Posts Tagged ‘Placebo’

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

These Are My Twisted Words

Radiohead chide internet, magnanimously give away free song

Photo By Kevin WestenbergKevin WestenbergThis has already been covered ad nauseum everywhere – I saw it mentioned in some washroom graffiti yesterday – but I think my music blogging license gets revoked or something if I don’t report on it and anyways, it’s quick and easy and allows me to spend the evening watching television.

Everyone was abuzz last week when a song that sounded too much like Radiohead to not be Radiohead began circulating online without any official comment from the band’s camp. Naturally, everyone went batshit – they’d already released a new tune last week and recent interviews implied that they were tired of the conventional album release model and had some fresh ideas on how they’d release future recordings, so the idea that this was just the tip of a Radiohead-sized iceberg wasn’t an unreasonable assumption. Adding fuel to the fire was the discovery of an URL in some ASCII artwork that accompanied the leaked track that pointed to, which in turn pointed to w.a.s.t.e., Radiohead’s official webstore. By end of day Friday, the consensus was that the band would be releasing a new EP or album entitled Wall Of Ice on Monday, all sneaky-like, and all the ills of the world would be cured. Pitchfork has a summary of all this if you seek more detail.

Anyways, Monday rolled around yesterday as it often does following Sundays and lo and behold, there was indeed a new Radiohead release available for free on their website. One song – “These Are My Twisted Words” – which was the exact one that had been circulating since Friday and which started all the brouhaha. It’s a good one, for sure, and alongside Harry Patch gives a tantalizing taste of where Radiohead are, creatively, but hardly the grand event many had been hoping for. And what about Well assuming that that is, in fact, a Radiohead-sanctioned site, it now scolds everyone for rumour-mongering and generally being the internet. So, it seems by completely ignoring all this hubub until now, I may the one and only online outlet to remain in Thom Yorke’s good graces. Nyah!

Anyways, assuming that the ‘Head are done messing with peoples’ heads is probably unwise. When they take their time off, they’re almost deathly silent, but when they get up to stuff, they get up to a lot.

ZIP: Radiohead – “These Are My Twisted Words”

Moving on.

Maximo Park frontman checks in from Germany with another tour diary dispatch for Spinner. Think their September 18 date at Lee’s Palace will merit an entry of its own? No, probably not.

Channel News Asia has an interview with Emmy The Great, who has been keeping Summer festival diaries for The Guardian and Clash.

The Horrors have released a new video from Primary Colours. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 14 and am hoping to score some decent tickets for the just-announced second Wilco show at Massey Hall on the 15th so I can see these guys the first night. Won’t be around for the presale tomorrow though – anyone want to grab me a ticket? I’m good for it, honest.

Video: The Horrors – “Mirror’s Image”

Also with a new video is Fanfarlo, who bring their delightful Reservoir album to North America on October 6. Paste declared them one of their “Best of what’s next for 2009” and they’re not wrong.

Video: Fanfarlo – “The Walls Are Coming Down”

Arctic Monkeys insist to BBC that their new album Humbug, out August 25, is not more “mature”. They are at the Kool Haus on September 29.

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, whose New Worlds will be out in the UK on October 19.

The Times has a profile on Patrick Wolf.

NME reports that Placebo have canceled their entire upcoming North American tour in support of Battle For The Sun, including the October 6 date at the Sound Academy in Toronto, while frontman Brian Molko recovers from a virus contracted in Asia. Sidestepping joke about hoping Molko gets real drugs and not fake ones…. now.

The Boston Globe talks to Richard Thompson about his new box set Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009, which is out today. You can stream a sample of songs from the collection at Spinner.

Stream: Richard Thompson / Walking On A Wire (selections)

If you ever wondered exactly what you were getting when you paid for “remastered” reissues, check out this absurdly detailed report on what was done for the upcoming Beatles remasters, coming out September 9. I’m no big advocate of buying the same records over and over again, but if you’re a Beatles fan, these may well be worth the dosh.

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

A United Theory

Review of Stuart Murdoch's God Help The Girl

Photo via godhelpthegirl.comGod Help The GirlI’ll not presume to speak for other Belle & Sebastian fans, but when word came out that Stuart Murdoch was putting the Scottish septet on hiatus to work on a film/stage/musical project, I couldn’t help but be concerned. After all, hiatuses, solo projects and retrospective compilations – last year’s BBC Sessions – don’t usually augur well for the future of a band going forwards.

The future of Belle & Sebastian aside, one can’t help but look on the results of Murdoch’s efforts, manifested as God Help The Girl (the band) and God Help The Girl (the album) – there’s also a “God Help The Girl” (the song) – and be impressed. In recruiting three new female voices to help him fulfill his dream of crafting a set of songs sung from a woman’s perspective and framed in a more orchestral, theatrical context, Murdoch has managed to create a record that’s as familiar and accessible to long-time fans as any new Belle & Sebastian record would have been, but also different enough from the day job to justify its completely separate identity. Though a couple of B&S songs appear here in reimagined form, it’s hard to imagine some of these tunes being done justice by the band. That’s no knock on Sarah Martin, but God Help The Girl demands a certain boldness and brassiness that’s simply not her forte.

Though recent Irish emigree Catherine Ireton takes lead vocals on the majority of tracks and does a lovely job, it’s the wide range of voices throughout the record – The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, Smoosh’s Asya and Murdoch himself contribute memorable turns – and the rich, string-laden arrangements, courtesy of B&S’ Mick Cooke, that make God Help The Girl such a success. The best songs soar to the same heights as anything Murdoch has ever done and the lesser moments drift amiably by, perhaps needing the visual narrative elements to which they were intended to work properly. That said, I’m not actually sure I’d want to see a filmic version of the record come to light – there’s something special about a soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist and in a less fluffy sense, I worry that without a proper production budget it’d not look as good as it should and thus detract from the overall experience. They did a pretty nice job on the videos so far, though, so perhaps these concerns are unfounded. Either way, even if God Help The Girl doesn’t ever become the multi-platform, multimedia juggernaut that Murdoch envisions, it will remain the unexpectedly attractive second cousin in the Belle & Sebastian family portrait, itself a pretty good-looking clan to begin with.

In this interview with eMusic, Murdoch provides a rough outline of the album’s storyline and says that the film already has a big-time Hollywood producer attached but that work will probably not begin in earnest until the next Belle & Sebastian record is done, with the band coming off hiatus towards the end of this year. Paste has made this month’s cover feature on Stuart Murdoch available online, and Magnet plays over/under with the Belle & Sebastian song catalog.

MP3: God Help The Girl – “Come Monday Night”
MP3: God Help The Girl – “Funny Little Frog”
MP3: God Help The Girl – “Mary’s Market”
Video: God Help The Girl – “Funny Little Frog”
Video: God Help The Girl – “Come Monday Night”
MySpace: God Help The Girl

Asia One talks to Emmy The Great.

MP3: Emmy The Great – “We Almost Had A Baby” (Simon Raymonde mix)

Uncensored has an interview with Polly Scattergood.

State and The List talk to The Horrors, who will be at Lee’s Palace on October 14.

The National Post, and The Singing Lamb get some time with Zach Condon of Beirut, while The Singing Lamb also says hello to tourmates The Dodos. Both are in town tonight for a mega-sold out show at the Phoenix.

Never one who could be accused of being a workaholic, Hope Sandoval will release her second album with The Warm Intentions, aka Colm O’Coisig of My Bloody Valentine, on September 1. Entitled Through The Devil Softly, it will be followed by North American touring this Fall and according to Rolling Stone, there’s another Mazzy Star album in the works.

MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – “Blanchard”

I’m still waiting for Seattle’s Throw Me The Statue to name an album And I’ll Throw You The Whip, but it hasn’t happened yet. Their new one is called Creaturesque and will be released August 4 – look for them at a venue to be announced in Toronto on August 30.

MP3: Throw Me The Statue – “Ancestors”

Sondre Lerche is at the Mod Club on September 16 in support of his new record Heartbeat Radio, out September 8. Details and dates at Billboard.

Placebo have a new record in Battle For The Sun and are touring to support – look for them at the Sound Academy on October 6. The Star has a conversation with Brian Molko about making the new record.

Video: Placebo – “Battle For The Sun”

Echo & The Bunnymen will bring their orchestrally-enhanced live rendering of Ocean Rain to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 20. Tickets on sale Saturday for $65. Yowch.

Video: Echo & The Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon”

Jeremy Jay will be in town on November 8 at a venue to be announced.

MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Beautiful Rebel”

Billy Bragg, still touring on last year’s Mr Love & Justice, will be touring across Canada this Fall, including a date at the Phoenix on November 17.

MP3: Billy Bragg – “I Keep Faith”