Posts Tagged ‘Matters’

Monday, April 11th, 2011


PS I Love You and Matters at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangKingston duo PS I Love You has done a pretty good job for themselves of building a buzz around both themselves and their debut album Meet Me At The Muster Station, with their guitar orgiastic-sound resonating strongly with those who lived through and miss the days when guitar orgies were regular occurrences. But they’ve also gotten help with the company they keep, in particular one John O’Reagan, aka Diamond Rings, whose debut single was a split 7″ with PS I Love You and with whom they were tourmates for no small portion of the Rings ascension, including much of this Spring on the way down to SXSW and back.

A few nights ago the billing order switched, however, with PS I Love You taking on headlining duties while Diamond Rings packed away the glitter and costumes and busted out his old band – which was also his new band – to support. The existence of Matters, risen from the ashes of The D’Urbervilles, was only announced a week earlier but the new outfit probably already garnered more and higher profile attention outside of the Toronto area than The D’Urbs ever did in their tenure, with Matters being framed as Diamond Rings’ rock band rather than Diamond Rings as the electro-glam offshoot of The D’Urbs.

In any case, it added an extra degree of narrative to their show at The Garrison on Thursday night, it being Matters’ second official show following their debut in Ottawa the night before. Though my own history with The D’Urbervilles is a long one, dating back almost half a decade, a good portion of the sizable audience were clearly unfamiliar with Matters’ former incarnation and were there to see one of the city’s big musical success stories of the past couple years in a completely different context. And as it would turn out, even those of us familiar with O’Reagan in rock mode were treated to something decidedly new. The D’Urbervilles were always a good to very good post-punk/new wave kind of band, solid live and their 2008 debut We Are The Hunters certainly bursting with potential if not completely delivering on it. And while the name change certainly seemed to be cosmetic – the personnel remained the same and many unreleased songs carried over – there was no denying that Matters came with a new lease on life and manifesto that consisted of kicking some serious ass. Fronted by an O’Reagan that hadn’t been seen in these parts in some time; sporting t-shirt, jeans and ball cap and not a bit of make-up, he led his bandmates through a punishing set of rock that seemed to decide that the “post-” part of their previous incarnation’s “post-punk” descriptors were no longer necessary and released the tension that the D’Urbs specialized in in big, loud and sloppy – as in not caring who got hit, not in lack of tightness – measures. In line with that transformation was O’Reagan as a frontman; though his towering, somewhat gangly presence always made him the focal point of D’Urbs shows, the charisma and magnetism honed through the Diamond Rings experience was just as present without the costuming. Their debut album is in the can and should be out this year; it’ll be a non-issue that Matters isn’t especially Google-able – you won’t have to search to hear about them.

Not to suggest there was any sort of competitiveness between Matters and PS I Love You, but the headliners had some work to do if they were going to be what people were talking about the next morning. I had seen and enjoyed them back in September, they weren’t exactly the sorts of performers who’d leave jaws on the floor with their showmanship. Frontman Paul Saulnier occupies himself with singing/yelping, Telecaster shredding and Moog bass pedal stomping which drummer Benjamin Nelson lays down a deceptively complex backbeat – neither is much for on-stage shenanigans but verily, do they make a massively loud sound. But just that can still get you a long way and the show, which ran through most or even all of their album, was far more engaging than you might well have expected it to be. It also affirmed that I’m much more a fan of Saulnier’s vocals live, when they’re buried unders many decibels of guitars, as opposed to on record where they’re audible – but even that I’m coming around on, finding Muster Station more listenable now than when it first came out last Fall.

Any question of which act would end up stealing the show was put to rest with PS’ encore, however, as O’Reagan came out to join them for “Leftovers”, the single released back in February which featured guest vocals from Diamond Ring. But in keeping with the apparent theme of the evening, it was played with the rock turned up to 100 and though the ensuing din basically left O’Reagan inaudible, his dance moves and drumstick ninjutsu was basically a physical manifestation of the aural energy. Who, of Matters and PS I Love You, turned in the best performance of the evening? Both of them.

The Globe & Mail and The Wig have features on PS I Love You while The National Post and Exclaim were also at the show and have thoughts.

Photos: PS I Love You, Matters @ The Garrison – April 7, 2011
MP3: PS I Love You (with 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: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
Video: PS I Love You – “Butterflies & Boners”
Video: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
Video: Matters – “Get In Or Get Out”

The National Post, Spinner, NOW and Chart have features on Timber Timbre.

Sloan are offering video interview/annotations of all the songs on their forthcoming record The Double Cross, rolling out one every few days leading up the record’s May 10 release. I daresay this is their best record in some time – check the previews out on their YouTube channel.

Exclaim has details on the next release in Neil Young’s Archives series; A Treasure is a live document dating back to the country-styled Old Ways-era period of his tumultuous ’80s output and features recordings from various shows backed by the International Harvesters. It will be out on vinyl May 24 and on CD June 14.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips talks to Billboard and Spinner about the joys of having the creative freedom to do whatever the hell they want, which they’re taking full advantage of this year. Aside from the wacky-ass releases, they’re working on a Yoshimi musical stage production. Of course they are.

This interview from last month with Guided By Voices’ Bob Pollard at The Buddha Den certainly seems to hint that GBV will be coming back to Toronto for the first time in pretty much forever in June, but that NXNE rumour was pretty thoroughly debunked by one who’d know so… yeah. But at least there’s a five-part interview to pass the time and if you really need a GBV fix, they’re at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival that same weekend playing McCarren Park (which is another reason why I thought they might be making the trip up here).

Pixies meet the press in advance of their Canadian Doolittle tour; Joey Santiago talks to JAM, Metro and The Chronicle Herald score some time with Dave Lovering and The Chronicle Herald also gets Kim Deal on the phone. They’ve got two nights at Massey Hall next week, April 18 and 19.

Spinner chats with J Mascis for unplugging to go solo.

The Huffington Post and The Boston Globe have interviews with the members of Buffalo Tom.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

"Magic Arrow"

The D’Urbervilles cover Timber Timbre

image via FIBFriends In BellwoodsGetting kind of hyper-local for this week’s selection. About a week ago, Toronto post-punk stalwarts The D’Urbervilles appeared ready to be calling it a day, putting a cryptic “The D’Urbs are dead” message on their website along with a countdown clock. Many were disappointed but not surprised if this was indeed the case, given frontman John O’Reagan’s successes with electro-pop side-project Diamond Rings. But as it turned out, that was just marking time until the band emerged from their chrysalis, butterfly-style, in their new guise as Matters – an outfit with the same members, same tense and hooky musical stylings and presumably same great taste. Just now with an 80% less Google-able name.

So to mark the occasion, here is what I believe is was The D’Urbs’ last officially-released recording, a Timber Timbre cover that came out on the Friends In Bellwoods 2 charity compilation circa Summer 2009. In it, they take their labelmates’ dark and swampy blues and completely transform it, digging through the gloom to detonate an anxious and glammy energy bomb into its ghostly atmosphere. If it had appeared on their 2008 debut We Are The Hunters, it’d have been a highlight.

Matters officially release their debut single this coming Thursday at The Garrison when they open up for PS I Love You. Timber Timbre release their new record Creep On Creepin’ On this Tuesday and follow up with a sold-out show at Trinity-St. Paul’s on Friday night, April 8. Toro has an interview with frontman Taylor Kirk. There don’t appear to be immediate plans for a Friends In Bellwoods volume three, but donations to the Daily Bread Food Bank, for which the compilations were raising funds, is always a good idea.

MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Magic Arrow”
Video: The D’Urbervilles – “Magic Arrow” (live in Ottawa)
Stream: Timber Timbre – “Magic Arrow”

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Too Old To Die Young

Timber Timbre are Creeps, possibly weirdos; wonder what the hell they’re doing here

Photo via Canvas MediaCanvas MediaThere’s records that you hear and, regardless of how you personally feel about them, you know that they will be a big thing, that their contents will resonate with the masses and will prove to be game-changers for the artist who created it. Timber Timbre’s 2009 self-titled album was not one of these, or at least I didn’t hear it. Building swampy textures and tempos around Taylor Kirk’s low, drawling Randy Newman-ish vocals, it didn’t seem the sort of record with a lot of crossover appeal and yet it did find an audience beyond lo-fi folk/blues enthusiasts and would be one of the most highly-regarded Torontonian and even Canadian releases of the year. What can I say, I’m wrong a lot. I’m okay with that.

And so I’m not at all surprised that people are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of Timber Timbre’s new record, the marvelously-titled Creep On Creepin’ On, which is out on April 5. It keeps much of the dark, out-of-time atmospherics of its predecessor, but with Kirk’s live band Simon Trottier and Mika Posen now full-fledged members, offers a more dynamic sound with some rather rich-sounding instrumental passages. I already like it more than Timber Timbre, so everyone else is probably going to love it.

Exclaim thinks enough of it to put the band on the cover of their new issue with accompanying feature story. The record is streaming in whole at Spinner and they’ve just released a video from it as well. Months of touring begin in earnest this weekend and include a sold-out hometown show at Trinity-St. Paul’s next Friday night, April 8.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Woman”
Stream: Timber Timbre / Creep On Creeping On

PS I Love You have released a new video from Meet Me At The Muster Station and support for their April 7 show at The Garrison has been revealed as Matters. Whom you may have known better as The D’Urbervilles. Which you may know as John O’Reagan’s – aka Diamond Rings – rock band. Exclaim has some info on the change in identity, both sides of their new single – which is out next week and already has a video – is streaming at Bandcamp and NOW has a chat with the director of the last Diamond Rings video.

Video: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
Video: Matters – “Get In Or Get Out”
Video: Diamond Rings – “It’s Not My Party”

Creative Loafing and Ca Va Cool check in with The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will be at The Phoenix on April 29.

Spinner and talk to Tokyo Police Club.

A new MP3 from Sloan’s forthcoming The Double Cross is up for grabs. The record is out May 10.

MP3: Sloan – “Unkind”

Matablog announced that the lead-up to the June 7 release of Fucked Up’s new record David Comes To Life would consist of four digital singles, the first of which is already up for grabs. Exclaim also reports that the band will put out a compilation of fake ’70s-era punk bands as part of Record Store Day on April 16, and are offering a track from that to wrap your head around.

MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”

Apparently coming out of SxSW as one of the buzz bands, Austra have scheduled a hometown show at Lee’s Palace for May 19 to go with the May 17 release of Feel It Break. The Guardian declared them “New band of the day” last week.

MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”

The Meligrove Band have released a new video from last year’s Shimmering Lights.

Video: The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”

The National Post chats with Basia Bulat.

Stars have released a new video from last year’s The 5 Ghosts, and congratulations to Amy Millan and Evan Cranley on the birth of their daughter last week.

Video: Stars – “Changes”

PopMatters talks to Natalia Yanchak of The Dears while The Village Voice chats with Murray Lightburn.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s show in Brooklyn in mid-March. Their sold-out three-night, four-show stand at Lee’s Palace runs April 22 to 24.

Exclaim talks to Little Scream, whose debut The Golden Record arrives April 12. She opens for Antlers at The Mod Club on June 14.

Exclaim has details on Miracle Fortress’ long-awaited second album Was I The Wave?, due out April 26 and previewed impressively (though in the dark) back Canadian Musicfest. A track from the record is available in exchange for your email address.

Ottawa post-pop instrumentalists My Dad Vs. Yours have released a video from their gorgeous new record Little Symphonies. The Link has an interview with guitarist Jose Palacios.

Video: My Dad Vs Yours – “Happy Wanderer / Carry The Weight”

The Take talks with Juno award winner Shad, who by way of thanks is giving away a new track recorded with Skratch Bastid. There’s also a video interview with Shad from the Junos by the Province of Ontario. Our tax dollars at work!

MP3: Shad & Skratch Bastid – “Give You All I Can”
Video: Shad & Skratch Bastid – “Give You All I Can”

eye, The Chicago Tribune, The Riverfront Times and Austinist talk to Dan Bejar of Destroyer, who are playing a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tonight.