Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Tremor Control’

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Days Are Gone

Because I have places to be, I’ll just leave these Haim tour dates right here

Photo By Bella LieberbergBella LieberbergI will admit that to this point this year, I’ve taken a bit of pride in not having written about Los Angeles sister act Haim; not because I especially dislike them or anything – they’re fine, though I’ll keep my sliced bread, thanks – but my contrarian side reflexively made me resist on account of their quite successfully blowing up on the back of their debut Days Are Gone without any of my help, thank you very much.

But being in a time crunch and wanting to just get these links out the door, I give. They’ve finally announced their debut Toronto show as part of a North American tour in support of said debut and it’s happening May 15 of next year at The Kool Haus, tickets running a reasonable $25. That date, interestingly, is exactly one year less a day from when their original debut Toronto show supporting Vampire Weekend at The Sony Centre was supposed to happen; a date they quietly canceled not long before it was supposed to happen. Presumably they intend to keep this date.

There’s some recent interviews with the trio at Las Vegas Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and The Irish Independent.

Video: Haim – “The Wire”

The Skinny and The AV Club talk to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater about their new album Fellow Travelers, due out November 28, while The Current has another download from the album available. They’re at The Horseshoe on March 27.

MP3: Shearwater – “A Wake For The Minotaur”

Pitchfork is streaming Beachwood Sparks’ previously unreleased debut album Desert Skies, coming out next week.

MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Make It Together”
Stream: Beachwood Sparks / Desert Skies

NPR has premiered another new video from Pixies; they’re at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “What Goes Boom?”

Brooklynite Jordan Lee – who has been making noise figuratively and literally as Mutual Benefit – has announced a North American tour behind his debut Love’s Crushing Diamond and will be at The Drake Underground on January 15, tickets $12. The album is out December 3 and Stereogum has an interview.

Video: Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”

Noisey has premiered a stream of the first taste of Ume’s new record – still untitled, but coming out in January of the new year.

Stream: Ume – “Black Stone”

Pitchfork has specifics on the release of Olivia Tremor Control’s John Peel Session from 1997, coming out on vinyl in January.

Tone Deaf, American Songwriter, and Under The Radar chat with The Head & The Heart.

A Heart Is A Spade talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

A new Solange song has surfaced on Saint Heron, a compilation of acts signed to the younger Knowles’ new label of the same name.

Stream: Solange – “Cash In”

Because they needed to wait for a whole bunch of factors to fall into place – like for music videos and the internet to exist – Bob Dylan has released the first official video – an immersive and interactive clip – for “Like A Rolling Stone”, just in time for its fiftieth anniversary. Rolling Stone talks to Danny Brown about how he ended up involved in its making.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Like A Rolling Stone”

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

"A Day In The Life"

The Sunshine Fix covers The Beatles

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s almost a couple weeks on since the untimely passing of Olivia Tremor Control and Sunshine Fix frontman Bill Doss, and there are still few to no public answers as to what happened to end his life at 43. It’s a small bit of comfort that both suicide and foul play have been ruled out, as either of those scenarios would have been an extra level of cruel on top of everything, but that just leaves randomness and that really doesn’t offer much comfort either.

What has emerged, however, is a portrait of a man who was genuinely loved and respected by friends, peers, and those who actually knew him. It’s the sort of thing that, as a fan who only knows someone through their work, you would hope to be true but never know for sure. Until you do. The best of the tributes are collected in two pieces at Athens, Georgia’s Flagpole and their Homedrone blog, but there’s also pieces at PopMatters and Vice. And unabashed E6/OTC devotees The Poison Control Center have written some words but also paid musical tribute by way of a Daytrotter session of Olivia Tremor Control covers.

For my part, I’d like to re-surface this recording that I posted once nine years ago. I didn’t have any real information on it then and I don’t have anymore now, but it did come off the official Sunshine Fix website as a free download and sounds very much like Doss recorded his own, one-man version of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band closer. And it’s a perfect choice, really; that record by that band is one of the best touchstones for what the Elephant 6 both strove for and transcended, and that song is just so poignant.

MP3: The Sunshine Fix – “A Day In The Life”
Video: The Beatles – “A Day In The Life”

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The Sky Is A Harpsichord Canvas

Bill Doss of The Olivia Tremor Control, The Sunshine Fix, and Elephant 6 (1968-2012)

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTerrible news yesterday out of Athens, Georgia as it was announced that Bill Doss, co-founder of The Olivia Tremor Control and The Sunshine Fix and one of the original members of the Elephant 6 movement, had passed away at the too-young age of 43. Details on the cause of death have not been revealed, but it must have come as a shock considering that Doss had been playing with The Olivia Tremor Control as recently as last week at a hometown show in Athens.

I feel extra-fortunate to have caught the recently reunited Olivia Tremor Control when they came through Toronto last September but had really hoped that the vague intentions Doss and Will Cullen Hart had for new recordings would come through and bring them back again and again with new material. Alas, it was not to be but there is some comfort to be found in the two masterpieces of psychedelic-pop he made with the OTC – Dusk At Cubist Castle and Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1 – and the more classically pop work he did with The Sunshine Fix is also worth hearing.

A lack of details on what happened and an overall sense of shock have mostly limited coverage of Doss’ death to straight reportage, but expect heartfelt tributes from friends and fellow musicians in the coming days and weeks. A couple worth reading are already up at Chunklet, You Ain’t No Picasso, Pitchfork, and NOW. And if you’re new to or unfamiliar with the legacy of the Elephant 6, this primer at Spin is a good entry point; they’ve also assembled a playlist of some of his work. NPR still has the Olivia Tremor Control’s New York show from that Fall 2011 tour available to stream and a couple of clips from their appearance at Pitchfork Fest a couple weeks ago are up on YouTube; hopefully more will follow.

Rest in peace, Bill Doss.

MP3: The Olivia Tremor Control – “Love Athena”
MP3: The Olivia Tremor Control – “A Familiar Noise Called Train Director”
MP3: The Sunshine Fix – “Age Of The Sun”
Video: The Olivia Tremor Control – “Jumping Fences” (live at Pitchfork Festival 2012)
Video: The Olivia Tremor Control – “The Games You Play In Your Head” (live at Pitchfork Festival 2012)

For a while it seemed like Rich Aucoin was never going to play a regular, non-festival-type show in Toronto. Well now he is. He and presumably his crowd-surfing surfboard will be at Lee’s Palace on September 20, tickets $12.50.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”

If you thought that Lee’s Palace was an awful small a venue for an artist having as good a year as Grimes, you’d be right. She’s added a second show at Lee’s on September 22 to go with the one on the 21st, tickets again $20. The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Ms Claire Boucher.

MP3: Grimes – “Circumambient”

John Lydon brings his Public Image Limited to The Opera House on October 18 in support of their first record in some twenty years, This Is PiL, tickets $39.50.

Video: Public Image Limited – “(This Is Not A) Love Song”

As the October 2 release date of Transcendental Youth draws lazily closer, The Mountain Goats have announced the first leg of North American touring in support, which includes a Toronto date at The Phoenix on October 20, tickets $21.50 in advance. Word is they’re bringing horns! And also in Goats news, they recorded the theme song for this week’s episode of Weeds so you can download that if you want to hear it but don’t want to watch the show. Which is totally reasonable.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Cry For Judas”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Little Boxes”

London’s Wolf Gang are at Wrongbar on October 22, part of an extensive North American tour in support of their debut album Suego Faults.

Video: Wolf Gang – “The King And All Of His Men”
Video: Wolf Gang – “Lions In Cages”

It’s been hard to say if this counts as a reunion or if they’ve been reunited for years but just not very active, but in any case The Super Friendz will be getting off their duffs for a show at Lee’s Palace on November 16, tickets $15. Power pop will ensue.

Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”

Because some folks were asking – tickets for the New Order show at the Sony Centre on October 23 go on sale tomorrow. No they’re not remotely cheap. Why did you think they would be cheap?

Pitchfork and Spin talk to Jack Tatum about Nocturne, the new Wild Nothing album due out August 28. They’re at The Great Hall on September 18.

Bob Dylan discusses his new record Tempest, out September 11, with Rolling Stone. He brings it to the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Pitchfork is has posted the first sample of the new Dum Dum Girls EP End Of Daze, out September 25.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Lord Knows”

The Phoenix New Times and Minnesota Daily talk to Sharon Van Etten.

Another of Wilco’s New York shows from this past week are up to download at NYC Taper.

That unexpected Feist/Mastodon split 7″ released for Record Store Day has yielded a cool interactive video that allows you to choose your preferred ratio of Feist-to-Mastodon. Check it out at Pitchfork.

Video: Feistodon – “A Commotion”

Kathleen Edwards picks her top five albums of the last two decades for CBC Music.

The 405 has a video interview and session with Memoryhouse.

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Define A Transparent Dream

The Olivia Tremor Control and The Music Tapes at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s not especially unusual for bands active in the ’90s to be doing the reunion thing these days – it’s more unusual when a band who had any kind of following 15 to 20 years ago to NOT at least feel out the market for a comeback – but an extra degree of excitement is warranted when you’re talking about the Elephant 6 collective. Now granted, when you’re talking about a scene as broad and loose as E6 was/is, it can be argued that it never went away and sure, Of Montreal and Elf Power and myriad side-projects and less high-profile acts with ties to the scene continue on – albeit without the curly “E6” logo on their releases – but most of the first wave of bands who emerged from that generation of Athens, Georgia bands faded into myth before the end of the last century with really, only Robert Schneider’s Apples In Stereo continuing to plug along.

And while most of the attention in 2011 has surrounded the return of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum from the wilderness to the stage, by rights there should be a comparable amount of buzz around The Olivia Tremor Control’s return to touring. The melding of experimental found soundscapes and indelible pop classicism of their two albums Dusk At Cubist Castle and Black Foliage are basically a clinic on creating a unique and vivid world out of just sound and how to bend one’s mind with melodic hooks. It’s unequivocally great stuff and on Friday night, it came to Toronto for the first time in who knows how long (six months if you count the OTC-heavy Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise tour that came through in March, but for argument’s sake let’s not).

Opening up was Elephant 6 stalwart Julian Koster, who since the disbandment of Neutral Milk Hotel has been operating as The Music Tapes. I’d never seen him before, but reports of his highly-developed sense of whimsy were widespread and happily accurate. His stage setup involved as much thrift store trinkets and gewgaws as musical instruments, and between he and his two bandmates, there were a lot of instruments with Koster focusing on the singing saw and bowed banjo. Songs were offered in about equal quantity as stories and skits and sometimes the two were one and the same, as with their marching band expedition into the audience. It was all wholly entertaining – you didn’t notice the hour go by – and it was nice to realize that for all the stuff going on around the songs, the band were talented musicians and arrangers. And as for the stories about the carnival performers pulling cities out of their mouths or the great uncle who turned his shadow into an elephant – I don’t expect that there was any truth to them but oh I wish there was.

Much of The Music Tapes stage clutter was cleared out before The Olivia Tremor Control took over, but it seemed that every piece of set dressing that was removed was replaced by a musician. Though it’s Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart who are the key figures in that band, they numbered eight and sometimes nine, including two-thirds of The Music Tapes and Scott Spillane of The Gerbils (which also made for half of Neutral Milk Hotel, but the E6 family tree is really more of a wreath and not worth dwelling on).

As implied earlier, listening to Olivia Tremor Control records is an immersive and occasionally disorienting experience, though generally in a good way. I can now say with first-hand knowledge that the live show does a pretty good job of reproducing this. It probably would have been relatively easy to extract the proper songs from their recordings and perform them as such without complaint from their fans, but it wouldn’t really be Olivia Tremor Control without that anarchy, would it? Accordingly, their 100-minute set was like a primordial soup of sound created by a pawnshop orchestra – guitars, keys, samples, clarinets, saw, percussion – from which they would pull out both beauty and chaos – sometimes at the same time – with only occasional breaks for tuning, drinks or chatter. It wasn’t always tight or pretty but if they wobbled a bit on the straightaways, they took the corners like a pro and nailed every key hook and those Doss-Hart harmonies – when not occasionally lost in the mix – sounded glorious.

It’s funny, as happy as I was to see and hear OTC live, they weren’t one of the bands that I’d always held out hope would get back together and take it on the road. I attribute that to the fact that their records were such fully-formed worlds unto themselves that the idea that these songs might exist in the real world, outside of the context of those albums, was like trying to imagine cartoon characters as flesh and blood. Yet here they were, sounding great and playing with a sort of chemistry that made the fact that they hadn’t performed regularly as a unit in so many years hard to believe. That the band is working on new material – NPR premiered the first new OTC song in over a decade a little while back – is good news for all, and maybe we’ll start seeing that E6 logo on some records again.

Exclaim also has a review of the show.

Photos: The Olivia Tremor Control, The Music Tapes @ Lee’s Palace – September 16, 2011
MP3: The Olivia Tremor Control – “Hideaway” (live in Athens, GA – April 15, 2005)
MP3: The Olivia Tremor Control – “NYC-25” (live in Athens, GA – April 15, 2005)
MP3: The Olivia Tremor Contro – “Jumping Fences” (live in Athens, GA – April 15, 2005)
MP3: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “For The Planet Pluto”
Video: The Music Tapes – “The Minister Of Longitude”

A couple of unreleased Neutral Milk Hotel songs which will be appearing on that box set that is being released on November 22 is available to stream.

Stream: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Little Birds (Unfinished version 2)”

Magnet talks Obscurities with Stephin Merritt.

Sigur Ros have finalized details on the release of their live Inni film/album; it’ll be out on November 8 and be available in either double-CD or triple-LP formats, the former coming with the option of DVD or Blu-Ray and the latter only with DVD, or digitally-only if that’s your thing. There’s also a super-fancy limited edition box set which you can read about at Exclaim. One of the live tracks is available to download and Toronto screenings of the film begin October 28 at the TIFF Lightbox.

MP3: Sigur Ros – “Festival” (live)

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Barry Burns of Mogwai.

Emmy The Great has released a second video from her second album Virtue.

Video: Emmy The Great – “Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)”

Also with a new video are Arctic Monkeys, for the title track of Suck It And See.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Suck It And See”

And Manic Street Preachers have a clip for the single off their forthcoming best-of collection National Treasures, out October 31 – it’s a The The cover.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “This Is The Day”

The Von Pip Musical Express reviews Ladytron’s latest Gravity The Seducer and talks to vocalist/keyboardist Helen Marnie about it while The San Francisco Chronicle talks to Reuben Wu. They’re at The Phoenix on November 5.

Arcade 44 talks to Greg Hughes of Still Corners. Creatures Of An Hour is out October 11 and they play The Drake Underground on October 25.

Clash lists off ten things you didn’t know about Damon Albarn.

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The Days Of Adderall

Review of Deleted Scenes’ Young People’s Church Of The Air

Photo By Laura RotondoLaura RotondoIt’s too bad that Washington, DC four-piece Deleted Scenes didn’t time their upcoming visit to Toronto better so as to coincide with the Toronto International Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend. And not just for the topicality of their band name, but for the inherently cinematic scope of their sound.

Usually when “cinematic” is dropped as a descriptor, it implies for good or bad that the band aspires to a “big” sound that’s akin to a glitzy Hollywood Summer blockbuster; in the case of Deleted Scenes’ just-released second album Young People’s Church Of The Air, their ambitions are more modest and can perhaps predictably be likened to a contemporary independent film, reliant on a DIY aesthetic, quirky characters and a script that simultaneous seeks to bare its soul and remain obscured.

In musical terms, Deleted Scenes operate underneath sonics that are deliberately fuzzy and occasionally opaque, with Dan Scheuerman’s vocals – an instrument which other bands might seek to showcase front and centre – often pushed back in the mix so as to seem like he’s hollering from the back of the room while all manner of instrumentation cavort in the foreground. It’s an interesting balance and one that can either force the listener to pay closer attention than they normally might or tune out entirely; initial listens tended towards the latter, but persistence paid off with a record that was playfully psychedelic, yet possessed of a clear-eyed deliberateness where it counted. Rewarding stuff.

Deleted Scenes are currently on tour across North America in support of the new record and will be at Rancho Relaxo on September 22.

MP3: Deleted Scenes – “Bedbedbedbedbed”
Stream: Deleted Scenes – “The Demon & The Hurricane”
Stream: Deleted Scenes – “The Days Of Adderall”
Video: Deleted Scenes – “Bedbedbedbedbed”

NOW and Aquarium Drunkard have pieces of Olivia Tremor Control as the band rolls into Lee’s Palace tonight.

The Toronto Star, Exclaim and Montreal Gazette chat with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco as the band’s tour in advance of the September 27 release of The Whole Love stops in at Massey Hall tonight and tomorrow.

The Jayhawks’ first new record in forever, Mockingbird Time, is up for stream at Rolling Stone and the best thing you can say about it is it sounds like the classic Jayhawks lineup that made it – and that’s a good thing.

Stream: The Jayhawks / Mockingbird Time

Magnet – who are returning as a print publication in October and will thus be re-earning their italicized title – NOW and The Fly talk to Stephen Malkmus, who leads The Jicks into The Phoenix on September 23. The Portland Tribune talks to Jicks bassist Joanna Bolme.

MusicOmh has words with Merrell Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. She/they are at Lee’s Palace on September 24.

The Von Pip Musical Express talks to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls in advance of Only In Dreams, out September 27. They play Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Pitchfork and Prefix have feature interviews with Christopher Owens of Girls, who’re at The Mod Club on September 27.

Aquarium Drunkard has an interview with Matthew Sweet while Rolling Stone is streaming his new album Modern Art in advance of its September 27 release date.

MP3: Matthew Sweet – “She Walks The Night”
Stream: Matthew Sweet / Modern Art

Nerve talks mating with Mates Of State while The Hartford Courant opts to play it safe and talk about the music. Mates Of State are at The Phoenix on September 28.

Pitchfork interviews Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal, who reveals the band will release a cassette box set of all the band’s albums on October 25 and a new album entitled Paralytic Stalks early next year.

NPR and The AV Club have posted interviews with St. Vincent, while Anika In London has posted the full transcript of her chat with Annie Clark which became the Line Of Best Fit feature interview from earlier this week.

Rolling Stone talks to Wayne Coyne to get the lowdown on the “six hour song” that Wayne Coyne says the band are recording.