Posts Tagged ‘Parts & Labor’

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Fire Sale

Bruce Peninsula blaze out trail for return

Photo via BPBruce PeninsulaBy rights, we should have seen a new record from Toronto’s Bruce Peninsula ages ago. Their 2009 debut A Mountain Is A Mouth seemed a long time in coming from when the choral gospel-blues-folk collective began dropping jaws with their live shows, but after its release the band was everywhere and it seemed there was no slowing the momentum behind them.

But life, as it is wont to do, threw a curveball and in late 2010, after their second album had been recorded and they should have been planning how next to spread their word, frontman Neil Haverty was diagnosed with leukemia and the healing power of music would have to take a back seat to the healing power of medicine. Happily, some months later, Haverty is in remission and the Bruce Peninsula is getting back into gear.

While the album doesn’t yet have a firm release date, the band are laying down a trail from here to there and calling it the Bruce Peninsula Fire Sale – a series of releases and goodies intended to renew acquaintances and remind folks of why this band was one of the city’s most interesting new acts not so long ago. The first installment is a cover of Loudon Wainwright III’s “Swimming Song” – complete with video – and though it’s someone else’s song, the sound and arrangement is quite unlike anything we heard on Mountain – more refined, less primal and kind of revelatory. If this is just the start, then I can’t wait to hear what’s to come. Welcome back.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “The Swimming Song”
Video: Bruce Peninsula – “The Swimming Song”

On a less celebratory note, Vancouver’s You Say Party are going on an indefinite hiatus following a harder year than any group of people should have to endure. They’re being clear not to call it an ending, but taking some much-needed time off. And by way of going away gift, a pretty terrific new video from last year’s XXXX though I gotta say, a touch disappointed by the dearth of dancing midgets.

Video: You Say Party – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”

Pitchfork has details on the new Handsome Furs record Sound Kapital, which will be out on June 28. Grab the first MP3 in exchange for your email at their website.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a PS I Love You show in New York at the end of March.

The Leader-Post talks to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon about flying solo on his current cross-Canada tour along with Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees and Magali Meagher of The Phonemes. The tour is winding down now and will wrap on April 21 at The Tranzac in Toronto. He’s posted a quick summary of the jaunt so far and posted a radio session MP3.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “An Entanglement Of Weeds” (live on CHUO)

The Boston Herald introduces its readers to Shad. He plays a free show as part of the Jazz Festival at Metro Square on July 1.

The Colorado Springs Independent talks to Nate Query of The Decemberists, who’ve just released a new video from The King Is Dead.

Video: The Decemberists – “This Is Why We Fight”

NPR has a World Cafe session with DeVotchKa.

CBC has got a live in-studio performance video of Jeff Tweedy playing what will surely be one of Wilco’s new songs.

The Head & The Heart are gearing up for the release of their self-titled debut this Saturday by putting out a new video and streaming the whole thing.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Rivers & Roads”
Stream: The Head & The Heart / The Head & The Heart

Laura Ballance’s shiv-wielding, hard-drinking, fight-picking cat takes centre stage in the new Superchunk video from Majesty Shredding. Their vinyl reissue of Here’s Where The Strings Come In is at the top of my Record Store Day shopping list, and beyond the incentive of it being remastered and not being scratched to shit like my CD copy, it will come with a bunch of bonuses including acoustic demos and a download of The Clambakes Vol. 5: Cup of Clams live set circa 2003.

Video: Superchunk – “Crossed Wires”

Parts & Labor have released a new video from Constant Future; they play Parts & Labour tonight.

Video: Parts & Labor – “Echo Chamber”

Drowned In Sound sits down with Alan Sparhawk of Low for an interview, a song-by-song annotation of the just-released C’Mon and a video performance of one of the songs from the record. eMusic also has an interview with Sparhawk and Square with Mimi Parker. They are at The Mod Club on May 2 and have just released an Uncle Jesse-powered video from the album.

Video: Low – “Try To Sleep”

Beatroute and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Pixies. They’re at Massey Hall on April 18 and 19.

And the Soundgarden reunion which rather surprisingly didn’t saturate the festival circuit last year, is coming to town – they’ve a date at the Molson Amphitheatre for July 2, with fan club presale starting next Monday.

Video: Soundgarden – “Spoonman”

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Will Do

TV On The Radio discover PVR, able to release record and tour without missing favourite shows

Photo via FacebookFacebookIt’s been about two and a half years since TV On The Radio’s last effort, Dear Science, and in the interim they’ve had more than a few side projectsand some acting – to keep them occupied. But a break is only a break if you get back to it and so the Brooklynites have announced that they will release their fourth studio album Nine Types Of Light on April 12 and yesterday premiered the first track, “Will Do”, via a Seattle radio station – and for those out of FM transmission range of the Emerald city, it’s available to stream at Soundcloud. Going along with the album announcement and song debut is a Spring tour, which does include Toronto – they’ll be at the Sound Academy on April 18 with general admission tickets $26.50 and VIP $35, on sale Saturday.

Stream: TV On The Radio – “Will Do”

In other concert news, the sold out March 18 Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour date at The Horseshoe is no longer sold out and no longer at the Horseshoe – it’s been moved to Lee’s Palace, which means that a couple hundred more tickets or so are available. And tangentially, the info for tomorrow morning’s presale for the August 12 and 13 Trinity-St. Paul Jeff Mangum shows is now up at the Collective Concerts website (top right rail). Fingers at the ready.

Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have a date at The Horseshoe on April 14 in support of their new self-titled effort. Tickets for the show are $10 in advance. There’s an interview with bandleader Dylan Baldi at Exclaim, a watchable/downloadable session with the band up at Laundromatinee and a chat with the director of their new video at Spin.

MP3: Cloud Nothings – “Hey Cool Kid”
Video: Cloud Nothings – “Understand At All”

In the best band/venue pairing since Phoenix played The Phoenix, Parts & Labor’s upcoming Spring tour in support of Constant Future, out March 8, will hit Toronto on April 15 with a show at Parts & Labour. There’s also a second MP3 from the album now available to sample.

MP3: Parts & Labor – “Rest”

They were just here in November, but Junip are coming back to town for another show at Lee’s Palace on April 20.

MP3: Junip – “Rope & Summit”

Solo Super Furry Gruff Rhys has a new solo record in Hotel Shampoo, out May 3, and a North American tour in support which includes a June 11 date at The Horseshoe. The Norwich Evening News has an interview with Rhys.

MP3: Gruff Rhys – “Shark Ridden Waters”

Girl Talk has a date at the Sound Academy on July 8, tickets $30 general, $40 VIP. I suspect he could just hit “play” on All Day and go take a nap, and no one would complain.

Lyyke Li’s new record Wounded Rhymes is streaming in whole at Hype Machine in advance of its release on March 1. She plays The Phoenix May 22.

Stream: Lykke Li / Wounded Rhymes

Also streaming but already out and quite the hit is Adele’s second record 21. Interview, The Toronto Star and eye have features on the singer, who has a date at The Kool Haus on May 18.

Stream: Adele / 21

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Down By The Water

Review of The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead

Photo By Autumn de WildeAutumn de WildeIt’s odd to think that a band’s most direct and tuneful album might turn out to be its most divisive, but were you to survey a cross-section of Decemberists fans, it’s unlikely that “convention” would come up as what they love most about the Portland band. After all, this is a band who made their name with sea shanties, drama club videos, multi-part prog-rock epics and full-blown rock operas – hardly the standard template for pop music success, and yet it’s served the band well as they’ve built progressively their eccentricities up, using their folk roots and pop smarts as mortar, culminating in 2009’s grandiose The Hazards Of Love.

So with nowhere further to go on that trip, it was inevitable that they’d dial it back some for their next effort but the degree to which The King Is Dead retreats is pretty remarkable. You’d have to go back as far as their 2001 debut EP 5 Songs to find a collection of songs as countrified, direct and simply adorned as these, and even then Colin Meloy’s penchant for period-costume characters and storytelling sets the two bookends of their career (thus far) apart. While he remains an erudite and wordy lyricist, his quirkier narrative inclinations take a step back to allow the band’s musicianship and songcraft carry the day. And start to finish, this is probably The Decemberists’ most tasteful and accomplished record to date, given extra weight from vocal contributions by Gillian Welch and notable for the absence of the one or two compositional experiments that seemed mandatory on past efforts.

For most other bands, such a record would be an unqualified high-water mark but for The Decemberists it’s enough of a departure that the portion of their audience who love them for their idiosyncrasies might find it puzzling and/or disappointing – it’s not a perspective I necessarily agree with as the merits of The King Is Dead, irrespective of the rest of their catalog, are myriad, but it’s an understandable one. But for others who might have been turned off by the band’s indulgences in the past, it could be just the record they’ve been waiting for. Assuming that one waits for records from bands they’ve already been turned off of.

NPR, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal and MusicOmh have interviews with the band, whose record is out tomorrow and whose tour for the record commences next week – look for them at The Sound Academy in Toronto on February 1.

MP3: The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”

S. Carey chats with The AV Club and discusses his new video with Spin.

Video: S. Carey – “In The Dirt”

Mark Olson talks to NOW and Gary Louris to Spinner about the The Jayhawks reunion, which kicks off its tour tomorrow night at The Phoenix – the same day their deluxe reissues of Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass come out.

Daytrotter serves up a session with Iron & Wine, whose new record Kiss Each Other Clean is out next week.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Old 97s.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of the “Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500” at Maxwell’s in New Jersey from last week.

There’s a new video from Buffalo Tom’s forthcoming record Skins, due out February 15.

Video: Buffalo Tom – “Down”

Peter Buck tells NME he thinks quite highly of R.E.M.’s new record Collapse Into Now; the world will judge when it comes out on March 8 (or a couple weeks earlier when it leaks).

The Denver Post and Denver Westword have interviews with Liz Phair.

Parts & Labor are sharing the MP3 for the title track from their new record Constant Future, due out March 8.

MP3: Parts & Labor – “Constant Future”

Undercover discovers the statute of limitations on talking smack about former bandmates is up, as evidenced by this interview with Paul Banks of Interpol. They’re at The Sound Academy on February 15.

Washington City Paper recalls the heyday of The Dismemberment Plan.

Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present takes to The Guardian to offer The Flaming Lips some advice on how to successfully release a single a month for a year – after all, they did just that back in 1992 and included a b-side for each, no less. Of course, they didn’t write a song meant to be played on four iPhones simultaneously… The Lips have them beat there.

And oh yeah, Archers Of Loaf got back together for the first time in over a decade in Carrboro, North Carolina on Saturday night and it doesn’t feel like a one-off. If this is why we shouldn’t expect a new Crooked Fingers record before the end of the year, well, that’s okay then.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Noble Beast

Andrew Bird releases new album, hits the road

Photo By Cameron WittigCameron WittigAnother day, another example of my wanton disregard for traditional press cycles. In this case, it’s Chicago’s Andrew Bird and his 2007 release Armchair Apocrypha. There’s no good reason why I never wrote it up – it’s a fine record – but in my defense, the cardboard sleeve was really tough to get off the jewel case… However I’m not going to bother with a review now, if you want some endorsements head over to Metacritic. Instead, I’m going to look to the future.

In particular, January 20. That’s the date that his new album Noble Beast will be released, a week earlier than originally announced. It’ll be available in both a standard single-CD/double-LP form as well as a fancy pants deluxe edition that will include a second CD of instrumental compositions entitled Useless Creatures as well as an assortment of deluxe edition-worthy liner note goodies.

And another date – or set of dates – of note are those of his North American tour. The original February leg ran from the east coast of the US, through the south and up the west coast but those have now been augmented by a second batch covering the middle of American and extending into Canada, including an April 3 date at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

If you’re not familiar with Bird, imagine an individual who seems to be a virtuoso at every instrument he touches but is most noted for his violin and whistling skills. Oh, and who’s just as good as a singer and songwriter. And he’s a mesmerizing live performer. He’s probably also kind to animals and small children. It’s really kind of disgusting, if you think about it. Check out a track from his last album and his Live In Montreal record, also released last year.

MP3: Andrew Bird – “Heretics”
MP3: Andrew Bird – “Skin Is, My” (live)
MP3: Andrew Bird – “Why?” (live)
Video: Andrew Bird – “Imitosis”
MySpace: Andrew Bird

NOW and The Guelph Mercury talk to D’Urbervilles frontman John O’Regan. Congrats to Stephanie and Meghan who won the passes to the band’s two-night Rock Em Sock Em shows at the Tiger Bar on Friday and Saturday night.

Emily Haines of Metric talks to The Globe & Mail and JAM about the Jingle Bell Rock tour that brings them to the Sound Academy tomorrow and Saturday night – and congratulations to Michael and Greg, who won the passes to the Toronto shows. Vancouver ones are still up for grabs!

NPR talks to Parts & Labor.

Editors frontman Tom Smith uses reference points like “Terminator” and “Blade Runner” in describing their new album to BBC.

Billboard talks to Adele about where she wants to go with album number two. The Telegraph talks to her about finding success in America.

PJ Harvey will release a new album – another collaboration with John Parish – on March 30. The Quietus has details on the record, entitled A Woman A Man Walked By.

NME reports that Patrick Wolf is looking for investors to help finance his next album Battle. He’s hoping fans will buy 10-quid shares via and allow him to fulfill his vision of releasing a double album for next Spring.

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party reflects on the band’s eventful 2008 with BBC.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing a recording of The Wedding Present’s show in Cambridge, Massachusetts this past October.

The Skinny talks to Frightened Rabbit siblings Scott and Grant Hutchison, gets some questions answered by Scott.

4AD is closing out 2008 by offering a downloadable MP3 mix featuring songs from all their releases this year.

Some of you may recall my gushing about Phonogram back in January 2007, it being a thoroughly enjoyable blend of Britpop nostalgia and comic book fantasy. Well the second series, Phonogram: The Singles Club, went on sale this week and there’s a 6-page preview available over at Comic Book Resources. It looks great – I’m not waiting for the trade on this one.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Nowhere's Nigh

Parts & Labor, Ten Kens, Peter Project and Radius & Helena at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m not even kidding when I say that a typical Friday night for me usually wraps up sound asleep before midnight. Rock’n’roll lifestyle indeed. But I had been quite looking forward to seeing Brooklyn’s Parts & Labor, what with their latest album Receivers growing on me more with each listen, so instead of being properly crashed out from the week that was last Friday, I was at Sneaky Dee’s taking in a full lineup of local acts before the headliner.

Kicking things off were Radius & Helena, who just released their debut Precious Metals. Their angular, art-rock was in the vein of Sonic Youth or late-era Radiohead, though without the genius of either act. I don’t mean this as a slight – you can be plenty smart without being a genius – but R&H could stand to hone the pop side of their equation. After all, their stylistic forebears are as highly regarded as they are because they were able to take their inventiveness and restlessness and still make it (mostly) wholly listenable. Radius & Helena mostly were, as well, but there were a few points where something especially interesting caught my ear and hinted that there were better things yet to come.

Gears couldn’t have shifted more than they did when Peter Project took the stage next. The one-man act set up behind a bank of television monitors displaying the performance and old TV shows, and armed with a turntable and sampling pad, proceeded to craft a set of jazzy, ’60s-retro hip-hop grooves. Mostly instrumental save for a couple of guest raps (pre-recorded), it was unexpected and really enjoyable, like a nice respite of lounging in a sea of loud rock.

Rock which returned with Ten Kens, whom I’ve been curious about since hearing they’d signed to Fat Cat and were thus labelmates with the likes of The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit. And now, having seen and heard them, all I can say is that the label has much better talent scouts in Scotland than they do in Canada. Recalling ’90s post-grunge alt-rock when heavy guitars and angsty vocals were enough to build a career, they failed to deliver anything remotely engaging. They did apologize at the end of their set for some undetermined technical difficulties, so maybe their self-titled debut is more interesting, but I’ve no real interest in finding that out.

And finally, after long last and on the wrong side of 1AM, came Parts & Labor. And while they played one of the shortest sets of the night – maybe 35 minutes, tops – it was worth the wait. First, I’d like to go back to my review of Receivers and apologize to current drummer Joe Wong for suggesting that he wasn’t fully able to step into the shoes of departed drummer Christopher Weingarten. Wong’s live work was simply devastating. Pulverizing, precise and loud as fuck. It was great. And over top the din, his bandmates managed to recreate the dense sonics of Receivers and its predecessor Mapmaker, maintaining their frantic energy yet with most every detail and melody coming across loud and clear. Intense and awesome, and invigorating enough to get me back home, where I proceeded to sleep for the next nine and a half hours. Yessir.

The New Haven Register talks to Parts & Labor’s B.J. Warshaw about the bands shift towards the melodic over the last couple records.

Photos: Parts & Labor, Ten Kens, Peter Project, Radius & Helena @ Sneaky Dee’s – November 21, 2008
MP3: Parts & Labor – “Nowhere’s Nigh”
MP3: Parts & Labor – “Fractured Skies”
MP3: Parts & Labor – “A Great Divide”
MP3: Ten Kens – “Bearfight”
MP3: Peter Project – “Repetitive Stress Injury”
MP3: Radius & Helena – “What Gets In The Way Of Love”
MP3: Radius & Helena – “Commodore”
MP3: Radius & Helena – “The Thin Man”
Video: Parts & Labor – “The Gold We’re Digging”
Video: Ten Kens – “Bearfight”
Video: Ten Kens – “Y’all Come Back Now”
Video: Radius & Helena – “Commodore”
MySpace: Parts & Labor
MySpace: Ten Kens
MySpace: Radius & Helena

Billboard gets updates from Adam Schlesinger on the statuses of Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy, both of whom are in the midst of assembling new albums.

The Australian profiles Fleet Foxes.

Chart interviews Will Sheff of Okkervil River.

Jonathan Meiburg discusses leaving Okkervil for Shearwater with The Argus.

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner rides a Black Cab, covers Dylan.

Clash Q&As Death Cab For Cutie.

I didn’t really count their gig opening up for Broken Social Scene this Thursday as a proper make-up for the cancelled show at the end of September, so I’m glad to see that Land Of Talk have scheduled a show at the Horseshoe for January 15, tickets $10. Also on the bill, Zeroes and Little Scream.

I missed The Submarines the last time they came to town in May on account of my being in Europe at the time. And while I can’t totally predict what I’ll be doing in three months time, being at the Drake Underground on February 15 to see their return engagement seems like a fairly safe bet. Tickets for that show are $10.50.

MP3: The Submarines – “You, Me And The Bourgeoisie”
Video: The Submarines – “You, Me And The Bourgeoisie”

Aquarium Drunkard has a release date for volume one of Neil Young’s Archives. If the information is accurate and doesn’t change (as it has countless times already), the ten-disc set (DVD or Blu-Ray) will be available on January 27 of next year and run you in the ballpark of $350 or $450, depending on which format you prefer. Yeah. Neil is at the Air Canada Centre next Thursday and Friday, December 4 and 5.