Posts Tagged ‘My Brightest Diamond’

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Last Known Surroundings

Explosions In The Sky and Wye Oak at The Sound Academy in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure they didn’t intend to be away for so long – it wasn’t their fault that the 2009 edition of the Toronto Islands show for which they were the undercard was cancelled – but as of Friday night’s long-awaited show at the Sound Academy., it had been over four years since Explosions In The Sky last played Toronto and you could round up closer to five if you’re talking headlining shows. A long time for any active, touring band but an eternity for an act whose fanbase grew markedly in the years between 2007’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone and this year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care through key soundtrack placements and old fashioned word of mouth about how astonishing their cinematic, instrumental post-rock was.

Baltimore duo Wye Oak have been no such strangers hereabouts, their supporting slot marking their third show in Town this calendar year with one still to come. This was less a case of market oversaturation than simply keeping up with demand, though; specifically the demand of larger acts who wanted them to open up for them. And when the likes of The Decemberists, Explosions and The National ask you to come along on tour with them, you say yes. Since playing this same stage in February opening up for The Decemberists, Wye Oak had released their second album Civilian and toured it heavily, so even just eight months later there were noticeable differences in the band’s live show. The moodier Civilian must call for a leaner approach to things, as Jenn Wasner took fewer guitar excursions and Andy Stack seemed to be called on less to handle keyboard duties simultaneously with drums. It was as though the two were feeling more confident in their ability render the songs with just the guitars, drums and vocals, and when the keys were brought in, such as for some gut-punch bass, their contributions were extra-effective. In any case, it was mope-rock on a grand scale.

One of the most magical things about Explosions In The Sky, either live or on record, is how from the moment they begin to play you’re instantly transported to a world writ on 70mm film but left wide open. There is a universality to their music that allows it to be the soundtrack to the movie of each listener’s life, for them to write their own script and direct their own scenes, using the emotions and dynamics created by the band as cues. So I suspect that the people sitting, eyes closed, out of line of sight of the band were getting just as much out of the performance as the people jammed up front watching them actually play – or at least I’d like to think so; it’s possible they were just asleep.

It’s this intangible that allows them to transcend their formula and continue to connect and be remarkable. Their sound hasn’t really changed much since 2000’s How Strange, Innocence – they’re more adept at the push and pull of evoking emotional responses but any stylistic shifts over their career have been relative to the EITS aesthetic – they’ve never redefined, only refined. So even though Friday’s show pulled from their entire decade-plus repertoire, with a little extra emphasis on Take Care, it felt like a single, unified feature-length piece with gentle lulls and soaring crescendos in all the right places. One major difference from their last time through was for touring, they’d expanded to a five-piece with a full-time bassist which allowed for an even bigger sound with either a three guitar-attack or double-guitar, double-bass, all the sounding even more massive without losing any of the intricacies of their arrangements. As the final notes of “The Moon Is Down” rang out and the band bid farewell, hopefully without as long a wait between visits, I wanted to tell those gathered at the front pleading for an encore that the band doesn’t do encores, and if they wanted more they’d have to wait for the sequel.

The Toronto Star alos has a review of the show while and The Detroit News have interviews with Explosions.

Photos: Explosions In The Sky, Wye Oak @ The Sound Academy – October 7, 2011
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Trembling Hands”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Welcome, Ghosts”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Memorial”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “A Poor Man’s Memory”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Greet Death”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Look Into The Air”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Holy, Holy”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Civilian”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Take It In”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Warning”
Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Last Known Surroundings”
Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Be Comfortable, Creature”
Video: Wye Oak – “Holy, Holy”
Video: Wye Oak – “Fish”

Chicago post-rock instrumentalist Russian Circles will be at Lee’s Palace on November 12 in support of their new record Empros, due out October 25.

MP3: Russian Circles – “Mladek”

Nicole Atkins is giving away a free live EP entitled …Til Dawn over at her Bandcamp in exchange for an email address.

The Georgia Straight talks to Kristen Gundred – aka Dee Dee – of Dum Dum Girls. They’re at Lee’s Palace next Sunday night, October 16.

NPR is streaming the new My Brightest Diamond record All Things Will Unwind in advance of its release next week. There’s also a new video at Stereogum and some live video performances posted at Le Blogotheque.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Reaching Through To The Other Side”
Video: My Brightest Diamond – “Be Brave”
Stream: My Brightest Diamond / All Things Will Unwind

Beatroute talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

DIY interviews Wild Flag, in town to melt your faces at Lee’s Palace tonight.

NPR is streaming Days, the new album from Real Estate, out next week.

MP3: Real Estate – “It’s Real”
Stream: Real Estate / Days

Clash, The National Post, DIY, Drowned In Sound and The Los Angeles Times all have interviews with Ryan Adams about his new record Ashes & Fire and Exclaim has a list of RyRy trivia, but only LA Weekly manages to piss him off. Bravo. He plays The Winter Garden Theatre on December 10 and has released a live studio video and proper “if MTV still played videos” video from the new album.

Video: Ryan Adams – “Lucky Now”
Video: Ryan Adams – “Invisible Riverside”

The Vancouver Sun and The Republic interview Stephen Malkmus.

Blurt interviews Matthew Sweet.

DIY talks to Girls.

The New York Daily News chats with Mates Of State.

The Alternate Side has an interview and session with EMA.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of The Antlers’ show in New York last week.

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


My Morning Jacket at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI suspect my personal history with My Morning Jacket reads like many others’; discovered them circa At Dawn, was rocked by It Still Moves, had my mind blown by Z and was confounded by Evil Urges. I haven’t spent enough time with their latest Circuital yet to know how that chapter will play out, but while I bemoan the absence of even a token all-out rocker, it does feel as advertised – a return to their roots, even if they’ve brought many of the creative and musical souvenirs picked up along the trip so far with them.

Not that a final judgement on their latest effort was necessary to decide to catch their long-awaited return to Toronto – the Kentucky quintet were a fearsome live act since the first time I saw them way back in 2003 and in the years since they’ve graduated to major festival headliner status, become more creatively fearless and simply become one of the most interesting rock bands going, all without forgetting about the simple joy of bearing down and riffing the fuck out. My excuse for missing their last visit in June 2008 was seeing them a few months earlier at a Beautiful Noise taping, but all that really meant was that it was almost six years on from the last time I saw them play a proper Toronto show. Far too long.

Still, they were the ones apologizing a little ways into Monday night’s show at the Kool Haus, with frontman Jim James saying they’d wanted to come back sooner but simply hadn’t been able to. Maybe that’s why they made the rare move of dispensing with an opening act and treating us to an extended-length set, even by their standards. The show kicked off with “Victory Dance”, the lead song from Circuital, and James stalking the stage and waving his arms about like some carnival barker/madman and pretty much didn’t stop for the next two and a half hours. There’s a temptation to regard My Morning Jacket as a jam band – and for certain, they’re not averse to stretching their songs out to epic length – but that’s too reductive; the degree of physicality and theatricality that they put into their shows is as crucial to the experience as the many notes that they play. My Morning Jacket aren’t just there to play, they’re there to perform.

The epic-length show did an admirable job of representing not only the breadth of their catalog but all the stylistic facets of My Morning Jacket; no mean feat for a band that straddles so many genres and puts its own unique spin on each and every one. Barnburners like “Gideon” and “Anytime” showcased them at their hair-whipping, guitar-soloing finest while slowing down without going small on “Golden”, “Phone Went West” and “Movin’ Away”, the last of which incited not a few incidences of slow-dancing in the audience; be it slow jams or psychotic reactions, everyone was along for every step of the ride. Watching the show crest, ebb and crest again, I was struck by how even though some of their albums might be regarded as less than successful creative forays (Evil Urges I’m looking in your direction), when regarded in the context of entire the My Morning Jacket songbook, they make much more sense. The initial expeditions into uncharted terrain might be bumpy, but once that territory is charted they’ve that much more raw material to work with. You won’t find many bands capable of balancing such a clear musical identity with artistic restlessness.

These are all thoughts that crossed my mind over the course of the show, frequently punctuated with variants of, “holy shit these guys just keep going”. There was the equivalent of two of three sets from other bands in there, but when they loaded up for the monolithic “Run Thru”, you got the sense that they were moving into the final act and indeed, following a sprawling “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream”, it was up to “Mahgeetah” to close out the set in grand and extended fashion. The set, but not the show. The encore ran an extra thirty-plus minutes and if you wanted a six-song sampler of what makes My Morning Jacket so wonderfully weird and wonderful, those selections would have done the job. From the haunting “Wordless Chorus” through the psych-soul of “Holdin’ On To Black Metal”, into the ridicu-funk of “Highly Suspicious” and finally appropriately culminating with “One Big Holiday”, it was a long, strange, exhausting and amazing trip.

The National Post and BlogTO were also in attendance. eMusic has an interview with the band, NPR a World Cafe session and Spin is streaming a Muppets cover by the band. Yes they are.

Photos: My Morning Jacket @ The Kool Haus – July 11, 2011
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “You Wanna Freak Out”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Circuital”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Butch Cassidy” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “The Way That He Sings” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “It Beats 4 U” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Smokin’ From Shootin'” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Off The Record”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “The Dark”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Heartbreakin’ Man”
Video: My Morning Jacket – “Off The Record”

Pitchfork and The Vinyl District get Marissa Nadler to name off some of her favourite things. She plays Supermarket on July 19.

No Depression and The Huffington Post chat with Ari Picker, leader of Lost In The Trees. They play The Drake Underground on July 25.

Having just announced the September 13 release date for their new record Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Girls have put together a North American tour that stops in at the Mod Club on September 27, tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: Girls – “Laura”

Mates Of State have made the first MP3 from their new record Mountaintops available to download and cherish. The record is out September 13 and they’re at The Phoenix on September 28.

MP3: Mates Of State – “Maracas”

The Drums have given their second record a title of Portamento and a release date of September 12 in the UK; stream the first single at Soundcloud.

Evan Dando and whomever he’s calling The Lemonheads right now will give the people what they want and tour It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety this Fall. Presumably they will pad out the set with material from other records, given that their most popular album clocks in at like 33 minutes including, I believe, their cover of “Mrs Robinson”. I personally think they should flesh out the set with live-action recreations of the videos, but that’s just me. Blurt has details on the tour and full dates, including the October 17 stop at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame ABout Ray”

My Brightest Diamond will release a new album in All Things Will Unwind on October 18. Pitchfork has details on the record and a first MP3.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Reaching Through To The Other Side”

Exclaim reports that Craig Finn is working on both a solo record and a new Hold Steady record.

New Superchunk vid from Majesty Shredding!

Video: Superchunk – “Learned To Surf”

Crawdaddy chats with Nicole Atkins.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent show from Savoir Adore.

The Kills shows The Guardian how they wrote the song “Baby Says”.

Eric Bachmann is the man of the hour – Spin gets him, in the capacity of Archers Of Loaf frontman, to list off some new music he’s listening to; Icky Mettle gets a deluxe reissue on August 2. It was also announced that the new Crooked Fingers record Breaks In The Armor would be put out on October 11 by Merge (who’re also doing the Archers reissues) and a video trailer released to go with it. And finally, The AV Club gets Crooked Fingers to cover Gershwin’s “Summertime” for their AV Undercover series on a Chicago rooftop.

Pixies drummer David Lovering confesses to Rolling Stone that now that the band have performed Dolittle for everyone on the face of the earth, they may have to write some new material.

Spin is streaming both discs of R.E.M.’s remastered and reissued edition of Lifes Rich Pageant – possibly probably still my favourite of their records – while Rolling Stone reports the band has already begun working on the follow up to this year’s Collapse Into Now.

Stream: R.E.M. / Lifes Rich Pageant Deluxe Edition

Spinner talks to Bob Mould about his memoirs while Spin solicits a playlist.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Fun House

NXNE announces 2010 lineup; even skeptics admit it’s a little bit of alright

Photo By Mick RockMick RockFor those of us who’ve become accustomed to the all-encompassing scale, splendour and chaos of that grandaddy of all club-level music festivals – that’s SxSW, in case you were wondering – It can be kind of fun to pick on the Toronto versions CMW/CMF and NXNE for, essentially, not being South-by. It’s not a fair comparison by any means, but it’s inevitable. We’ve had to check those darts and break out some laurels in recent years, however, as both fests have made significant improvements in terms of organization, public relations and most importantly, bookings. NxNE, in particular, has been wise in making use of the public space at Yonge-Dundas Square to get right in the faces of Toronto for the middle of June and make it feel like much more of a major city event, instead of one of many things going on in the Big Smoke at a given time. They started out with modestly interesting day shows but as of a couple years ago, began booking some of the biggest names of the fest there for shows that were completely open to the public. That is how you build good will.

And with the initial announcement of artists coming to town from June 17 to 20, they’ve really kind of outdone themselves. The big coup is clearly Iggy & The Stooges, who will play for free at Yonge-Dundas Square on the evening of June 19, and the punk legends set the tone for many of the other names announced yesterday, many of whom come from the big, loud and sloppy side of the tracks. Obviously the actual schedule is still a ways away, but some digging has revealed at least some of the when and where of some of the acts playing the festival – just to give you a taste of some of the tough choices that the Toronto club-hopper will have to make (besides the obvious one of Iggy vs Pavement/Broken Social Scene). These are not complete and are subject to change, but do come from legitimate sources.

Thursday, June 17 2010
X, Mudhoney @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Warpaint, Free Energy, Elliott Brood @ The Horseshoe
The Besnard Lakes, Young Galaxy @ The Mod Club
HEALTH, Gold Panda, Indian Jewelry @ Sneaky Dee’s

Friday, June 18 2010
Sloan @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Man… Or Astro-Man?, Mudhoney @ The Horseshoe
AA Bondy, Simone Felice, Avi Buffalo @ The Great Hall
Japandroids, Wavves @ Lee’s Palace
Inlets @ TBA

Saturday, June 19 2010
Iggy & The Stooges, Wavves @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Quintron & Miss Pussycat, JEFF The Brotherhood @ The Garrison
Cold Cave, Avi Buffalo @ Lee’s Palace

Sunday, June 20 2010
De La Soul, Kid Sister, Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)

And playing free shows at Yonge-Dundas at some point during the week will be The Raveonettes and Surfer Blood, while confirmed but still without a date or venue are Les Savvy Fav, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Pack and The Strange Boys, amongst many, many others. And these are just the “bigger” names – by June, surely there’ll be a whole new batch of buzz bands to complain about being booked into undersized venues. Such is the joy of NXNE. But at least it will be warm.

Elsewhere and/or elsewhen. Rae Spoon has just released the thereisafire EP as a preview of his new record Love is A Hunter, due out in August. The EP is available to download for free and he will be at the Holy Oak in Toronto on Friday night, April 16, for a show.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Come On Forest Fire” (CPI Remix)
MP3: Rae Spoon – “There Is A Light”
ZIP: Rae Spoon / thereisafire

Her time as a Decemberist at an end, at least for now, Shara Worden is returning to work as My Brightest Diamond and will be at the El Mocambo on May 4, presumably to showcase material from the follow-up to 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Tickets for that show are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Inside A Boy”
MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “The Diamond”

Local heroes-in-waiting Zeus have set a date at the Mod Club for May 27. Tickets for that will be $12 in advance.

MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”

Blitzen Trapper have added a Toronto date to the end of their North American tour in support of their new record Destroyer Of The Void, due out June 8. Look for them on August 3 at the Opera House, accompanied by Avi Buffalo who – with their two NxNE shows – are going to be hanging around Toronto a lot this Summer.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Heaven & Earth”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “Remember Last Time”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?”

Dan Snaith of Caribou talks to Chart about new album Swim, out April 20. Caribou play the Phoenix on May 3.

MySpace Transmissions has a watchable/listenable/downloadable session with Broken Bells. They are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2.

A second MP3 from The National’s High Violet is now available. The record is out May 11. They play Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Afraid Of Everyone”

Filter gets to know She & Him; they have a sold-out show at The Phoenix on June 9.

BBC6 talks to Ryan Monroe of Band Of Horses about their new record Infinite Arms, from which they’re previewing another new track on their website. The record is in stores on May 18 and they play the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Mother Jones and Spinner talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, who’ve just released a new video. Yeah, it’s weird.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “Powerless”

Josh Ritter previews his new record So Runs The World Away via Daytrotter session. The record is out May 4.

Le Blogotheque is hosting a Take-Away Show with Megafaun. Q&As Liz Powell from Land Of Talk, who also stopped in at Explore Music to perform a Big Star cover.

Video: Land Of Talk – “Thirteen” (live at Exploremusic)

Woodpigeon have a video for the title track of their new Spirehouse EP, which also appeared on Die Stadt Muzikanten. You can download the song for free in exchange for your email at Bandcamp.

Video: Woodpigeon – “Spirehouse”

OMG Blog has premiered a new video from Gentleman Reg for his cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Wild Heart” from his Heavy Head EP.

Video: Gentleman Reg – “Wild Heart”

Forest City Lovers have christened album number three as Carriage. Look for it around July.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Here Are Many Wild Animals

A Camp sets release date for Colonia

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceJust yesterday morning I was listening to The Cardigans’ wonderful and underappreciated Long Gone Before Daylight, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard any news about the new record from A Camp, Nina Persson’s solo project, in a while. Cue NME, who yesterday reported that said record – Colonia – will see the light of day on February 2 in the UK and Europe. Not sure if there’s a North American schedule on the books yet, though.

Don’t know if the background music at their website is any indication of the direction of the record, but there’s also a photo gallery of the band in the studio to whet one’s appetite. I had heard that they wouldn’t necessarily be continuing the vibe that made the now eight-year old (!) A Camp debut so delicious – Mark Linkous isn’t driving things this time – and while that’s sort of a shame, the fact that there’s a new record coming from Persson, Cardies or otherwise, is good news any way you look at it. Core collaborators on the record are Niclas Frisk and Persson’s husband/Shudder To Think guitarist Nathan Larson and there are guest spots from James Iha and Joan Wasser, amongst others. And the album cover looks like this. That’s all I got right now. So until there’s more, here’s a live Neil Young cover I posted a while back and the vids from the first album.

MP3: A Camp – “On The Beach” (live)
Video: A Camp – “I Can Buy You”
Video: A Camp – “Song For The Leftovers”
MySpace: A Camp

State interviews Lykke Li, set for a date at the Phoenix on February 6.

Following up on last year’s Guilt By Association covers compilation featuring the likes of Superchunk, Luna and The Concretes covering songs they deemed to be guilty pleasures, Pitchfork has details on the sequel. Volume two doesn’t have quite the star power of the first and its mandate is shifted slightly to encompass Top 40 pop from the ’80s through today (guilty pleasure or not), and as such you’ve got the likes of Frightened Rabbit, My Brightest Diamond and Matt Pond PA amongst the coverers and Toto, Billy Joel and Katy Perry amongst the coverees. Though the CD isn’t out until February 17 of next year, you can stream it below and it’s already available digitally from the likes of eMusic. A third volume is also already in the works. Check out the My Brightest Diamond contribution to the new comp, as well as the Journey cover by Petra Haden that opened volume one.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Tainted Love”
MP3: Petra Haden – “Don’t Stop Believin'”
Stream: Guilt By Association 2
MySpace: Guilt By Association

Clash Q&As Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison and Pitchfork reveals that the band has contributed a track to a compilation that accompanies Australian zine The Lifted Brow. And since said zine is far from cheap ($40!), don’t feel bad about downloading said track, also from the ‘Fork.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Last Tango In Brooklyn”

Chart discusses Intimacy and mythology with Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke.

Drowned In Sound has posted part two of their interview with Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff.

Beach House have rolled out a new video. Just in time for Winter.

Video: Beach House – “Used To Be”

Prefix interviews The Rosebuds.

Blurt offers a short feature on Wolf Parade.

Creative Loafing talks to Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene. They’re playing two nights at the Sound Academy on November 27 and 28.

Also now doing a two-fer at the former Docks is the Jingle Bell Rock tour featuring Metric, Tokyo Police Club, The Dears and Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains. There’s now a December 12 show to go along with the originally announced December 13 date.

Caribou has revealed what he did with his $20,000 in Polaris Prize winnings – part went to finance the next album and the rest went to charity. Next year, I think the money needs to go to someone seriously decadent. Artistic merit be damned, that money should be spent on hookers and blow.

Matthew Sweet talks pottery with Blurt.