Posts Tagged ‘Mystery Jets’

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

If You Leave

Daughter and Wilsen at The Great Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThings move quickly these days; this I know and understand, and yet it still manages to astound me sometimes. The ascent of London’s Daughter, for example. It wasn’t much over a year ago that the trio was still largely unknown, only getting on my radar by old-fashioned word of mouth and becoming one of my favourite discoveries of SXSW 2012. When they came around to make their Toronto debut last October – still a ways off from releasing their debut album or making any real promotional push – they still managed to sell out The Drake, albeit with the help of a fairly buzzy supporting bill. Still, that was a pretty good tip off that by the time the band returned on Tuesday evening, just a week after the domestic release of If You Leave, the only surprise would be not that they had sold out the much larger Great Hall, but that they hadn’t moved the show to even bigger environs.

Benefitting from the packed house were Wilsen, a band of Americans fronted by Englishwoman Tamsin Wilson who were really as good of a RIYL pairing for Daughter as you could hope to find. Their dark, atmospheric folk music came from a similar place as the headliners, but distinguished themselves with a tonally lighter touch, not to mention Wilson’s whistling skills and guitarist Johnny Simon Jr’s penchant for playing his guitar with coffee cans, tobacco tins, whatever. Unexpected and quite effective was a stately cover of Grimes’ “Oblivion”, and by the close of their 40-minute set, many new fans were made and a more than a few copies of last year’s mini-album Sirens were sold.

I don’t think I’m the only one who, to some degree, conflates a band’s sound with their appearance. In Daughter’s case, it’s hard not to compare their sound to frontwoman Elena Tonra’s appearance: beautiful, elegant, and demure, yet with an unquestionable strength and steeliness just under the surface. They’re traits evident throughout If You Leave, which bolsters Tonra’s gorgeous vocals and emotionally raw songwriting with Igor Haefeli’s billowing guitarwork and Remi Aguilella’s subtly powerful percussion to become something expansive, yet intimate. It’s an aesthetic that fits very well with that of their European label 4AD, and that’s the context in which I tend to think of them. In North America, however, they’re on Glassnote and if you’ve no idea what difference that makes, well I didn’t give it a second thought either, until Tuesday night.

Glassnote may not have the history and personality of 4AD, but they do know how to reach the Mumford & Sons demographic. And when, midway through the set during “Landfill”, much of the room loudly sang along with “I want you so much/but I hate your guts”, did I realize that this was a Mumford audience – surprisingly young, definitely excitable, and preferring to experience the music as a boisterous community. Tonra’s songs might be delivered like a private and intensely personal conversation, but they were being shouted and cheered back. It wasn’t necessarily off-putting – okay a little – but it certainly recontextualized my experience of the songs; rather than enveloping me completely, they now needed to act as a sort of barrier to shut out the background noise.

Tonra herself may have seemed taken aback by the intensity of their reception – her “thank you”s were almost inaudible squeaks – but seemingly happily so. Opening with Leave closer “Shallows”, Daughter sounded as brilliant as ever, mixing material from the album with selections from the Wild Youth and His Young Heart EPs. The band was bolstered by a utility player on bass, guitar, and keys, but even with those extra hands, the show had no shortage of instrument swapping; their sound might be skeletal, but it’s arranged precisely and impeccably so.

Only during “Winter” were the band really knocked off their game, as The Great Hall’s lighting rig seemed to pick up a poltergeist, going from black to blinding and causing Tonra to crack up several times (Haefeli was visibly less amused), though to their credit they finished the song, even though ditching would have been totally understandable, and both stage lights and band pulled it back together to wrap up the set with a crashing, cathartic “Home”. A satisfying show, but one that left me wondering if I’d choose to see them again next time in an inevitably bigger room, or if staying home, alone, with the curtains drawn and the record turned up might not be more the Daughter experience I’d prefer.

Photos: Daughter, Wilsen @ The Great Hall – May 7, 2013
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
Video: Daughter – “Still”
Stream: Wilsen – “Dusk”
Stream: Wilsen – “Anahita”

Soundcheck WNYC is streaming a radio session with Little Boots, while Consequence Of Sound has an interview.

Sweden’s Club 8 are streaming another new song from their forthcoming album Above The City, out May 21.

Stream: Club 8 – “I’m Not Gonna Grow Old”

Cheers to Frightened Rabbit for keeping alive the tradition of releasing their singles as proper EPs with b-sides and bonus tracks and the like. Case in point – the next single from Pedestrian Verse will be Late March, Death March, and DIY has details on the EP for it that’ll be out on June 4.

The Guardian asks Romy from The xx about her experiences playing festivals; they play a sorta-fest at Downsview Park on June 6 with Grizzly Bear.

Stereogum has premiered a new track from Swedish electro act Kate Boy, who are making their Toronto debut at Wrongbar on June 9.

Stream: Kate Boy – “The Way We Are”

Interview has a feature on Palma Violets, who were just here last week but are back August 3 as part of the Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.

The Alternate Side has an interview and session with Phoenix, who are headlining the aforementioned Grove Fest on August 3.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, who’ve premiered their new video from Push The Sky Away – recorded at their Los Angeles concert this past March – at Rolling Stone.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Mermaids”

David Bowie has released the video for the title track of his latest The Next Day, and proves not only that he can still cause plenty of controversy, but that he’s got much cooler friends than pretty much everyone else.

Video: David Bowie – “The Next Day”

Ólafur Arnalds has a new video from For Now I Am Winter, and NPR is streaming a live concert by Arnalds wherein he and an orchestra performed the whole of the new album live in New York earlier this Spring.

Video: Ólafur Arnalds – “Only The Winds”

Stereogum has premiered the new video from The Mary Onettes’ latest Hit The Waves.

Video: The Mary Onettes – “Don’t Forget (To Forget About Me)”

A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with Mystery Jets.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Where You Come In

Review of Shout Out Louds’ Optica and giveaway

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusI get why people have such affection for Shout Out Louds’ 2005 debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff; the way it tapped into the scrappy, garage-rock sound in vogue at the time but rather than the insouciant attitude that typically came with the aesthetic, it offered a wide-eyed and sincere charm and stood apart from the pack for it. That said, it was only with 2007’s Our Ill Wills, which polished up their pop and expanded it to widescreen dimensions, that I was personally won over by the band. Happily for me and less so for those on Team Howl, it’s been this template that has informed each Shout Out Louds record ever since, this year’s Optica being no exception.

They did tweak their approach a bit with 2010’s Work tweaked the formula by going for a more organic, live-off-the-floor sound, but while Optica lets things drift back to the more produced side of things a bit, those holding out hope that the band might let things get raucous again should probably just go and find themselves a new, charmingly rough Scandi-pop band to patronize. Shout Out Louds have got this elegant pop thing down pat – “Blue Ice” is tastefully orchestrated and “Walking In Your Footsteps” may offer the best flute hook of the year – and even when they get relatively dark or heavy, they do it more through tone and atmosphere than volume; “14th Of July” is the riffingest number on the record and it really just jangles. Mostly, though, Optica adopts a pleasant midtempo pace and relies on its immaculate popcraft and melodicism to win the listener over.

Shout Out Louds’ North American tour kicks off in early May and will stop in at The Opera House in Toronto on May 14. Tickets for the show are $18.50 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to their show and as a bonus, courtesy of Big Hassle and Merge, a copy of the band’s “Blue Ice” 7″ – no, not the actual ice one, don’t be ridiculous. To enter, email me at with “I want to Shout Out Loud” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and if you would also like the 7″, say so and include your mailing address. Have all that to me by midnight, May 6.

Rolling Stone just premiered the newest video from Optica.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Spin and The San Francisco Examiner check in with Palma Violets, coming to town on May 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace and again on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.

Los Campesinos! have announced details of and a track from their first-ever live album, entitled A Good Night For A Fistfight, recorded last December and to be released digitally May 5. DIY has specifics and some words from Gareth Campesinos! about the recording.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” (live at Islington Assembly Hall)

Noah & The Whale are streaming the title track from their forthcoming album Heart Of Nowhere, due out May 6, and it guest stars the wonderful Anna Calvi. The Yorkshire Evening Post and Gigwise have interviews with frontman Charlie Fink.

Stream: Noah & The Whale – “Heart Of Nowhere”

7 Digital interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her second album Nocturnes, slated for a May 7 release.

MTV Hive gets to know Charli XCX; she opens for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

The 405 interviews Elliphant, who is streaming a new song and making her local debut on June 7 supporting Twin Shadow at The Phoenix.

Stream: Elliphant – “Make A New Breed”

Interview chats with Jose Gonzalez of Junip, whose new self-titled album came out this week. They play The Great Hall on June 10.

While the May 13 UK release of Primal Scream’s new long-player More Light was long-confirmed, there’s only just come word that there’ll be a domestic release in North America, coming June 18. Details on that at Spin.

Under The Radar has an interview with Pet Shop Boys, whose new album Electric comes out in June.

Spin, eMusic, The 405, The Guardian, MTV, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Exclaim all have feature interviews with Phoenix with Exclaim offering a sidebar piece on the band, Spin the fruits of their photo shoot, and NPR a KCRW video session. Phoenix headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

Filter hangs out with the girls of Icona Pop. You can do the same at The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

MTV Hive takes fashion tips from Hot Chip, also playing The Grove Fest on August 3.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming one of the tracks that appeared on their Record Store Day 7″ release.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Animal X”

Mystery Jets have made their Record Store Day release, the self-explanatory Live At The Royal Festival Hall, available to stream for those who missed out on getting a copy on Saturday or who never even had the opportunity what with it only being available in the UK and all.

Stream: Mystery Jets / Live At The Royal Festival Hall

Kate Nash has released a new video for the a-side from her Record Store Day 7″, and later this week she’ll roll out the next clip from Girl Talk. But not yet.

Video: Kate Nash – “Free My Pussy”

Clash gets into the heads of British Sea Power.

The Big Takeover has an interview with Veronica Falls.

PopMatters and Black Book interview Ólafur Arnalds.

Stereogum points out a stream of a new Jens Lekman song, written for an Esopus magazine compilation and about a fan who mailed him a dead bird.

Stream: Jens Lekman – “Regarding A Package”

Rolling Stone sits down with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich to talk about Atoms For Peace and the state of dance music, and somehow the conversation drifts to the topic of Radiohead.

Rolling Stone got a moment of Jason Pierce’s time at Coachella to talk about things of a Spiritualized nature.

Friday, July 20th, 2012

You Know

Micachu & The Shapes will Never stream their new album right now

Photo via Miss ManagementMiss ManagementWith her debut album Jewellery, Surrey’s Mica Levi – professionally known as Micachu – was responsible for one of 2009’s most unique albums – a clattering, noisy, collection of songs that sounded like they were created by a rummage shop collapsing on itself but was still unquestionably pop – albeit on the fringes – and compelling. Three years later, Levi has returned with a follow-up in Never, due July 24, and the whole thing is currently available to stream courtesy of The Guardian.

Initial impressions are that nothing’s happened in the past three years to temper Levi’s sense of sonic adventure – Never is maybe a bit sleeker rhythmically, but it’s no less wonderfully odd than its predecessor. And the fact that it’s credited to Micachu & The Shapes is no cosmetic detail; whereas only half of Jewellery was recorded with the assistance of her band, Marc Withasee and Raisa Khan’s contributions are much more at the fore on Never, both in vocal contributions and the fact that you can’t make nearly this kind of racket with just one pair of hands.

It took me a while to figure out if I liked Jewellery, and my setting on “yea” was certainly helped out by their live show. With Never, I’m going to just sit back and enjoy. I’ll still scratch my head at it, but I’ll enjoy doing it.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “OK”
Stream: Micachu & The Shapes / Never

Florence Welch talks to Rolling Stone about the vocal injury that sidelined Florence & The Machine for a few dates earlier this month; she should be back in action in time for her August 2 show at The Molson Amphitheatre.

Pitchfork reports that Ride’s back catalog, which has already seen Nowhere get remastered and reissued, will have the rest of their catalog including their best-of compilation reissued on August 20. To mark the occasion, they’ve made a remix of the lead track from Carnival Of Light remixed by Portishead available to download, and while I usually disdain the remix… it’s Ride and Portishead. The complete video of the 1992 Brixton Academy show that will come with the deluxe Going Blank Again is also available to watch.

MP3: Ride – “Moonlight Medicine” (Ride On The Wire Mix)
Video: Ride @ Brixton Academy, London – 27th March 1992

Cate Le Bon has made a track from her new record Cyrk II available to download. It’s out August 21 and she’s at The Rivoli on September 18.

MP3: Cate Le Bon – “What Is Worse”

Rolling Stone talks to Kele Okereke of Bloc Party about the process of recording the band’s new record Four, due out August 21. They play the Danforth Music Hall on September 10.

Elbow might not have any new music out this year besides whatever they’re composing for the Olympics, but they’ll still have a new album out – on August 27, they’ll release Dead In The Boot, a collection of b-sides and rarities collected from across the entirety of their career. Details on the release are available at Exclaim.

Having just announced that their new album Beacon will be out September 4, Two Door Cinema Club are making the first single available to download for free for 24 hours – grab it at their website, stream it below, and see them at The Sound Academy on October 5.

Stream: Two Door Cinema Club – “Sleep Alone”

Jens Lekman talks to Stereogum about his new record I Know What Love Isn’t and stops in at The Guardian where he explains how he wrote the song and plays it for a video session. Lekman is at The Phoenix on October 4.

Artrocker cahts with The Raveonettes. Their new one Observator is out September 11 and they play The Phoenix on October 2.

eMusic talks to Sweden’s Holograms, in town at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on September 11.

The Vaccines have released a new video from their second album, which I’ve been calling No Hope For The Vaccines and saying will be out September 3, but will actually be called Come Of Age and be out on October 2, at least in North America.

Video: The Vaccines – “Teenage Icon”

NPR is streaming the whole of Hot Chip’s show at Prospect Park in Brooklyn from earlier this week.

DIY catches a quick word with Mystery Jets.

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange stops in at KCRW for a session, available to stream at NPR.

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

An Argument With Myself

Jens Lekman to tour, finally acknowledge he’s got more than a couple hundred fans

Photo By Kristin Lidell Kristin LidellIt may sound a bit heretical at first but there’ve been genuine problems with Jens Lekman’s visits to Toronto. These aren’t to do with the performances themselves, which have more than ably showcased the droll with and songcraft that have earned the Swedish troubadour legions of fans worldwide, or even a comment on the fact that they’ve been so few and far between, with just three shows in the past seven years.

No, the real problem is that despite having no shortage of those aforementioned legions of fans located in Hogtown, he’s always chosen to play rooms that can’t possibly hold them all and while the lucky ones who get tickets are treated to a lovely and intimate evening, many more are left out in the cold (perhaps literally, given his penchant for playing encores out on the street). His March 2005 Wavelength show packed Sneaky Dee’s and when he returned as promised for a show the following Summer, it was at the even-smaller Music Gallery. His return in April 2008 in support of Night Falls On Kortedala was originally supposed to be two nights at the Music Gallery but was condensed into a single night at The Great Hall; better, but still not nearly capable of meeting demand – especially with no less than Owen Pallett opening up.

All of which is to say that even though I like the cozy shows as much as anyone, it’s a relief that the Fall tour that he’s just announced to coincide with the September 4 release of his new record I Know What Love Isn’t will be at The Phoenix on October 4. Yeah, it’s a room bigger than the other three he’s played here combined and probably no one’s favourite venue in the city but at least you’ll probably be able to get a ticket.

Though don’t take that for granted. Supporting him on this tour is an artist with no small amount of cachet herself, country(wo)man and new labelmate Victoria Bergsmann, aka Taken By Trees, who will have her own new record in Other Worlds to promote. She was last here in February 2010 so you know her own not-inconsiderable fanbase will be itching to get a spot.

All of which is to say when the $20 tickets go on sale this morning, don’t dilly-dally. But if you take a few minutes to watch the first video from Love – premiered at Spin and featuring Jens fully embracing his inevitable baldness to say nothing of some “Careless Whisper”-level sax stylings – that’s probably okay.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “An Argument With Myself”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It won’t end well if you don’t hurry to get tickets for Bloc Party’s own return to town on September 10 at The Music Hall. Their own hiatus – which ends with the release of Four on August 21 – hasn’t been so long that their fanbase has diminished much if at all and they were playing much bigger rooms than this before. Tickets are $25 and $35, on sale tomorrow at 10AM.

MP3: Bloc Party – “Banquet”

Australian electronic duo The Presets are also back with a new record entitled Pacifica on September 14 and it comes with its own promotional website – – and a North American tour that hits the Music Hall on October 23.

Video: The Presets – “If I Know You”

Sigur Rós takes Filter through the making of Valtari, track-by-track, video-style. They’re at Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone has got a stream of a new song from The Raveonettes’ forthcoming album Observator. It’s out on September 11 and they’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “Observations”

Efterklang have assigned a September 25 release date to their new record Piramida; Exclaim has details and there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Efterklang / Piramida

Spin talks to Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop.

The Hives play a studio session for AOL Music and talk turkey with Spin.

Daytrotter sessions up with Mystery Jets.

Laura Marling chats with The Owl and mentions that album number four is written, currently being recorded, and may well be released before the end of the world year.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe

Lætitia Sadier declares Silencio

Photo By David ThayerDavid ThayerSome artists might take the end of an almost 20-year musical project as an opportunity to withdraw from the public eye and regroup for a bit, but the Lætitia Sadier isn’t like most artists. After the singular Stereolab went on indefinite and probably permanent hiatus in 2009, instead of turning her focus to her long-running side-project Monade, Sadier also put an end to that identity and instead set to work on The Trip, her first true solo record released under her own name in the Fall of 2010.

And having established herself outside of either of her former bands, she’s not slowing down a bit. Her second solo record Silencio has been targeted for a July 24 release and she’ll be accompanying it with a full North American tour, which includes a September 18 stop at the Drake Underground in Toronto, a rare opportunity to see her in such an intimate setting – the Drake is a fraction of the size of the rooms that Stereolab used to play.

A couple of preview tracks from the new record are available to download; they’re decidedly less synth-infused and arguably more conventional than anything she did with Stereolab, but the voice in unmistakeable.

MP3: Lætitia Sadier – “Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe”
MP3: Lætitia Sadier – “There Is A Price To Pay For Freedom (And It Isn’t Security)”

Natasha Khan has released details of the third Bat For Lashes record – it will be entitled The Haunted Man and be out on October 15. Three new songs were captured live and committed to the internet last night; The 405 has the decent-sounding clips.

The buzz behind British electro-pop artist Charli XCX was only barely started to pick up steam in North America when I saw her at SXSW in March, but it seems to have picked up considerably more momentum since then. Her debut album is a ways off – it’s looking like October in the UK but not until Spring in North America – but she’s just put out a new mixtape in Heartbreaks & Earthquakes and is getting added to a number of Summer festival bills, including the Justice/M83-headlined Hard Fest at Fort York in Toronto on August 4. So if you were going or thinking about going, there’s a little more on the bill to entice you. There’s interviews with Charli XCX at eMusic and Interview.

MP3: Charli XCX – “I’ll Never Know”
MP3: Charli XCX – “Valentine”
MP3: Charli XCX – “Nuclear Seasons”
Mixtape: Charli XCX / Heartbreaks & Earthquakes

Mystery Jets have released a new video from their latest effort Radlands. They’re at The Sound Academy on June 19 supporting Keane.

Video: Mystery Jets – “Greatest Hits”

Drowned In Sound has a two-part interview with Blood Red Shoes, in town at The Drake on September 26.

DIY and Spin interview Orlando Higginbottom, the guy behind Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, who’ve just announced a date at the Hoxton August 10.

Video: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – “America Dream Part II”

Gorilla Vs Bear has details on the new Taken By Trees album; it’s called Other Worlds and will be out October 2. Yes, there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Taken By Trees / Other Worlds

Interview talks to Anna Ternheim about her new record The Night Visitor. She’s just debuted a new video from it at IFC

Video: Anna Ternheim – “The Fingerpicking Party”

The Raveonettes give Spin the goods on their next record, entitled Observator and due out on September 11. They play The Phoenix on October 2. gets some commentary on the video for “Little Talks” from Of Monsters & Men. The band also plays a Field Recordings video session at Sasquatch for NPR.

And if you need a little more Icelandic flavour – don’t we all? – there’s a new Made In Iceland compilation streaming over at Iceland Music Export.