Posts Tagged ‘Miike Snow’

Monday, January 23rd, 2012


Review of Big Deal’s Lights Out

Photo via FacebookFacebookOn paper, London’s Big Deal doesn’t really bring a lot to the table. Two guitars – one acoustic, one electric – and two voices – one American male, one English female – and that’s about it. There’s not much in the way of virtuosity in the former and neither Kacey Underwood or Alice Costelloe’s vocals would stop anyone in their tracks either alone or in harmony. To hear it described, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to lean towards being rather conventional and/or pedestrian.

And yet their debut album Lights Out carries with it enough ineffable magic to demand you take notice, despite being rather determinedly low key. Some of that could be attributed to the duo’s backstory, assuming you know it (late-twenties Underwood taught the teenage Costelloe to play Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr on guitar and they ended up forming a band) and the questions about whether their relationship is strictly friends and bandmates or something more (a Guardian interview from last Summer rather firmly dismisses that speculation), but even without any of that colouring things, Lights Out is much more than the sum of its parts.

Both singers possess a certain intrinsic yearning and weariness to their voices that’s particularly effective for the lyrics that hint at (or even overtly reference if metaphorically) a bare, emotional intimacy. Combine that with the warm, wooly sonic blanket that’s created by Underwood’s lightly fuzzy electric guitar and Costelloe’s strummed acoustic – capable of switching to delicately interwoven guitar lines or rocking distorted leads for for punctuation – and out of these basic ingredients come a dozen tracks that don’t range too far apart but instead do their work by drawing you right in. Their band name might be a bit tongue-in-cheek but don’t underestimate for a minute how much Big Deal have to offer.

Lights Out is out on Tuesday. The Guardian declared them “New Band Of The Day” a couple of weeks ago.

MP3: Big Deal – “Chair”
Stream: Big Deal – “Homework”
Video: Big Deal – “Distant Neighbourhood”
Video: Big Deal – “Chair”
Video: Big Deal – “Homework”

NPR has a session and interview with Elbow recorded at WFUV, while Noise11 talks to bassist Pete Turner about their anthem for the 2012 London Olympics.

Loud & Quiet acts as an intermediary for Ghostpoet to interview The Big Pink.

Check out a session video by Beth Jeans Houghton, whose Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose comes out February 28.

Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny – “Sweet Tooth Bird” (Lightship Session)

The Yorkshire Evening Post and The Courier-Mail talk to Noel Gallagher.

NOW ran an interview with Los Campesinos! ahead of this weekend’s two-night stand at Lee’s Palace.

Music News interviews James Graham of The Twilight Sad. No One Can Ever Know is out February 7 and they’re at Lee’s Palace February 29.

The Alternate Side has posted a video session and interview with Loney Dear.

DIY and NPR mark this week’s release of The Lion’s Roar by running interviews with First Aid Kit. They play The Great Hall on April 4.

Swedish electro-pop outfit Miike Snow have made a May 1 date at The Sound Academy in support of their forthcoming album Happy To You, out March 27. The first single is available to stream over at Spin.

Stream: Miike Snow – “Paddling Out”

Interview gets to know Iceland’s next great pop hope, Of Monsters & Men.

Filter marks their ten-year anniversary by reaching back into their archives for a 2002 vintage interview with Bjork.

And while on the topic of things Icelandic, check out this mini-documentary film on Iceland Airwaves. I actually think I watched a version of this on the plane on the way back from last year’s festival, but they’ve since spliced in footage from 2011. And I may even see myself at 7:00… In any case, watch it and then make plans to go. You know you want to.

Video: Iceland Airwaves – a Rockumentary

Friday, November 6th, 2009


Ume at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen I got all effusive about seeing Austin’s Ume way back at SxSW in March, it wasn’t just because they their showcase blew me away – it did – but because I also figured that it would be my last chance to see and write about the trio until SxSW next year, so there was no point in being measured. After all, they were a small band with no label, no tour support and hailing from a long ways away from Toronto meant the odds of catching them up live again were remote. Sound logic, and also completely wrong. They found their way up here in June to play NXNE, turning in a fiery performance at Neutral that proved to everyone I’d harassed to attend that I wasn’t full of it and they were, indeed, the awesome.

And it must be true that good things come in threes because they were back – again – this past Tuesday night for a free show at the Horseshoe. This time, it was a combination of a modest Canadian tour appended onto a jaunt to CMJ in New York and the proper (read: physical) Canadian release of their Sunshower EP, which had heretofore only been available digitally. But the whys were unimportant – all that mattered was that Ume were back in town; rock would ensue.

For a review of the actual performance itself, I can really just refer you back to the other two I did, or offer the Coles/Cliffs notes: songs that balance sweet pop hooks with snarling heaviness, equal debts to punk, stoner, shoegaze and alt rock, insane guitar abuse/heroics and awesome hair-whipping from frontwoman Lauren Larsen and an audience awestruck and won over. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think there were at least a couple of new songs in the mix compared to the Neutral gig and considering that the unfamiliar stuff still sounded great; as much as I like the fact that they’re touring relentlessly hither and yon, I hope that once they’ve returned home and taken a breather, that they’re hitting the studio to work on a new album. Sunshower has done a fine job of sustaining me, but its only five songs – I need more.

There’s an excerpt of Ume’s cover feature in Austin’s Soundcheck magazine available online and the full magazine (and article) are downloadable in PDF form.

Photos: Ume @ The Horseshoe – November 3, 2009
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Ume – “Pendulum”
MP3: Ume – “Wake”
Video: Ume – “The Conductor”
MySpace: Ume is offering downloads of the famous early Liz Phair demos of the same name. Oh Liz, where did it all go wrong (that’s rhetorical – everyone knows exactly where it all went wrong).

MP3: Liz Phair – “Fuck And Run”
MP3: Liz Phair – “Polyester Bride”

The Guest Apartment has a video session with Headlights.

Crawdaddy profiles White Rabbits.

State interviews Yo La Tengo.

Beatroute talks to Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. Barlow will play the Phoenix on January 21 both solo and with Dino Jr.

Neko Case talks to The Seacoast.

Soundproof and Clash have features on The Dodos.

HeroHill solicits five funky stories from Oh No Forest Fires, who’ve got a show at the Horseshoe on December 12.

Jenn Grant, who plays the Glenn Gould Theatre on November 26, has released a new video from Echoes.

Video: Jenn Grant – “You’ll Go Far”

The Aquarian interviews Peter Moren of Peter Bjorn & John, who have a date at the Phoenix on November 11.

Swedish electro-soul outfit Miike Snow, who is a “they” and not a “he”, are at the Phoenix on April 3.

Video: Miike Snow – “Black & Blue”

The Music Slut asks eight questions of Mew. They have a date at the Mod Club on December 6.

The Raveonettes are giving away a free b-side from In And Out Of Control. The San Francisco Examiner and North Country Times also have interviews.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “The Chosen One”

Sigur Ros are streaming their Heima concert film at PitchforkTV for a week.

Video: Heima

Pitchfork reports that Mogwai’s live documentary film Burning will premiere at a Danish film festival next week and that an accompanying soundtrack album entitled Special Moves will follow.

New Jarvis Cocker video! Watch Jarv bring the title track and cover art of Further Complications to life.

Video: Jarvis Cocker – “Further Complications”

Radio Free Canuckistan has an interview with Jon Cook, the author of the Merge Records book Our Noise, which I look forward to picking up now that I’ve finally finished A Confederacy Of Dunces. A wonderful book which should not have taken me anywhere near the 6 months or so it took me to get through it; I just stopped reading anything, really, through the Summer. And now I have much to catch up on.