my absolute favourite records of this century (not being hyperbolic either) is undiminished and is now accented with a bit of disco in the bridge… not enough to break out the glitter ball, but it does have an extra bit of swing in it. Need I come right out and say I love it? Didn’t think so.

The new album is targeted for a June release in the UK and at last update, had a working title of Dark Times Ahead – an ironic name if ever there was one, because with every listen it feels like Summer is just that much closer.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy”