Posts Tagged ‘Oh No Forest Fires’

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

May You Never

Review of Land Of Talk’s Fun And Laughter

Photo By Joseph YarmushJoseph YarmushWhen you’re Land Of Talk fan, you’ve got to keep an eye open. While any self-respecting follower of the band – or music-lover, for that matter – owns copies of their buzzsaw debut EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss and the more nuanced but just as rewarding full-length Some Are Lakes, not everyone even knows about let alone possesses the now sold-out live acoustic L’aventure Acoustique document released between the EP and full-length. And while I, at least, did my best to notify the masses, I wouldn’t be surprised if most haven’t heard their most recent release, the Fun And Laughter EP which came out in the Fall to coincide with their first tour following Liz Powell’s recovery from throat surgery.

And if it’s slipped under your radar on account of not being available in stores, go rectify that right now. At four tracks (and three videos), it’s a bit slight in volume but there’s not a throwaway or weak track in the bunch – if anything, it’s a reaffirmation of everything that makes Land Of Talk great. The front half marries the more polished aspects of Lakes with the fierier approach of Applause and the last couple of tracks invokes their gentler side without sacrificing meatiness or feeling overly pastoral. Really, Fun And Laughter occupies the middle ground between their previous two releases which hasn’t actually been explored yet and if this is a sign of what’s to come on full-length number two, due out in Spring or Summer, then it’s going to be a doozie.

The aforementioned Fall tour covered both coasts of the US but didn’t end up making its way into eastern Canada, an oversight that’s being rectified in April as the band charts a short jaunt with Adam & The Amethysts starting in Powell’s old stomping grounds of Guelph, through Toronto and Kingston and up to Wakefield, Quebec, a little ways outside Ottawa. The Toronto date is April 8 at Lee’s Palace and while tickets are $10, area folk who’ve not gotten their hands on a copy of the EP will actually be rewarded for their procrastination because they’re offering a deal wherein you can get the EP, normally $7, and a ticket to the show for a total of $15 – so that’s essentially admission for $8 with no service charge. There is no earthly reason to not do this.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “May You Never”
Video: Land Of Talk – “It’s Okay”
Video: Land Of Talk – “The Man Who Breaks Things (Dark Shuffle)”
Video: Land Of Talk – “Some Are Lakes”

Okay, one reason not to go to the Land Of Talk show is that it’s the same night Owen Pallett plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Maybe you already have tickets. Maybe you prefer violins to guitars. Maybe you know who’s opening. Either way, Chart and Tiny Mix Tapes have interviews with Pallett and NYC Taper is sharing a recording of his show in New York in January. NYC Taper, incidentally, was recently profiled by The Village Voice. There’s a new remix of a Heartland track up for grabs as well.

MP3: Owen Pallett – “Keep The Dog Quiet” (Simon Bookish remix)

To everyone who’s been enjoying the (relatively) low profile that Broken Social Scene has been keeping for the past four years or so… break’s over. Just in time for their performance at the Toronto Islands on June 19, they’ll release their new, as-yet untitled album on May 4 – which happens to be the same day The New Pornographers drop their latest, Together. Shades of Blur vs Oasis, August 1995? If only. Pitchfork talks to Kevin Drew about the making of the new album and Paste does the same with head Pornographer Carl Newman.

The now-defunct Oh No Forest Fires have left a farewell gift in the form of a second album, entitled Wants To Try Something. And an unsightly stain on the Horseshoe stage, but let’s not talk about that.

ZIP: Oh No Forest Fires / Wants To Try Something

Spinner declares The Balconies a band you oughta know. They’re at the Drake Underground on February 10, as soon as they’re back from their tour of eastern Canada which they’ve been diligently blogging.

Exclaim talks to Woodhands, who’re giving away a new Pitchfork-baiting/hating track. For kicks, I guess.

MP3: Woodhands – “P’iss”

The Hylozoists have released a new video from last year’s L’Ile de Sept Villes.

Video: The Hylozoists – “Bras D’Or Lakes”

Spinner talks to Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton. They play the Drake Underground on February 11 and do an in-store at Soundscapes on February 14.

Le Hiboo has a video session of Basia Bulat performing “The Shore” in Paris whilst wearing a jaunty beret. The London Free Press has an interview with Bulat and a short chat with her viola player, Alison Stewart. Basia Bulat plays an in-store at Soundscapes on February 16.

The Toronto Star contemplates the many faces of Neil Young while Paste reports that he’s started work on his next album.

The Line Of Best Fit has posted their seventh volume of “Oh! Canada” Can-con mixes to download.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Memory Loss

The Radio Dept. promise new record for March. Seriously. They mean it.

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt’s not the firm, 100% release date that you’d want to see before getting excited, but this update from The Radio Dept. declaring that their third record Clinging To A Scheme – constantly rescheduled and delayed since September 2008 – will be available on CD and LP via Labrador in March is the most official thing we’ve seen yet.

Past target dates have come from their label and they’ve had to backpedal on each one, but this one comes from the band, and they’ve sealed it with a stream of a new song, album art and even a tracklisting! It seems the 2008 single “Freddie & The Trojan Horse” didn’t end up making the cut but their entire 2009 output – “David” – did. Either way, I’m allowing myself to hope this time the record will finally become reality and it somehow is worth the almost four-year wait since Pet Grief and year and a half delay from its originally-promised date. And I won’t hold my breath for live dates.

Update: Aaaaand they manage to push it back yet again. But the official new release date is April 20 in North America, April 21 in Europe. EXCITED.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “David”

And keeping on the theme of reclusive Swedes finally getting into sharing, jj have let slip not only some images of themselves, but a couple new songs via a free digital single – one of which will also appear on their forthcoming album No. 3, out March 9. They’ll be at the Phoenix on April 4, on stage for all to see. Unless they turn off the lights. Which they probably will.

MP3: jj – “Let Go”
MP3: jj – “My Way”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Philip Ekstrom of The Mary Onettes.

The Raveonettes have made a video for the cryptically-titled new single from In And Out Of Control, “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”. I think there might be a message here; I’m not sure.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”

The Varsity chats with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.

NOW has words with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. They’ve got an in-store at Sonic Boom tonight at 6:30 – be there early with an item of canned food for admission – and a sold-out show at the Phoenix afterward. eye also has an interview with Lou Barlow in the context of solo artist and opener for himself tonight.

Paste talks to Ted Leo, who is preparing his next record with The Pharmacists in The Brutalist Bricks, due out March 9.

Scout Niblett has set a March 17 date at the Horseshoe as part of a Spring tour in support of her new record The Calcination of Scout Niblett, out next week. Tickets for the show are $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Scout Niblett – “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett”

Last week I mentioned the release next week of El May, the debut album from Lara Meyerratken – well an MP3 from the album is now available to grab.

MP3: El May – “Don’t You”

Matablog has announced the next New Pornographers record will be entitled Together and be out May 4. And yes, both Dan and Neko are on board again.

Canadian Press gets some information from Amy Millan about the new Broken Social Scene record, including the fact that all of she, Emily Haines and Leslie Feist are appearing on the album and one track will feature all three singing together. It was reported that the album would be out in May, in time for their big Spinner Canada is streaming Basia Bulat’s new album Heart Of My Own – it’s in stores next Tuesday.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Heart Of My Own

The Hidden Cameras have rolled out a new video from Origin: Orphan.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “Underage”

Via MySpace blog, Oh No Forest Fires have offered more explanation for their decision to disband, revealed that their doubling their recorded legacy with a second (mini) album that will be made available for free when it’s ready, offered a first track from said album to download (below), and announced that this Saturday’s final show at the Horseshoe will also be a benefit fundraiser for Haiti, with all proceeds from the $7 cover going to Partners In Health to assist the disaster-ridden country.

MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Spontaneous Changes In Isolated Systems (Song For Bobby)”

SubPop is giving away a big-ass MP3 mix of their Winter 2010 releases. Go get.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Electric Guitar

Review of Retribution Gospel Choir’s 2

Photo By Cameron WittigCameron WittigI only discovered Low circa 2001’s Things We Lost In The Fire, which I think is right around the time the slowcore heroes began expanding their sound and the long-time faithful began to peel off. And if the (relatively) faster tempos and broader sonic palettes were anathema to them, they were manna to me – which is why my favourite of their records, 2005’s unapologetically loud and dynamic The Great Destroyer was the final straw for some. If they’d stuck around, though, they’d have found the last Low record – 2007’s Drums & Guns – to be a return to their quieter ways, albeit aided by loops, samples and seething anger.

Frontman Alan Sparhawk hadn’t suppressed his more rock-out tendencies, however – simply sublimated them into his side project, Retribution Gospel Choir. Their 2008 self-titled debut was compact, loud and sludgy and quite possibly everything that 20th century Low fans were against. The appropriately-titled follow-up 2 offers more of the same, with the emphasis on “more”. 2 is more dynamic, more anthemic and more guitar-heroic than the debut – still chock-full of distorted riffage but also loaded up with some seriously fierce soloing.

It’s never been a secret that Sparhawk was a killer guitarist, but here those skills are front and centre, though not at the expense of the songwriting – as always, it’s impassioned, melodic and more than a little pissed off. Those former Low fans I mentioned earlier will want to stay far away but may want to pay more attention when the next Low record comes out – it’s hard to imagine Sparhawk hasn’t gotten all the rock out of his system, at least for the time being, and the follow-up to Drums & Guns won’t be whisper quiet.

2 is out on Tuesday, January 26. Retribution Gospel Choir is touring through the Winter and Spring and will be at the Drake Underground in Toronto next Monday, January 25. The Cleveland Plains-Dealer has a conversation with Alan Sparhawk.

Update: And I’ve now got a couple pairs of passes to the show to give away, courtesy of Collective Concerts. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to sing in the Retribution Gospel Choir” in the subject and your full name in the body, and get that in to me before midnight, January 23.

MP3: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Hide It Away”
Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Hide It Away”
MySpace: Retribution Gospel Choir

Drowned In Sound talks to Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg about their new album The Golden Archipelago, which will be released on February 23. Matablog has details on their upcoming Spring tour, which includes a Toronto date April 1 at Lee’s Palace, and the special dossier that will be released with the record. And they’ve also got a second MP3 from the album to tide you over the next month.

MP3: Shearwater – “Black Eyes”

Daytrotter has got a session with The Rosebuds.

Germany’s Aufgemischt interviews Beach House, who’ve been premiering new videos from Teen Dream each day this week – and for one day only – at Gorilla Vs Bear, leading up to next Tuesday’s record release. And don’t worry about the ones you’ve missed, as all of the videos – they made one for each track of the album – will be available on the DVD that accompanies the CDs and LPs of the album. The record is currently streaming in its entirety at NPR and they play the Opera House on March 30.

Stream: Beach House / Teen Dream

BRM interviews Nick and Tristan of Headlights.

The New York Post and NPR interview Spoon. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29 and will also appear on this year’s edition of the Starbucks-sponsored Sweetheart Valentine’s Day covers compilation, now available at iTunes US – details at Pitchfork.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips talks to Drowned In Sound.

The Quietus interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. Realism is out on Tuesday and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 8.

Matablog has posted a new MP3 from the Girls debut Album, in case all those year-end lists weren’t quite enough to convince you. You can also grab the file from them in lossless FLAC format. If you swing that way. Blurt talks to the guy from Girls who kinda looks like a girl, Christopher Owens.

MP3: Girls – “Laura”

Bring Back The Boombox has an interview with Oh No Forest Fires on the almost-eve of their final show. They call it a day after a final blow-out at the Horseshoe this Saturday night.

Rolling Stone interviews Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.

Under The Radar chats with Neko Case.

Those of you unable to make either the Dinosaur Jr in-store at Sonic Boom tomorrow evening or the show at the Phoenix later that night can try and console yourselves with this NYC Taper recording of their show in New York from Saturday night – there’s also an interview over at JAM.

And Dinosaur Jr are one of the case studies in this PopMatters piece about the reunions of ’80s alt.rock legends and why they should be celebrated.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Rest Up

The Balconies at Supermarket in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIs there any better/lazier way to start of the new year’s concert calendar than with the band that closed out the old year’s sched? I think not. And so The Balconies, who were one of the last bands I saw in 2009 are the first I’ve seen in 2010, thanks to last night’s show at Supermarket. And seeing as how I was sort of running out of things to say about the trio that time, it being third time I’d seen them in less than four months, I pretty much expected to have even less to offer, editorially speaking, this time.

As it happened, the show wasn’t a carbon copy of the others, and not just because it took place somewhere besides the Horseshoe. Maybe it was a bit of holiday hangover, but this gig didn’t feature the band at their best. While spirited by most standards, compared to their fire of their previous performances, they weren’t as tight as I’ve seen them and the energy felt somewhat subdued. Part of this, I think was technical – frontwoman Jacquie Neville’s guitar and vocals both seemed to be buried in the mix somewhat, her Telecaster missing some of its signature bite. Its absence, however, allowed bassist Steve Neville’s parts to come to the fore and while I’d always appreciated his contributions – and acknowledge his vocals are stronger live than on records – it was only last night that I realized just how complex and downright funky his basslines were. I’d always let his sister’s wiry, hooky guitarwork define my impression of the band, but in addition to all that, he ensures that The Balconies are wholly danceable as well. I know this because people were dancing. So not the band at their best, but still probably better than many.

The Balconies are setting out on an eastern Canadian tour and with it, they run the very real risk of no longer being the best-kept secret of the Ottawa-Toronto 401 corridor. They could well be on their way to delivering on the blue-chip prospects that “next big Canadian things” surveys conducted by The National Post and Resonancity peg them to be.

Photos: The Balconies @ Supermarket – January 6, 2010
MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”

Oh No Forest Fires, with whom The Balconies shared the bill at that show last December, have announced that their upcoming January 23 gig at The Horseshoe will be their last and they’re calling it a day. It’s a damn shame that Toronto is losing one of their most entertaining live bands, but all good things, as they say. Your last opportunity to be showered in Rajiv’s sweat will be shared with The Darcys, Songs From A Room and Arietta, cover $7.

MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Robin The Boy Wonders”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”

The Besnard Lakes have offered up the first taste of their forthcoming album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, out March 9. The single “Albatross” will be available on 12″ as of February 9. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on March 11, presumably as part of Canadian Musicfest. Spinner talks to Jace Lasek about the new record.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Timber Timbre.

Julie Doiron will be playing a free show at the not-especially-big Cobourg out in Cabbagetown (533 Parliament) on Saturday night. Details at Facebook; early arrival recommended.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “When Brakes Get Wet”
MP3: Julie Doiron – “Consolation Prize”

Michael Cera stars in the new video from Islands. He also stars in this still image from Scott Pilgrim vs The World, wielding a flaming sword.

Video: Islands – “No You Don’t”

Woodpigeon are now streaming their new album Die Stadt Muzikanten on their website in advance of its release next Tuesday, while Beatroute interviews Mark Hamilton. Woodpigeon are at the Drake Underground on February 11.

Owen Pallett graces the cover of this week’s NOW, thanks to the upcoming release of Heartland and his sold-out show at the Mod Club, both happening this coming Tuesday. He has another show scheduled for April 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Diamond Rings-master John O’Reagan chats with Spinner and NOW. He’ll be appearing at the aforementioned January 12 Mod Club show opening for Owen Pallett and at the Roundhouse on February 11 as part of Wavelength 500.

Quick Before It Melts talks to Rae Spoon.

Spinner talks to Mike O’Brien of Zeus, whose debut full-length Say Us is out February 9 on nice 180g vinyl and February 23 on shiny CD.

CBC Radio 3 has compiled a list of notable Canadian indie releases for the first part of 2010 and some heretofore unannounced bits to take note of include the March 23 release of Holy Fuck’s Latin and a live Weakerthans document entitled Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre, plus a May target for the new Broken Social Scene record.

Macleans looks at the unfortunate phenomenon of bands getting their gear stolen in Montreal. Hey Montreal, what the hell?

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Santa Left A Booger In My Stocking

Aqua Teen Hunger Force (and me) wish Daytrotter (and you) a merry Christmas

Illustration By Johnnie CluneyJohnnie CluneyLast post before the holidays! And it comes courtesy of the ever-lovin’ Daytrotter, who’ve managed to wrangle a studio session of soon-to-be holiday classics from the animated miscreants of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If the idea of Shake, Meatwad and Carl celebrating the season in song doesn’t do it for you, well I’m sorry, I don’t want to know you. And no, I don’t know where Frylock is – maybe he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Or sing. Or both. And for context, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force isn’t singing just for the joy of it – they’ve got themselves a holiday album out in Have Yourself A Meaty Little Christmas. Do with that information what you will.

Also with a Christmas tune and a new album – but not a Christmas album – is The Magnetic Fields. Realism is out on January 26 and NME has posted up the one Yule-themed tune as a first taste of the record to download while Spinner talks to Stephin Merritt about the album’s influences. The Magnetic Fields will be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on February 8.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “Everything Is One Big Christmas”

A Good Day For Airplay has an exclusive download of “Let It Snow” by Jon Auer of The Posies and Big Star.

BrooklynVegan has an end-of-year interview with The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart and another one with Antlers.

Spinner talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about their decision to cover Dark Side Of The Moon.

Some shows – big and small – coming up in the new year that you may want to take note of. Hamilton’s Dark Mean, whose free-to-download Frankencottage EP makes them worthy of note – are playing a free show at the Horseshoe on January 4. Hero Hill named their debut one of their top EPs of the year and has an interview and new song to download.

Video: Dark Mean – “Frankencottage”

The Balconies, who need no introduction in these pages, have a gig at Supermarket on January 6.

Amos The Transparent will make the trek down from Ottawa for a gig at the Horseshoe on January 9. Not sure why, but my years seem to end or start with Amos. A tradition I’m quite alright with.

MP3: Amos The Transparent – “Title Track”

$100 will be at the Horseshoe on January 22. Oh No Forest Fires are there the following night.

A little bit of Brooklyn pays Toronto a visit when Pattern Is Movement and Via Audio stop in at the Drake Underground on March 1. Via Audio’s new record Animalore is out March 9, tickets to the show are $10.

MP3: Pattern Is Movement – “Blanched & Threshed”
MP3: Pattern Is Movement – “In Tape Grass”
MP3: Via Audio – “Babies…”

I’d call Swedish electro-pop duo jj un-Googleable, but that implies that there’s something out there in the wilds of the internet to find. And really, there isn’t, except for this glowing Pitchfork review for this year’s No. 2. Their next record – the imaginatively-titled No. 3 – will be out on March 9 via Secretly Canadian and their Spring North American tour will bring them to Lee’s Palace on April 3. It’s certainly implied that The xx, who are accompanying their lower-case compatriots on most other dates, will be along for this one as well but considering they’re confirmed to be at the Kool Haus barely two weeks later supporting Hot Chip, I wouldn’t take that for granted. I’ll confirm that one way or the other when I can.

MP3: jj – “Ecstasy”

Trans Am have a date at the Horseshoe on Horseshoe April 21.

MP3: Trans Am – “Remote Control”

Canadian Musicfest has rolled out the first batch of performers for the 2010 edition of the festival, running March 10 through 14 all throughout Toronto. Noteworthy names include Constantines, reigning Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle, The Acorn, Rural Alberta Advantage and Great Lake Swimmers.

And no noteworthy names of yet for 2010’s Olympic Island festival, but it is happening and all will be revealed on January 11 at 7:30 PM. Any guesses?

K, that’s it for a bit. Happy holidays all.