Posts Tagged ‘Rakes’

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Cool Yourself

Review of Thao With The Get Down Stay Down’s Know Better Learn Faster and giveaway

Photo By Tarina WestlundTarina WestlundWhen I wrote up Thao with The Get Down Stay Down’s last album We Brave Bee Stings And All back in August of last year, I gave it a net stamp of approval, with Thao Nguyen’s exuberant delivery and energy making up for my concerns about the tendency oof her voice to wander from pitch – certainly, that woozy enthusiasm was part of her charm, but I’m a bit of a stickler on that.

So I’m pleased to be able to report that the follow-up Know Better Learn Faster somehow manages to not set off those klaxons while not losing any of her distinctive character. No, it’s not that she’s discovered the joys of autotune but simply that the melodies on Know Better are less given to wander, the songs tighter and more focused and the album simply better. And amazingly, she’s done it while expanding the band’s sonic palette and without dialing down the enthusiasm. “Cool Yourself” is an upbeat, horn-driven pop gem while “When We Swam” is a coy and even slinky bit of doo-wop, and that only touches on the range of styles covered on the record, all delivered with the right balance of biting wit and sensitive underbelly. It’s be easy to miss out on the musical sophistication at work due to the raw and live production aesthetic and Nguyen’s strong presence up front, but repeated listens do bring those extra details and touches to the fore and enrich what’s already a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down are at the El Mocambo on November 1 and I’m excited that after a year and a half of near misses both here and at SxSW, I’ll finally be able to catch their much-praised live show for myself. Tickets are $12 in advance, but courtesy of Kill Rock Stars, REMG and Toolshed, I have three pairs of passes to give away to the show and for those who can’t go, two autographed copies of Know Better Learn Faster on CD up for grabs. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Get Down Stay Down” in the subject line and full name in the body. And note whether you’re gunning for the passes or the CD – the former are available to anyone who can get to the El Mocambo next Sunday night, the CD to residents of North America. Contest closes at midnight, October 28.

Paste and The Oregonian have interviews with Thao Nguyen.

MP3: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”
Video: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “When We Swam”
Video: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Cool Yourself”
MySpace: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down

Pitchfork has details on the forthcoming third album from Beach House. Teen Dream, the duo’s first for SubPop, will be out on January 26 and come with a DVD featuring a video for each song on the record.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews The Anters while BrooklynVegan gets Peter Silberman of The Antlers and Sharon Van Etten of Sharon Van Etten to interview each other.

Boise Weekly chats themselves up some Dodos.

Death & Taxes discusses matters of cosmic and civic importance with Sufjan Stevens.

Paste catches up with Nels Cline of Wilco.

Philadelphia Weekly talks to St Vincent’s Annie Clark, who has diligently been adding to her tour videos collection on her blog.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Patterson Hood available to stream.

Grant Hart, ex of Husker Du, will be at the Horseshoe on December 14 in support of his new solo record Hot Wax, tickets $10.50.

NPR expresses their acronym solidarity by streaming the whole of R.E.M.’s new live record Live At The Olympia in advance of its release this coming Tuesday, October 27.

Stream: R.E.M. / Live At The Olympia

Uptown has a cover feature on Dan Mangan.

Pitchfork reports that The Week That Was and School Of Language have officially been backburnered as the Brewis brothers have reunited as Field Music, and will release a double-album entitled Measure on February 16.

MP3: Field Music – “Measure”

And to help maintain the cosmic balance of British bands in active duty, The Rakes have announced they’re calling it quits effective immediately, thus scuppering their North American tour which was due to stop at the Mod Club in Toronto on November 9. It might have sounded a little like this.

MP3: The Rakes – “That’s The Reason”

The Scotsman interviews Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season. They are at Massey Hall on November 2.

The Hollywood Reporter says that The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn is working on the film adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s first novel, Fargo Rock City. It’s a pairing so perfect that when I first read it, I barely reacted – it was like, “well of course he is”.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

There's A Window

Hope Sandoval, Monotonix, Avett Brothers and The Rakes coming to town, though not together – that would be crazy

Photo via hopesandoval.comhopesandoval.comIt’s been over a month since word came that the reclusive Hope Sandoval was returning to active duty – she had not only completed a new Warm Intentions album with My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O CĂ­osoig, but was also putting finishing touches on a new record from Mazzy Star. Now there’s been no further word on what would be her and David Roback’s first album since 1996, but the new Warm Inventions album Through The Devil Softly is definitely happening, albeit with a September 29 release date instead of the originally announced September 15.

Also promised at the time was a tour to support the new record, and Under The Radar has a goodly number of the North American dates, though the gaps in the schedule imply there might be some more to come. Locals will be pleased to see she’s got a Toronto date at the Mod Club on October 7, her first appearance in these parts since an August 2002 date at Lee’s Palace which got some mixed reviews but of which a recording exists.

And speaking of recordings, Entertainment Weekly is streaming a new song from Through The Devil Softly to go along with the MP3 which was previously released. Update: Actually that EW track is also now available to download.

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

Also with a new album out on September 29 are The Avett Brothers, who will be releasing their latest I And Love And You. They’ll be in town at the Horseshoe the next night, September 30, to support – tickets $17.50 – but what has me doing a double-take is their tour routing thereabouts. They’re in Dallas on September 27, Toronto on September 30, and then New Orleans on October 1? Those two cities are 20 hours apart. If this schedule is correct, I have no idea how they’re going to pull that off, nor why you’d even try. Anyways, The Boston Globe has a feature and Rolling Stone declares the trio, who’ve been putting out records since 2000, an “artist to watch”.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

And also in town on October 7 – referencing back to the Hope Sandoval bit here – are Israeli nutjobs Monotonix, famous for their absurd and insane live shows. Their Fall North American tour includes an October 7 date at the Velvet Underground, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Where Were You When It Happened is out August 31 – details at Strange Glue.

MP3: Monotonix – “Ride”
MP3: Monotonix – “Body Language”

Presumably part of a larger North American tour and presumably implying their latest album Klang, out since March in the UK, is getting a release over here, The Rakes will be at the Mod Club on November 9.

Video: The Rakes – “1989”

The Sadies have made a date at the Horseshoe for September 12, tickets $15. It’s not part of any particular tour but the Sadies need as much excuse to play the ‘Shoe as you need to breathe.

MP3: The Sadies – “Anna Leigh”

Both They Shoot Music and have posted up video sessions with Malajube, who are this week’s featured Polaris Prize nominee, which basically means you can download an MP3 for free via the Polaris website. And speaking of free, you can also enter this contest to win a trip to Toronto for the September 21 Polaris Prize awards gala – all ten nominees will be performing this year!

Exclaim has details on the new Do Make Say Think record Other Truths, out October 20, while Stereogum is steaming a first preview track from it. Do Make Say Think are at the Polish Combatants Hall tonight for the Bicycle Film Festival launch party – congrats to Evan for winning my contest for passes.

Time Out and The Sydney Morning Herald talk to Aimee Mann.

The first MP3 from Headlights’ new album Wildlife, out October 6, is now available over at RCRDLBL.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland will release a new EP on October 20 entitled Doomsday, featuring five new tracks in addition to the title track taken from their self-titled album.

MP3: Elvis Perkins In Dearland – “Slow Doomsday”

Yet another video from Yo La Tengo’s new album Popular Songs has emerged. The record is out September 8 and they play The Opera House on October 3.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”

Pitchfork has details on the new R.E.M. live album Live At The Olympia, which will feature 39 songs across two CDs recorded in Dublin in 2007. Look for it October 26.