Posts Tagged ‘Presets’

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Mutual Core

It’s the return of Björk to Toronto, starring Björk. And maybe you. But definitely Björk.

Photo By Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh MatadinInez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh MatadinIt might seem like Björk doesn’t tour much anymore – after all, it’s been nearly five years since she was last here headlining V Fest 2007 in support of Volta, but that was actually her last album before 2011’s Biophilia. So besides the fact that she’s been working at a slower pace than when the ’90s triumvirate of Debut/Post/Homogenic made her one of the most unconventional pop stars of Alternative Nation, there’s also the demands of raising a family, and anyways – if you could live here just watching TED talks or in hotels on the road watching ESPN, where would you rather hang out?

In any case, Biophilia initially came with an ambitious slate of live shows, but the preference for more intimate, in-the-round, month-long residencies over conventional shows limited the cities that could host her to the likes of New York, Paris, and Manchester and even if there were intentions of adding more cities, the need for vocal polyp surgery last Fall would have probably ixnayed those. All of which is to say, yes Björk has been away for a while but she’s not forgotten us – as I speculated last month, she is indeed making a stop between already-announced engagements at Ottawa Bluesfest and Pitchfork Festival, and will be at Echo Beach on July 16 with whatever wild, weird, and wonderful show she’s put together for this North American jaunt.

Tickets for the show are $64.50 and $85.00 for VIP, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got one pair of passes to the show to give away before the regular onsale happens this Thursday morning at 10AM. To enter, email me at with “I want to see Bjork” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, April 3. Yes, that’s tomorrow night. Winners will be informed before the general on-sale goes live.

MP3: Björk – “Verandi”
MP3: Björk – “It’s In Our Hands”
MP3: Björk – “Cosmogony”
Video: Björk – “Mutual Core” (in Times Square)

Titus Andronicus have announced a May 2 date at Lee’s Palace in support of last year’s Local Business. Yes they’ve already been through for that one and yes, they’ll probably be back yet again before all is said and done. And you know why? Because people keep going. Tickets for this show are $18.50 in advance.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Ecce Homo”

Australia’s Presets are coming back to town behind last year’s Pacifica with a date at The Danforth Music Hall on May 10, tickets $25 plus attendant fees.

Video: The Presets – “Promises”

A PSA that the Marina & The Diamonds/Charli XCX show originally scheduled for May 23 at the Sound Academy has been moved to Echo Beach, a development that will probably be welcomed by everyone unless it rains, in which case it will be cursed. Noisey talks to Charli XCX about her debut album True Romance, due out April 15, and Consequence Of Sound has a stream of one of the new songs off of it.

Video: Marina & The Diamonds – “How To Be A Heartbreaker”
Stream: Charli XCX – “What I Like”

British rockers The Boxer Rebellion have announced a North American tour in support of their new album Promises, out May 14, and will be at The Opera House in Toronto on May 24, tickets $18.50. They talked to Billboard about what to expect from the new album.

MP3: The Boxer Rebellion – “No Harm”
Video: The Boxer Rebellion – “Diamonds”

With their new album Ultramarine ready for an April 16 release, Young Galaxy have made a May 31 date at Lee’s Palace to celebrate its release, tickets $15. The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with the band.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

Marking the physical release of last Fall’s Heavyweight EP, Rachael Yamagata will be in town at The Mod Club on June 4 as part of her Dealbreaker Tour, tickets $16.50 in advance.

Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Even If I Don’t”

Perhaps realizing that the royalties from the Veronica Mars movie won’t start rolling in for a while, The Dandy Warhols have announced a lace anniversary tour for the only record of theirs anyone ever really cared about and will play Thirteen Tales Of Urban Bohemia in its entirety at The Phoenix on June 5, tickets $32.50.

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Bohemian Like You”

Rancid will headline the Avenues and Alleways Fest at Echo Beach on June 12, featuring all manner of Rancid-approved punk bands. Tickets for that are $35 in advance.

Video: Rancid – “Ruby Soho”

British soul-funk saviours The Heavy have made a return engagement in support of last year’s The Glorious Dead; they’ll be at The Phoenix on June 19, tickets $17.50.

Video: The Heavy – “What Makes A Good Man”

Barely making himself scarce after being pretty much everywhere during Canadian Musicfest, Mac DeMarco will be at The Hoxton on June 30, tickets $14.

MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Freaking Out The Neighbourhood”

A second official batch of NXNE acts was announced last week, with notable names including punk vets Social Distortion, who will be headlining the free Yonge-Dundas Square show on the Thursday night, confirmation of Big Boi doing the same on the Sunday, Coeur de Pirate making her first appearance post-motherhood, and Fucked Up doing their thing at The Horseshoe on the Saturday night. Also likely to be a hot ticket is Montreal’s Majical Cloudz, recently signed to Matador for the May 21 release of Impersonator. In addition to the NXNE appearance, he/they’ll be at The Great Hall on May 13 supporting Youth Lagoon. And if you’re interested in all the artists officially announced for NXNE thus far, hit the artists page.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Turns Turns Turns”

Some more additions to Toronto Urban Roots Fest of a decidedly domestic nature; joining a host of others at Garrison Common from July 4 to 7 will be Toronto twang-duo Whitehorse and ascendant Vancouver singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas. The former is playing on the Sunday, July 7, the latter on the Saturday, July 6.

Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Somebody”

Noel Gallagher-approved, One Direction-baiting, Olympic-soundtracking, chart-topping English singer-songwriter Jake Bugg will make his Toronto debut at The Mod Club on August 3, tickets $15.

Video: Jake Bugg – “Lightning Bolt”

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

CONTEST – The Presets @ The Danforth Music Hall – October 23, 2012

Photo By Beau GrealyBeau GrealyWho: The Presets
What: Australian synth-rock duo out to show the world how they dance in the southern hemisphere… which is basically the same as in the northern, except they spin counter-clockwise.
Why: They released their third album Pacifica at the start of September and are traveling halfway around the world to share it with their North American friends.
When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Where: The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (19+)
Who else: YACHT – who typically have no problem filling a good-sized room themselves – are opening up.
How: Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see The Presets” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, October 18.
What else: The Sydney Morning Herald has a couple of features on the band; The Bay Bridged has just one.

Video: The Presets – “Youth In Trouble”
Video: The Presets – “Ghosts”

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

An Argument With Myself

Jens Lekman to tour, finally acknowledge he’s got more than a couple hundred fans

Photo By Kristin Lidell Kristin LidellIt may sound a bit heretical at first but there’ve been genuine problems with Jens Lekman’s visits to Toronto. These aren’t to do with the performances themselves, which have more than ably showcased the droll with and songcraft that have earned the Swedish troubadour legions of fans worldwide, or even a comment on the fact that they’ve been so few and far between, with just three shows in the past seven years.

No, the real problem is that despite having no shortage of those aforementioned legions of fans located in Hogtown, he’s always chosen to play rooms that can’t possibly hold them all and while the lucky ones who get tickets are treated to a lovely and intimate evening, many more are left out in the cold (perhaps literally, given his penchant for playing encores out on the street). His March 2005 Wavelength show packed Sneaky Dee’s and when he returned as promised for a show the following Summer, it was at the even-smaller Music Gallery. His return in April 2008 in support of Night Falls On Kortedala was originally supposed to be two nights at the Music Gallery but was condensed into a single night at The Great Hall; better, but still not nearly capable of meeting demand – especially with no less than Owen Pallett opening up.

All of which is to say that even though I like the cozy shows as much as anyone, it’s a relief that the Fall tour that he’s just announced to coincide with the September 4 release of his new record I Know What Love Isn’t will be at The Phoenix on October 4. Yeah, it’s a room bigger than the other three he’s played here combined and probably no one’s favourite venue in the city but at least you’ll probably be able to get a ticket.

Though don’t take that for granted. Supporting him on this tour is an artist with no small amount of cachet herself, country(wo)man and new labelmate Victoria Bergsmann, aka Taken By Trees, who will have her own new record in Other Worlds to promote. She was last here in February 2010 so you know her own not-inconsiderable fanbase will be itching to get a spot.

All of which is to say when the $20 tickets go on sale this morning, don’t dilly-dally. But if you take a few minutes to watch the first video from Love – premiered at Spin and featuring Jens fully embracing his inevitable baldness to say nothing of some “Careless Whisper”-level sax stylings – that’s probably okay.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “An Argument With Myself”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It won’t end well if you don’t hurry to get tickets for Bloc Party’s own return to town on September 10 at The Music Hall. Their own hiatus – which ends with the release of Four on August 21 – hasn’t been so long that their fanbase has diminished much if at all and they were playing much bigger rooms than this before. Tickets are $25 and $35, on sale tomorrow at 10AM.

MP3: Bloc Party – “Banquet”

Australian electronic duo The Presets are also back with a new record entitled Pacifica on September 14 and it comes with its own promotional website – – and a North American tour that hits the Music Hall on October 23.

Video: The Presets – “If I Know You”

Sigur Rós takes Filter through the making of Valtari, track-by-track, video-style. They’re at Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone has got a stream of a new song from The Raveonettes’ forthcoming album Observator. It’s out on September 11 and they’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “Observations”

Efterklang have assigned a September 25 release date to their new record Piramida; Exclaim has details and there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Efterklang / Piramida

Spin talks to Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop.

The Hives play a studio session for AOL Music and talk turkey with Spin.

Daytrotter sessions up with Mystery Jets.

Laura Marling chats with The Owl and mentions that album number four is written, currently being recorded, and may well be released before the end of the world year.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Teeth Sinking Into Heart

Rachael Yamagata, The Low Anthem at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGoing to as many shows as I do, I’ve come to expect a certain demographic in the audience with me. Which is to say largely male and frequently bearded. The audience at Friday night’s Rachael Yamagata show at the Mod Club, on the other hand, was most definitely predominantly female and for the most part, beardless. No, this was not one of my usual indie rock shows.

The audience was also impressively well-behaved, polite and attentive to support act The Low Anthem from Rhode Island. And they were easy to like, a trio with obvious and impressive musical ability – there was lots of instrument swapping on display – but able to check any muso inclinations in crafting a warm and gentle brand of country-rock, heavily indebted to Neil Young’s softer side but also able to turn it up a bit when the need arose. They may have been a bit too gentle to immediately spur me into seeking out their stuff, but a definite positive impression was made.

Rachael Yamagata has been through town a number of times in the past few years, supporting artists as disparate as Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore, but to my recollection this was her first headlining show in Toronto since her October 2004 show at the El Mocambo – that’s a long time. She even acknowledged as much early in the show, leading one to think she might make up for lost time and draw as much from her debut Happenstance as the just-released follow-up Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart, but the set list still leaned heavily on the new material.

And that was perfectly fine – Elephants is a solid record, showcasing Yamagata’s ability to draw endless inspiration from the subject of hurt and heartbreak and spin them into either bruised balladry or pointed rockers. I don’t necessarily agree with the choice to split the two sides into separate discs – Happenstance blended them and offered a stronger impression of her range – but it’s a minor quibble. Her live show mixed up the fast and the slow, with Yamagata moving from keyboard to electric guitar as need be to lead her three-piece band. Though it seemed at a few points she was favouring her lower register, her voice was rich, raspy and appropriately torchy, and capable of heart-rending emotion.

Though Yamagata’s songs tend to dwell largely on sadness, she’s an engagingly chipper performer, chatting and joking with the audience at length. It was quite nice seeing a dynamic between artist and audience based on such genuine affection, where the former doesn’t have to try and win over the latter, but because of that fact gives it their all. The crowd – attentive and dead silent while she played – obviously loved her, and the feeling was mutual. Elephants should lift Yamagata to the stature of one capable of headlining her own shows, no longer the perennial support act. In Toronto, at least, she’s already there.

Metro, NOW and A’N’E Vibe have interviews with Yamagata, the latter also adding a live review of the Mod Club show. The Toronto Sun was also there. Paste profiles The Low Anthem.

Photos: Rachael Yamagata, The Low Anthem @ The Mod Club – December 12, 2008
MP3: The Low Anthem – “To Ohio”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Faster”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Sunday Afternoon”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Elephants”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Sidedish Friend”
MySpace: Rachael Yamagata
MySpace: The Low Anthem

The long-discussed Will Sheff/Charles Bissell split-7″ – Will Sheff Covers Charles Bissell, Charles Bissell Covers Will Sheff – was released last week, and features Sheff covering The Wrens’ “Ex-Girl Collection” and Bissell doing Okkervil River’s “It Ends With A Fall”. Essential? Yes. Italian site Maps, the morning show for Italian radio station Citta Del Capo Radio Metropolitana, is also featuring a video/audio interview/session with Sheff. The site is in Italian but the interview is in English. Mostly.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Calling And Not Calling My Ex” (live on Maps)
MP3: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines” (live on Maps)

Maps also had The New Year in for the same deal. Thanks to Jonathan from A Classic Education (and also a host on the show) for the tip.

MP3: The New Year – “Wages Of Sleep” (live on Maps)
MP3: The New Year – “Seven Days And Seven Nights” (live on Maps)

The good news is A Camp’s Colonia will be getting a North American release. The bad news is it will happen on April 28. The good news is the European label is still listing their street date as February 2.

Though I had Bruce Peninsula’s debut A Mountain Is A Mouth as one of the “next big thing”-ey releases for 2009, it’s actually available digitally as of today – but the CD proper isn’t out until February 3. The band has lined up a number of dates in the new year to promote it – they’re at the Horseshoe on January 31 supporting The Tom Fun Orchestra, will do an in-store at Soundscapes on release day February 3 and play a proper release show of their own on February 22 at the Polish Combatants Hall. If you can only make one, I’d say that’s the one to circle.

And while the 2008 concert year is pretty much done with, 2009 is already stacking up quite nicely. Jayhawks by any other name, Gary Louris & Mark Olson will hit the road in support of Ready For The Flood, out January 27, including a February 4 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. Tickets are $22.50 for this seated show. Seats! At the Mod Club! Zounds!

Blitzen Trapper are at The Horseshoe on February 21, tickets $10.50. They’re offering up a second MP3 from Furr and are the subject of interviews at Chart and The Georgia Straight.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Gold For Bread”

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit will take their new eponymous album on the road following its release on February 17 and play the Horseshoe on March 4, tickets $12. There’s full dates at Paste and a new song streaming at their MySpace

Bloc Party continue their habit of coming to town only when it’s entirely inconvenient for me to attend (excepting festivals). Case in point, their just-announced March 14 date at the Kool Haus, tickets $35. Inconvenient because that’s the final night of CMW and I would hope that there’s worthwhile stuff going on at the festival, far from the foot of Jarvis St. Bloc Party also just rolled out a new video.

Video: Bloc Party – “One Month Off”

Australia’s Presets have a date at the Mod Club on April 6. Full dates at The Music Slut.