Posts Tagged ‘Pink Mountaintops’

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Saturation Complete

Fresh Snow and Mimico at The Boat in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t spend nearly as much time in the clubs scouting out new local acts as I used to – and relative to some who do this, I never spent that much time on that beat anyways – but last Thursday night at The Boat, I was reminded of what I liked and disliked about it. The “dislike” basically comes down to set times that always run at least a half hour and more likely an hour behind and thus being out far later than I’d like, the generally terrible venue lighting, and the greater than usual odds of seeing music that just doesn’t do anything for you. And under “like”, you’ve really only got one point – the prospect of seeing something great emerge before your eyes and ears.

That wasn’t really the case with Mimico, whom I arrived in time to see but would have missed had things been running on time. The stuff I’d listened to from their self-titled EP wasn’t bad in a rough, Kraftwerk-y post-punk sort of way but they couldn’t translate it live. Perhaps if they’d had their MIA drummer, it’d have been more engaging but as a two-piece synth-guitar duo playing over tinny drum machine patterns, it was far more meandering and failed to come together. But the recordings are pretty good for what they are, so I’ll not write them off yet.

I actually shouldn’t pretend that I was simply out scouting for new blood on this night; I’d covered Fresh Snow in this year’s NXNE coverage and had seen them play a couple times in Spring 2012, when they were a much greener act – so decidedly known quantities. But the occasion of the release of their debut album I merited another writeup because a) the album is really quite good, and b) I needed something to blog about.

To the former point, the shorthand on Fresh Snow is that they’re an instrumental, kinda post-Krautrock band – and it’s true that they like the drone and the noise in equal measure. But sandwiched between I‘s bookends of “French Horse Hall Of Fame” and “Saturation Complete” – which amount to almost 30 minutes of the a glorious combination thereof – they also get positively pop (“Helix Pass”) and show off a deft touch for dreamy ambience (“Los Vientos Del Tempo”) en route to a solid initial statement. It’s made up of a lot of things you’ve heard before, but taken as the big picture, there’s enough dynamics and ideas that the Fresh Snow ethos feels remarkably original.

As for the show, it wasn’t far removed from the NXNE performance. Their instrumental intro took too long to coalesce into something coherent, but once they got their feet under them it was full steam ahead. For the numbers of synths they had on stage, they spent much of the show in a decidedly conventional guitar-bass-drums (plus violin) configuration that offered all the loud and driving rockists could want and made for a solid wrestling match of control and chaos. A few interruptions in the flow of the show – though nothing like the power outages in June – kept it from becoming the fully hypnotic experience it could have and should been, but as a record release and coming out party, it was an impressive one.

Photos: Fresh Snow, Mimico @ The Boat – August 8, 2013
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “BMX Based Tactics”
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Stream: Mimico / Mimico

Snowblink reveals to NOW that their next release will be a death-themed covers EP called I Am a Hall Of Fame; Post City also has an interview. They play BLK BOX as part of the Summerworks music series on August 14.

MTV is streaming four tracks from Mass:Light, the new solo record from Murray Lightburn; it’ll be out August 20. EastScene also has an interview with the Dears frontman.

Braids are streaming another track from Flourish//Perish, though with its August 20 release date just around the corner, expect the whole thing to start streaming any moment now. They play BLK BOX on November 10.

Stream: Braids – “Freund”

NME introduces their readers to Diana, just in time for the August 20 release of Perpetual Surrender. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Fucked Up have been announced as the musical guests for the September 5 edition of First Thursdays at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, an event which will also feature a live video chat with artist Ai Wei Wei.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”

NPR is streaming one of two new Stars songs which will be released as a 7″ single on September 10.

Stream: Stars – “Wishful” and Beatroute have interviews with Louise Burns, who supports Lightning Dust at The Drake Underground on September 10.

The Chicago Tribune and Metro get to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

Islands have premiered a second taste of their new album Ski Mask via Spin ahead of its September 17 release, while Chart also has a video session. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Stream: Islands – “Becoming The Gunship”

Folks looking for an excuse to hang out in the park before Autumn well and truly rolls around should know about the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, happening on September 21 and 22 at Christie Pits and featuring live music from the likes of The Golden Dogs, Memoryhouse, and Beams and two special secret headliners who – let’s face it – are almost sure to be Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Unless they’re not.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Travel Time”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Stereogum has an interview with Katie Stelmanis of Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Run Riot talks to Basia Bulat about her new record Tall Tall Shadow; it’s out October 1 and she plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has announced details of their second album as well as sharing the first track, and Pitchfork is on it. Uzu will be out on October 29.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Arcade Fire haven’t announced the title of their new album, out October 29, but the internet rumour mill is saying Reflektor and this website is certainly Arcade Fire-y in its crypticness. They’re less coy about the fact that they’re also scoring the new Spike Jonze film Her, because Pitchfork said so.

Dan Bejar is taking Destroyer back on the road this Fall with Pink Mountaintops as support but without a band. He’ll be exploring his songbook in solo style and also promises some new songs in the mix. Exclaim has full dates and details, including a November 9 date at The Great Hall.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Spin has premiered the new (and first?) video from Born Ruffians’ latest album Birthmarks. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Needle”

Rose Cousins has released a new video from last year’s wonderful We Have Made A Spark.

Video: Rose Cousins – “For The Best”

Evening Hymns have posted a complete livestream of a show in Kelowna, British Columbia last week. There’s also interviews with Jonas Bonetta at The Gate and The Edmonton Journal.

Chad VanGaalen fills in Exclaim on what he’s been up to.

Jim Guthrie road trips down to NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert.

Earshot interviews Gold & Youth.

Dan Boeckner talks to Exclaim about his new project Operators, which he’ll presumably be more focused on once Britt Daniel puts Divine Fits on the back burner to concentrate on the next Spoon record.

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

I Do Sing For You

Majical Cloudz streams debut Impersonator; has no use for your so-called “spelling”

Photo By Denis NazarovDenis NazarovThough at least some of his current profile comes from being associated with the same Montreal scene that produced Grimes, those expecting more electro-pop cotton candy from Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz had best adjust their expectations. His full-length debut Impersonator is electronic, yes, but is also spare, haunting, and unflinchingly emotional, circling heavy lyrical topics like death and desire. One would expect that at the Matador company picnic, he’ll be keeping more company with Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius than, say, Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch.

Even so, Impersonator is one of the more eagerly-anticipated debut records coming out of Canada this year, and with its May 21 release date almost upon us, it’s time for an advance stream of the record courtesy of Pitchfork. There’s also interviews with Welsh at Stereogum and Flavorwire, and while the venue is still TBA, he’ll be one of the bigger draws at NXNE on June 15. Update: It’s BLK BOX underneath The Great Hall.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Turns Turns Turns”
Stream: Majical Cloudz / Impersonator

And a few noteworthy album streams originating from right here in Toronto: Exclaim is streaming the self-titled debut from glam/New Wave outfit Decades, though they should technically be called “Decade” since the only one that matters to them is the ’80s. The record came out this week and they play a record release show for it at The Garrison tonight, May 16.

Stream: Decades / Decades

Hooded Fang are streaming their new record Gravez over at Hype Machine ahead of its May 28 release date. They play a hometown record release show for it at The Horseshoe on May 31.

Stream: Hooded Fang / Gravez

Local country-pop newcomers Beams have made their debut album Just Rivers available to both buy and stream. There’s a video session with the band at Exclaim and they’ll be at The Central on June 14 for NXNE.

Stream: Beams / Just Rivers

Exclaim and NOW find out what METZ are up to, besides making a triumphant homecoming at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night, May 17; expect a new song and video sooner rather than later.

Young Galaxy have released another new video from Ultramarine. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Fall For You”

Daytrotter welcomes Hayden for a session. He’s at Field Trip at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Noisey has a video session with Stars, also partaking in Field Trip on June 8.

With their debut album Beyond Wilderness out as of this week, Vancouver’s Gold & Youth have released a new video from it and are the subject of feature pieces at Exclaim, The Georgia Straight, and The Vancouver Sun. They play the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8 and will stick around town to play a NXNE showcase at BLK BOX on June 14.

Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with No Joy, who are back in town at BLK BOX on June 13 for NXNE.

Stereogum talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose second album Olympia is out June 18.

Diana are poised to become Toronto’s next great synth-pop export, having signed a deal with Paper Bag Records and Jagjaguwar for the August 20 release of their self-titled debut. Exclaim has details and a new video from the record. All of this is very exciting, of course, but sadly probably means that we won’t be seeing anything anytime soon from frontwoman Carmen Elle’s Army Girls. Alas. Diana have a June 13 showcase at The Horseshoe for NXNE and will support Tegan & Sara and fun. at Downsview Park on July 6.

Video: Diana – “Born Again”

It sounds as though The Hidden Cameras will release a new record this Fall under the title of Age.

Exclaim and The Verge talk to Jim Guthrie about his years in the making yet totally worth the wait new record, Takes Time.

Exclaim has an interview with The Besnard Lakes. Frontman Jace Lasek also details his dream band lineup for The Independent.

Beatroute and Austinist interview Suuns.

Stephen McBean talks to Exclaim about what’s coming next from his Pink Mountaintops project.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

I Hate Summer

Fucked Up dig in for a Long Winter

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne thing I’ve never understood about the festive season: all the pop cultural gestures we use to celebrate the Winter – the songs, the movies, what have you – are invariably pegged to Christmas or thereabouts, and that’s basically all over a week after the season formally begins. Which means we spend the next three months mired in dark, snowy, slushy despair with no sort of mental respite whatsoever.

Fucked Up apparently understand, and are trying to do something about it with what they’ve dubbed Long Winter. Not, as the name might imply, a John Roderick collaboration – though come on how awesome would that be – but a concert series that vaguely follows in the footsteps of last year’s holiday season charity twonight stand at The Great Hall.

It’s being described as, “a monthly night of immersive and interactive music, installations, visual art, readings, food, and dance to help Toronto get through our long and cold Winter” and the first edition goes November 9 at The Great Hall – circle December 14, January 11, and February 8 for subsequent editions – and will feature live performances from Fucked Up – natch – as well as Diana, the disco-pop intersection of Army Girls’ Carmen Elle and Destroyer’s Joseph Shabason, and pre-teen rockers Unfinished Business. Admission is pay what you can.

BlogTO talked to Fucked Up’s Mike Haliechuk about what they hope to do with the series. He also talked about it with Exclaim back in September when the broad strokes of the series was first announced.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”
MP3: DIANA – “Born Again”

The release of Diamond Rings’ second album Free Dimensional is almost upon us, and Hype Machine has the record streaming in its entirety before it’s out next Tuesday. The hometown release show for the record goes November 29 at The Mod Club and there’s interviews at The Columbia Tribune, Idolator, Exclaim, and Death & Taxes.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”
Stream: Diamond Rings / Free Dimensional

Toronto’s blues-punk outfit July Talk are have just released their self-titled debut and are streaming the whole thing over at Exclaim. They’re at The Horseshoe tomorrow night, October 19.

Stream: July Talk / July Talk

Vancouver’s Pink Mountaintops are heading out on a Fall tour that hits The Garrison on December 11, tickets $15.

MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Rock’N’Roll Fantasy”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “New Drug Queens”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Patrick Watson.

Clash has a feature piece on Cold Specks, who has been added as support for Adam Cohen at Trinity-St. Paul’s on October 25.

The Halifax Chronicle Herald talks to Purity Ring, whose song featuring Danny Brown which was made available to stream a little while ago is now available to download, if carrying it around is your speed. Also, their February 1 show at The Phoenix has just been mad an all-ages affair – celebrate/despair as you see fit.

MP3: Purity Ring w Danny Brown – “Belispeak II”

Neil Young has popped another video out of Psychedelic Pill, which is October 30. He rides Crazy Horse into The Air Canada Centre on November 19.

Video: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Twisted Road”

Friday, October 16th, 2009

1, 2, 3, Partyy!

Mission Of Burma keep the party going

Photo By Kelly DavidsonKelly DavidsonWhile another hugely influential ’80s Boston-bred band that many thought would never return to active duty may get more attention, Mission Of Burma have been much more productive in their second tour of duty, managing to tend to their legacy with proper reissues of Vs and Signals, Calls & Marches while adding to it with three impeccable albums in the past five years, the latest being The Sound, The Speed, The Light, released last week.

Like their other 21st-century releases ONoffON and The Obliterati, Sound is a collection of bludgeoning post-punk, all strangled vocals and razor-sharp guitar riffs on top of tunes that are just melodic enough to keep the pop-attuned such as myself interested, but angular enough to keep the listener off-balance and a bit uncomfortable. It’s really remarkable that after all this time, Mission Of Burma are still crafting records that can not only stand tall alongside those 25-year old classics but still sound utterly fresh and unlike anything else out there.

Blurt has an interview with basssit Clint Conley and Matablog notes that the city of Boston officially declared last Sunday “Mission Of Burma Day”. There was a proclamation and everything.

And because sometimes people forget they send me stuff and send it again, courtesy of Matador, I have an extra copy of The Sound, The Speed, The Light on CD to give away. If you want it, email me at contests AT with “I want Mission Of Burma” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. Contest is open to anyone, anywhere, and closes in a week at midnight, October 23.

MP3: Mission Of Burma – “1, 2, 3, Partyy!”
Video: Mission Of Burma – “1, 2, 3, Partyy!”

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show with White Rabbits, who have a date at the Horseshoe next Saturday night, October 24.

Spinner and The Santa Barbara Independent chat with Thao about her new record Know Better Learn Faster, from which a new video has just been premiered at Stereogum. Thao is currently on tour in support of the record and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on November 1. If you’re at any of the tour dates, and you should be, you’ll likely see a table from Oxfam there – Thao explains why.

Video: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down – “When We Swam”

Paste gets to know Volcano Choir, whose principal Justin Vernon just put his last project Bon Iver on hiatus. But you can stream or download their last show for the foreseeable future at Radio Milwaukee.

NPR is streaming a session with Wye Oak.

The Georgia Straight and talk to A Place To Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackerman. Their new album Exploding Head is out now and they’re at the Mod Club on October 27.

BlogTO, The AV Club, Vue and Uptown have interviews with Amy Millan.

NOW has a feature piece on Two Hours Traffic, who play an in-store at Soundscapes tonight at 5PM in advance of their proper show at Lee’s Palace. has debuted the new video from The Dears, but settle in – it’s a long one.

Video: The Dears – “Saviour (Then Disclaimer)”

They Shoot Music has posted a video session with Pink Mountaintops.

Holy Fuck have been added as support for Phoenix at the Sound Academy on December 5. Is that enough to persuade y’all to go down to the Sound Academy? Didn’t think so.

Paste‘s list of the 15 best TV shows canceled before their time basically reads like a litany of my favourite shows of the past decade or so. It’s official, I am the television kiss of death. Look out, Bored To Death – you’re on notice.

Thursday, August 13th, 2009


Two Hours Traffic mark their Territory

Photo By Scott MunnScott MunnIt’s been a pretty lousy Summer, not just for myself and many I know, but for anyone who prefers theirs to be warm, sunny and generally not perpetually cloudy and rain-soaked. It’s only been this week that we’ve gotten some proper heat (accompanied by massive thunderstorms, sure), and I can’t believe that it’s just coincidence that the weather has improved just as Prince Edward Island’s finest, Two Hours Traffic, are gearing up for the release of their second album Territories on September 8.

They shared an MP3 of the title track last month, but have now followed that up with not only a first video, but a stream of the entire record on their website. And a couple of listens verifies that name of the record notwithstanding, the quartet haven’t gone out and explored much new ground with their sophomore effort. This is not a complaint. Little Jabs was note-perfect power pop infused with the optimism of youth and while Territory‘s shoulders inevitably sag a bit more from the weight of age and experience, its still got hooks and harmonies to spare.

Two Hours Traffic built their nationwide fanbase the old fashioned way – touring, touring and more touring – and as previously reported, they’re totally doing it again. Torontonians can catch them on October 16 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”
Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Happiness Burns”
Stream: Two Hours Traffic / Territories
MySpace: Two Hours Traffic

Young Galaxy have prepared their second album Invisible Republic for release on August 25 and will follow that up with a show at the Drake Underground on September 10.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Long Live The Fallen World”

In town for the Polaris Music Prize awards gala on September 21, where he surely hopes to take home the giant cheque, Chad Van Gaalen will play a show at the Church Of The Redeemer on September 19 with Castlemusic as support. The show is all-ages and tickets are $20 in advance. The Quietus has an interview with Van Gaalen.

MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “City Of Electric Light”
MP3: Castlemusic – “Heaven”

And now’s as good a time as any to mention Van Gaalen’s electronic-oriented alter-ego/side-project Black Mold, whose debut album Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz was released this week. If you thought the musical fruits of Van Gaalen’s day job were too aimless or meandering… stay away.

MP3: Black Mold – “Metal Spider Webs”
MP3: Black Mold – “Tetra Pack Heads”

And speaking of staying away, if you like your vocalists clean and pristine, you’ll want to not be at the Horseshoe on October 1 (and you’ll probably be at Lee’s for Sufjan Stevens anyways). But if you like a little/lot of grit and whiskey in the mix, then the ‘Shoe is where it’s at as that night it’ll host a double-bill of Bruce Peninsula and Sunparlour Players.

MP3: Sunparlour Players – “Battle Of 77”
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”

Spinner and The Vancouver Sun talk to Murray Lightburn of The Dears.

Pink Mountaintops have rolled out a new video from Outside Love.

Video: Pink Mountaintops – “Execution”

Also under new videos – the volcano-themed clip for Ohbijou’s “New Year”!

Video: Ohbijou – “New Year”

Exclaim reports that Neil Young will be making a free appearance at Yonge-Dundas Square on September 14 to mark the appearance of the Jonathan Demme-helmed concert doc Neil Young Trunk Show at the Toronto International Film Festival. And yeah, he’s probably bringing his guitar. Joan Baez will do the same on September 18.