Posts Tagged ‘Parts & Labor’

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Prefix Free

Review of Parts & Labor's Receivers

Photo By Francesca TalloneFrancesca TalloneThe most striking thing about Parts & Labor’s last record Mapmaker, even more than the massively buzzing wall of synths, unrelentingly anthemic songwriting or Dan Friel’s more Bob Mould than Bob Mould vocals – it was the maniacally propulsive drumming of Christopher Weingarten. His breakneck tempos kept the entire record at the very brink of either taking off into orbit or utterly collapsing under itself. So with him having left the band after that record, it was reasonable to question whether their new album Receivers would be able to measure up to Mapmaker‘s adrenaline rush?

And in measures of pure energy, the answer is no. New drummer Joe Wong is hardly a slouch but he doesn’t play at full throttle in the same way as his predecessor, and accordingly the record is less relentless and chaotic, but also more tuneful. The addition of Wong and also second guitarist Sarah Lipstate have shifted the personality of Parts & Labor sufficiently that trying to directly compare the two records (as I’ve been doing) isn’t really appropriate. In terms of analogies, if Mapmaker-era Parts & Labor was Husker Du, then the Receivers era can be likened to Sugar. Hell, the none-more-pop of “Nowhere’s Nigh” sounds like it could have been taken straight off Copper Blue, like the mash-up of “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” and “Helpless”, rendered in keyboard. Which, incidentally, qualifies it as maybe one of my favourite songs of the year.

Rest assured, Mapmaker fans, Parts & Labor haven’t mellowed out. Receivers still buzzes and wails in all the right places – it simply trades a few BPMs and a few notches of cacaphony for a bucketful of melody, and that’s a trade I’d make any day. They’ll still make your fist pump and your head bob. It may simply not hurt quite as much the next morning.

The band are currently on tour and will be in Toronto on November 21 for a show at Sneaky Dee’s. Bassist BJ Warshaw talks to The San Francisco Bay Guardian and Spinner about the band’s solicitation of found sounds from their fans to use on the album while Friel covers similar ground for Tuscon Weekly.

MP3: Parts & Labor – “Nowhere’s Nigh”
MySpace: Parts & Labor

Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy discusses the band’s next album Tonight with Drowned In Sound. The album is out January 27 and they’re playing Lee’s Palace on December 4.

Brendan Canning has released another video from Something For All Of Us…. He and the rest of Broken Social Scene will be at the Sound Academy on November 27 and 28.

Video: Brendan Canning – “Churches Under The Stairs”

Also with a new video are Death Cab For Cutie.

Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “No Sunlight”

NPR is streaming The Decemberists’ show in Philadelphia from last week. They’re currently in the midst of releasing the three volumes of their Always the Bridesmaid vinyl single series and are targeting an April release for their next proper album, Hazards Of Love.

It’s still just Fall but if looking ahead to Winter (note I didn’t say “looking forward to” because that’d just be madnesS), one of the acts for next year’s WinterCity festival has been announced. On February 7, The Stills will play a free show to the huddled, freezing masses at Nathan Phillips Square. No word yet who’ll do the same on January 30. Looking a little more short-term, they’ve got four nights at the Danforth Music Hall starting tonight.

New York’s Longwave release their fourth album and first in three years today – Secrets Are Sinister is streaming in its entirety at Spinner.

Stream: Longwave / Secrets Are Sinister

And also streaming and out today is The Sound Of The Smiths, the umpteenth compilation of The Smiths.

Stream: The Smiths / The Sound Of The Smiths

And finally, over at Spin, they’ve got the whole of Just Like Heaven, the Cure tribute album due out on January 27. There’s some commentary from the particpating artists over here.

Stream: Just Like Heaven: A Tribute To The Cure

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

With NEW Hat!

Welcome to Chromewaves v7.5

Image via Simpsons Viewer Top 8And there we go. This is what I’ve been giving myself headaches over the last few days, dragging this here blog kicking and screaming from the horribly out of date CMS that I’ve been using for the last six years into a sleek, shiny and – most importantly – supported new system. I’ve been meaning to move to WordPress for ages but was daunted by the sheer scope of the task.

And so I must give profuse and immeasurable thanks to Ryan from The Catbirdseat for helping me with almost all the heavy lifting, including migrating over the entirety of my archives from the old system. You have no idea how big a deal that is. As it is, the old posts will remain up as there’s also six years worth of links to them, but they also all exist in the new system. Eventually I hope to come up with some manner of system to repoint all of those old links, but for the meantime, we’ll just run in parallel.

While you probably won’t see or experience much different – if everything works as it should, the only difference you should notice are the slightly changed cosmetics – but rest assured that under the hood is a very different beast. Moving to WordPress also means that I potentially have many more plugins at my disposal to play with and as we move forward, I’ll be doing so but for the immediate term, I’ll just be happy if nothing is horribly broken. I’ve tested a fair bit, but there’ll surely be some weirdness here and there that’ll need to be dealt with. If you find anything amiss, please email me or leave a comment telling me about it.

But enough about me. Here’s some links.

The Black Cab Sessions welcomes Jens Lekman to perform, what else, “Black Cab”.

Boston Music Spotlight and Express Night Out talk to Sam Fogarino of Magnetic Morning, who will play the Horseshoe this Thursday night October 23.

Matt Kadane of The New Year shuffles his ancient iPod for The AV Club.

Yuki Chikudate of Asobi Seksu talks to Chart about losing their second rhythm section in as many albums before the recording of their new one Hush, due in February.

Parts & Labor’s new album Receivers is out today, and is streaming at Spinner. They’re at Sneaky Dee’s on November 21.

MP3: Parts & Labour – “Nowhere’s Nigh”
Stream: Receivers

Also out today and streaming is Missiles, the new one from The Dears. They’ve also released the first video from said record.

Stream: The Dears / Missiles
Video: The Dears – “Money Babies”

While I’m wholly enthused for tonight’s Frightened Rabbit/Spinto Band show at Lee’s, I’m a twinge regretful that I can’t be at The Horseshoe at the same time for the free White Lies show. I keep hearing good things about the London trio, including being declared by SPIN as one of the hottest bands at CMJ this week – I may try to catch them in New York, but I fear the show may exceed my hipster tolerance levels and there’d be violence. Bassist Charles Cave wrote about their recent experience at Iceland Airwaves for The Guardian. Their Death EP is out today.

MP3: White Lies – “Death” (Crystal Castles remix)
Video: White Lies – “Death”
Video: White Lies – “Unfinished Business”

Black Mountain main man Stephen McBean brings his other band – Pink Mountaintops – to the Drake Underground on November 7, tickets $10.