Posts Tagged ‘Nathaniel Rateliff’

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Fall Hard

Shout Out Louds and Freelance Whales at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI detected a sense of general disappointment, critically speaking, around Shout Out Louds’ latest record Work, mostly centered around the fact that it didn’t represent as big a leap from 2007’s Our Ill Wills as that record did from their debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff. And if we allow that there’s a way to quantify such things, it’s probably true – Work isn’t as sonically lush as its predecessor and its songs are more efficient, and it generally splits the difference between the grand Ills Wills and the scrappy Howl Howl. But what those who criticize Work on the basis that it’s not another watershed moment in their career – because those typically immediately follow previous watershed moments – seem to miss out on is the much more important fact that it, like the rest of Shout Out Louds’ oeuvre, is laden with glorious jangly and melodic indie-pop that’s as suited to dancing as rocking.

And though some critics might not get that, the fans do, and their first Toronto show in two and a half years on Saturday night at the Mod Club was sold out well in advance – even the lone scalper out front only had one ducat to offer. About 100 or so of the 500-plus who’d eventually be in attendance showed up early enough to see New York’s Freelance Whales do their thing, which was play clever and ultra twee pop from their debut album Weathervanes. I’d seen them do said thing back at SxSW but that was a break-of-day set where I wouldn’t have expected anyone to be at their best and appropriately, their set on this evening – though also technically early – was much peppier and pep is kind of essential to their sound, all made of glockenspiels, harmoniums, banjos and five-part harmonies. And while on record they can drift to the wrong side of wimpy, live they beefed up their sound enough – volume wins! – to keep it engaging. And closing (though not deliberately as they thought they’d have time for one more) with a well-intentioned if not entirely tidy cover of Broken Social Scene’s “7/4 (Shoreline)” was a nice nod to the city… or as they wryly noted, “that one’s called ‘pandering'”.

I remember Shout Out Louds’ October 2007 show as a lively affair that took some of the polish off of the Ill Wills album arrangements, and their SxSW 2008 as a raucous, stage trashing throwdown – this time, they split the difference between the two and turned in what was the best performance I’ve seen them do yet. Perhaps it was the pressure of a hard 10PM curfew, but kicking off with Work leadoff track “1999”, they barrelled through their 90-minute set without much let up in energy and with only just enough missteps to count as charming, particularly early on when Adam Olenius lept into the audience for “Tonight I Have To Leave It” and had a bit of trouble climbing back onstage. By and large, though, the show was a fast-paced romp through all of their records – Work was well-represented but not at the expense of older favourites – that got the house up and kept them there, particularly with the sing-along encore closer of “Walls”, which was marked by much jumping up and down and arm-waving. Perhaps if, a few records from now, Shout Out Louds are still ploughing the same field of inspiration, I might find myself on the side of those who wish they’d try to branch out a bit more but for now, a record like Work and a show like this, are plenty to keep me satisfied.

Exclaim and Panic Manual also have reviews of the show. QRO and Ion have interviews with assorted Shout Out Louds while NPR is streaming their show in Washington DC from last week.

Photos: Shout Out Louds, Freelance Whales @ The Mod Club – May 8, 2010
MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Walls”
MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Tonight I Have To Leave It”
MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator 2nd Floor”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Fall Hard”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walls”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Tonight I Have To Leave It”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Impossible”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Please Please Please”
Video: Freelance Whales – “Generator 2nd Floor”
MySpace: Shout Out Louds
MySpace: Freelance Whales

Pitchfork has the first sample of the new album from The Concretes, entitled WYWH and due out in October.

MP3: The Concretes – “Good Evening”

Johan Duncanson talks to Spinner about The Radio Dept’s obsessive/lazy work ethic, and why it took so long for Clinging To A Scheme to see the light of day.

The Mary Onettes have a new video for their recent, non-album single.

Video: The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before The Funeral”

PitchforkTV has a Tunnel Vision session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

Under The Radar chats with Jonsi at Coachella.

MusicOmh interviews Doves.

Beatroute and The Georgia Straight chat with James Graham of The Twilight Sad; they are at Lee’s Palace on May 26 with Mono.

PopMatters talks to Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, who seem to have become the go-to band for duos looking for openers. They’re in town supporting Broken Bells at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2 and then The Black Keys at The Kool Haus on August 3.

If you needed a little more incentive to go see Midlake’s show at the Mod Club on May 21, how about the fact that a solo Jason Lytle, along with John Grant, will be supporting? And the fact that Midlake, apparently, no longer perform hidden behind a wall of keyboards?

MP3: Jason Lytle – “Yours Truly, The Commuter”

Nathaniel Rateliff’s May 30 show at the Drake Underground has been canceled. But if you were looking forward to seeing him play, there’s at least this video performance for Yours Truly.

The previously announced July 20 Real Estate/Kurt Vile show has found a home – it’ll be taking place at the Great Hall.

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Gather, Form & Fly

Megafaun and Sharon Van Etten at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAnd to think, I almost stayed home to watch The Pacific. What can I say? Some nights I’m just lazy. But thankfully, I managed to haul my ass out of the apartment on Monday night to head down to the Horseshoe for what would turn out to be a pretty special show from Megafaun and Sharon Van Etten.

It was Van Etten who was the main draw for me – her 2009 debut Because I Was In Love is more beguiling with every listen and my first attempt to see her live at SxSW wasn’t satisfactory thanks to an overly chatty crowd and uncooperative guitar amp. Background chatter wasn’t an issue on this night, though, as the crowd at the ‘Shoe was decidedly sparse when Van Etten took the stage armed only with her Gibson ES-135, her songs and her voice.

And oh, what a voice. So powerful and yet so fragile, overtop her fingerpicked guitarwork and wrapped around her sad songs, it pulled everyone in the house – hell, it probably pulled bystanders in off the street – closer and closer, until most were seated on the floor around the stage, enraptured. They’d have had to be under the influence of something to be willing to sit on the Horseshoe floor – have you ever seen that thing under house lights? But kidding aside, Van Etten’s set – her last of this short tour and for the next while as she works on her second album – was a stunner, including both songs from Love and new material, capped off with a finale of “Tornado”, backed up be Megafaun. And as perfectly suited as her material is to solo performance – sadness is a solitary thing, after all – it sounded as good if not better with a band behind it.

Said band also sounded pretty good on their own, as it turned out. I wasn’t especially familiar with Megafaun coming into the night – I think I’d spun their latest album Gather, Form & Fly once or twice – but went in with an open mind and proceeded to have it blown, just a little. As befit their North Carolina roots, the impressively-bearded trio – two brothers and their drummer – crafted folk-rock with a distinctively southern drawl, but beneath that genial, harmony-laden surface there was so much more going on. There was jazz virtuosity in their musicianship, proggish ambitions in the frequently twisty song structures and a jam band’s delight in simply playing. That delight was shared in full by the small but devoted audience, and that gave the show less the feel of a concert than an intimate get-together of friends. Nowhere was this more evident than the encore, which Megafaun seemed almost embarrassed to be taking – climbing down off the stage and playing three more songs amongst their fans. All throughout the night, the band emphasized how much they were enjoying the evening and how exceptionally special this show was. For some acts, this is boilerplate stage banter but it was obvious from the looks on their faces and the hugs exchanged with fans afterwards, that they meant every word and every note. Just marvelous.

The Concordian talks to Megafaun’s Phil Cook and Daytrotter has posted a session with the band. Their North American tour continues through the end of April – do see them if you can. They’re also releasing a new mini-album entitled Heretofore later this Summer – info at Pitchfork.

Photos: Megafaun, Sharon Van Etten @ The Horseshoe – April 5, 2010
MP3: Megafaun – “Volunteers”
MP3: Megafaun – “The Fade”
MP3: Megafaun – “Kaufman’s Ballad”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Consolation Prize”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
Video: Megafaun – “Impressions Of The Past”
Video: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MySpace: Megafaun
MySpace: Sharon Van Etten

The Boston Globe, Nashville Scene, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Interview sits down with Midlake, who will be a the Mod Club on May 21.

Delusions Of Adequacy talk to Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Wilco’s epic three-hour set in Montclair, New Jersey from last weekend. The band just announced they will curate their own festival – the Solid Sound Festival – from August 13 to 15 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams Massachusetts, which if you were wondering is at the border of Mass and New York, about 7 hours from Toronto. The bill will feature Wilco, natch, and most/all of their spin-off acts and other artists to be announced later.

Rawkblog, SF Weekly and CMJ have interviews with Miles Kurosky while The Bay Bridged gets Kurosky back together with some of his Beulah bandmates to play songs from his solo record The Desert Of Shallow Effects, which are available to download.

MP3: Miles Kurosky – “The World Won’t Last The Night” (live at The Bay Bridged)
MP3: Miles Kurosky – “Dead Language Blues” (live at The Bay Bridged)

NOW talks to Liz Powell of Land Of Talk about losing and finding her voice. They’re at Lee’s Palace tonight and their new record is targeted for an August release.

Filter gets to know Mumford & Sons.

For Folks Sake and The New York Times talk to Laura Marling, while La Blogotheque is offering a live track for download. Her new album I Speak Because I Can gets a North American release as of this week.

Hurricane Bells – the new project from Longwave frontman Steve Schlitz – will be at the El Mocambo on May 19. Their debut album, Tonight Is The Ghost, is due out next week.

Video: Hurricane Bells – “This Year”
Video: Hurricane Bells – “Monsters”

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel, who impressed whilst opening for Laura Marling back in February, has a date scheduled for the Drake Underground on May 30. His new record In Memory Of Loss is out April 27.

MP3: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel – “Early Spring Till”

Delta Spirit and Ezra Furman & The Harpoons will be at the Mod Club on June 26. Paste has details on Delta Spirit’s new record, History From Below, due out June 8.

MP3: Delta Spirit – “People C’Mon”
MP3: Ezra Furman & The Harpoons – “Take Off Your Sunglasses”

Fresh off their sold-out gig opening for Miike Snow at The Phoenix, Delorean will be back in town at Wrongbar on July 14.

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Hope In The Air

Laura Marling and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangHad Tuesday night’s Laura Marling show taken place at originally-intended venue of the Drake Underground rather than its final locale of Lee’s Palace (just under three times larger), then there’d have been throngs of disappointed fans either milling around outside the Parkdale hotel or moping at home instead of nearly packing the Annex club (and burrito outlet), eager to hear Marling preview material from her forthcoming second album I Speak Because I Can, due out April 6. And though this wasn’t Marling’s first visit to the city, her stock has risen considerably since her Toronto debut at the Rivoli in October 2008 so for many, this was probably their first opportunity to see her live.

Just as he did a year and a half ago, multi-instrumentalist Marling co-conspirator Pete Roe was an unscheduled opener. Unfortunately, unlike last time I wasn’t there in time to see his short set. There’d still be plenty of Roe through the night, however, as he would remain onstage for pretty much the entire night as in addition to playing with Marling, he was making his debut as a touring member of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel. The Denver outfit was apparently down a few members on account of a broken-down van, but what pieces they had on hand were plenty to make a great impression. As one look at the bearded Rateliff might have tipped off, their sound was decidedly traditional and rootsy but with enough character to stand out. Gothic-sounding without being grim and infused with a good sense of melody, they definitely marked themselves as an act to keep an eye out for when they release their new record later this year.

The advance word on I Speak Because I Can is that Marling has gotten dark, and in more ways than just her hair – an opinion borne out from the very first song of her set, the galloping new single “Devil’s Spoke”. From the sounds of the new material that made up most of her set, Marling has checked some of her more pop inclinations in favour of a more dramatic approach and it serves her well. Selections from Alas I Cannot Swim were held to just a few singles, but the new material sounded so good and was so clearly evidence of an artist who’s grown significantly in the past couple of years that there wasn’t going to be any complaining. In fact, most in attendance seemed so pleased to simply be seeing Marling perform that by and large, the audience actually shut up while she played.

Backed by Roe and The Wheel for the opening and closing portions of the set and performing solo for the middle, Marling was a far more confident performer than the girl I saw in 2008 or even last March at SxSW. Largely gone was the thousand-yard stare or sense of being somewhere else entirely, and in its place were more jokes and storytelling and general engagement with the crowd, and though she didn’t entirely realize where she was when she introduced her cover of Neil Young’s “The Needle And The Damage Done”, at least we know she wasn’t pandering to the city. And while she does the, “we’re just going to play our encore without leaving the stage” announcement every show, we got to hear “Alas I Cannot Swim” get charmingly waylaid by what she called, “unexpected giggles” and forgetting the words. A perfectly imperfect way to finish the show, and enough to satisfy until the new record and another visit arrives.

Panic Manual, MuchMusic and The Singing Lamb also have reviews of the show. Daytrotter posted a session with Nathaniel Rateliff last December.

Photos: Laura Marling, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel @ Lee’s Palace – February 9, 2010
MP3: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Video: Laura Marling – “Devil’s Spoke”
Video: Laura Marling – “Night Terror”
Video: Laura Marling – “New Romantic”
Video: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Video: Laura Marling – “My Manic & I”
Video: Laura Marling – “Cross Your Fingers”
MySpace: Laura Marling
MySpace: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel

NPR has a World Cafe session and MTV and The San Francisco Examiner interviews with Mumford & Sons, whose Sigh No More is out on February 16 in North America, the day after they play Lee’s Palace.

There’s now a track from Joanna Newsom’s forthcoming triple-album epic Have One On Me available to download. The album is out February 23 and she plays The Phoenix on March 13.

MP3: Joanna Newsom – “Kingfisher”

JAM has a profile on Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. She is at the Phoenix on April 10.

Field Music talk to Spinner about their love of the album format, evidenced by their new double-set (Measure), due out next week. They will be at the Horseshoe on March 19.