Posts Tagged ‘REM’

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.

Monday, May 18th, 2009

First, We Take Manhattan

Leonard Cohen at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf only it were as Muppet-simple as “taking Manhattan”. In fact, it shook out more like first, I take a subway, then a shuttle bus, then a ferry, then a plane, then monorail, train and subway again just to get into Manhattan. And just as soon as I’ve arrived in the Big Apple, it’s back on the subway, another subway, then a train, another train and then an unlicensed taxi (“hey you need a ride?”) – all to get into Waterbury, Connecticut. A city which was once apparently a brass manufacturing powerhouse but which now seems to have little to recommend it as a destination, save for a gorgeous theater downtown – the Palace – and on Thursday night, one Leonard Cohen.

Seeing Cohen wasn’t on the agenda as recently as last weekend, as I’d hoped to be able to finagle a way to the Hamilton show at Copp’s tomorrow, but an extra ticket from Without A Yard, serendipitous scheduling and a willingness to undertake a rather ridiculous set of logistics to trek out to the show made it happen. Mostly. Weather delays and other issues fixed it so that we didn’t actually reach the theater until almost mid-way into Cohen’s set – so it’s just as well that he needs no introduction, because I wouldn’t have been able to provide one.

Thankfully, the show was extra-long and with an intermission, for that’s when we arrived and thus managed to avoid being those people who get there late and try to find their seats in the dark. Sure, it meant that instead of a marathon three-hour show, we only got a 90-minute, regular-length show, but even a that much Leonard is like a gift – especially in a venue as stunning as the Palace. There may not be much else to say about a one-cab town like Waterbury, but this was easily the second-nicest place I’d ever seen a show, after only the Royal Albert Hall in London.

And what a show. I don’t know what Cohen played in the front half of the performance, but it almost seemed like he knew to hold back my favourite songs for the finale, as it was stunner after stunner as soon as the lights went down and Cohen, surprisingly nimble, sprinted/danced/shimmied onto the stage. “Tower Of Song”, “Suzanne”, “Take This Waltz”, “Democracy”, “Halleleujah”, “Famous Blue Raincoat”, hell yes. And okay, I just had a look at the set list for the show and am a little pained to have missed “Anthem”, “Everybody Knows” and “Chelsea Hotel” but still, no regrets.

Just as remarkable as hearing the songs performed live – not something I ever thought I’d get to experience – was how good Cohen sounded. He’s obviously not a young man – he may have been spry but was still a slightish figure and a bit stooped – but age seems to have served his delivery very well, somehow making his voice even deeper, richer and more sonorous. He also played more guitar than I’d expected, and I’d have been happy – possibly even happier – to have heard him play solo. It’s no secret my favourite Cohen aesthetic is that of the stark, dark folksinger of his earlier works even if, as far as songs go, I prefer his later works circa The Future or I’m Your Man (and I’m far from unique in this, I know) but the production values on those records – the big bands, the backing singers, the rather dubious synths – have just aged so badly that it can be hard to listen to.

In the live setting, he splits the difference somewhat with a nine-piece backing band including three backing singers – it’s all live, analog instrumentation, toy keyboard on “Tower Of Song” excepted, and masterfully played but I don’t feel the high degree of polish – even if suited for the setting – suits the songs best. They need those dark, dusty corners and the gleam of Cohen’s band doesn’t let those shadows fall where they should. Additionally, Cohen as bandleader was generous to a fault, allowing extended excursions to the musicians – do anyone really need to hear more than one bouzouki solo in a lifetime? – and even ceding lead vocals to Sharon Robinson on their collaboration “Boogie Street”. Perhaps if I’d made the entire show, I’d have been less anxious about it but any moment that Cohen wasn’t singing felt like a lost one.

Understand, however, that these complaints aren’t even really complaints, more just observations, and should in no way imply that I was less than enraptured by the show. No matter how you dress them up, the heart of it is Cohen, his words and his voice, and those were flawless. Obviously I hope that Cohen continues to tour and that I might get to see him again – start to finish – but that’s a huge and probably unrealistic presumption. I feel fortunate to have seen as much as I did, and to anyone who will be seeing him on any of his remaining dates, you are in for such a treat. But of course you already knew that.

The Hartford Courant also has a review of the Waterbury show.

Photos: Leonard Cohen @ The Palace Theater – May 14, 2009
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Democracy”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Closing Time”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Dance Me To The End Of Love”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “In My Secret Life”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “First We Take Manhattan”
MySpace: Leonard Cohen

PitchforkTV’s “Don’t Look Down” series welcomes Jose Gonzalez for a session. He plays the Harbourfront Centre on June 26 as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.

Anyone disappointed that Loney Dear had to cancel last week’s show in Toronto on account of their van breaking down between here and Montreal – I’m looking at you, me – can take a little solace in this performance they recorded for Baeble Music’s new “Guest Apartment” video session series. Seattlest has an interview with Emil Svanangen.

WOXY has posted the MP3s from their recent Lounge Act session with The Dears to share and enjoy.

Pitchfork talks to Peter Buck and Paste has some photos of R.E.M. hunkered down in the studio, hard at work on the follow-up to Accelerate.

Vanity Fair and Prefix talk to Stephin Merritt about his new musical based on Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Spinnerette has a date at the Mod Club on June 19. Their debut, which is either self-titled or called A Prescription For Mankind, is out June 23.

Video: Spinnerette – “Ghetto Love”

Abe Vigoda – band, not actor – are at the El Mocambo on July 22 in support of their new album Reviver. Advance tickets are $10.

MP3: Abe Vigoda – “Don’t Lie”

The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will properly release Hometowns on July 7 and tour North America all Summer to support, will play a homecoming pit stop/record release show at the Horseshoe on July 30.

So some details have emerged on why the Olympic Island concert was canceled last week. Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew blogs that the July 11 date was unfortunately scheduled opposite the Molson Indy – both temporally and physically, what with Olympic Island being just across the lake from Exhibition Place, where the very loud cars would have been tearing around the track all day. They’d likely have been done by the time BSS and Explosions In The Sky took the stage but for the rest of the bands, it’d have been near-unbearable. Beach House wouldn’t have stood a chance. So the festival was canned, the free make-up show that same night from BSS at Harbourfront Centre announced and the lineups for it are probably already stretching all along the waterfront. Also covered in the post is the fact that the band are now recording their fourth album – a proper Broken release, not a “Presents” faux-solo record – with Tortoise’s John McIntire at the helm. Considering his aesthetic is very, very different from usual BSS producer Dave Newfeld, it should be very interesting to see what comes of this – one hopes he can curb some/much of the Scene’s meandering sprawl without costing them their spontaneous magic. And Pitchfork currently has excerpts from the new Broken biography, This Book Is Broken available to read.

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Through The Front Door

Review of Vetiver's Tight Knit and giveaway

Photo By Alissa AndersonAlissa AndersonIf you’re looking to establish your country-rock credentials, you could do far worse than get tapped to be the backing band for once-and-future Jayhawk Gary Louris on his solo ventures. And it was in that role that San Francisco-based outfit Vetiver came to the attention of many in 2008, even though they were hardly wet behind the ears newcomers, with their 2009 release Tight Knit their fourth long-player.

But if you come to the Vetiverse – their own clever term, not mine – via the Louris connection, you might be a little surprised as their own creative compass tilts in a somewhat different direction from their sometime bandleader’s. Tight Knit could loosely be filed under country but not all under rock – instead, it’s a soft and billowy collection of folk-pop tunes that might have roots in ’70s AM if it were solid enough to have roots. It drifts prettily along, led by Andy Cabic’s gentle vocals and tinged with a dizzy psychedelia of the sort you might experience not by taking illicit pharmaceuticals but by rolling down a tall hill on a sunny day. Though released back in the cold days of February, Tight Knit could be the soundtrack for many a lazy Summer’s afternoon.

Vetiver are currently taking their show on the road and will stopping in at the Horseshoe next Friday, May 15, and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got a couple pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to visit the Vetiverse” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Get that in to me before midnight, May 13.

The Winston-Salem Journal has an interview with Andy Cabic.

MP3: Vetiver – “Everyday”
Video: Vetiver – “Everyday”
MySpace: Vetiver

Billboard has had a listen to Wilco’s next album Wilco (The Album) in advance of its June 30 release and reports its findings. And Paste has info on the $50,000 lawsuit that former Wilco member Jay Bennett has brought against the band for allegedly unpaid royalties.

Pitchfork talks to James Mercer of The Shins about their impending return, with a new self-released album and new lineup. Well not that impending – the record probably won’t be out till next year.

Song, By Toad interviews Jason Lytle, whose solo debut Yours Truly, The Commuter may not be out until May 19 but is currently available to stream at NPR.

Stream: Jason Lytle / Yours Truly, The Commuter

New York Magazine and The New Yorker both devote features to Grizzly Bear, whose Veckatimest will be released on May 26 and who will play the Phoenix on June 5.

Tickets for the free Malajube show at Lee’s June 12 are now available at Soundscapes – probably Rotate, too.

Grand Archives will release their second album Keep in Mind Frankenstein on September 8.

The Tripwire asks five questions of M Ward. The Visalia Times-Delta asks as many questions as it wants.

Blurt talks to Patterson Hood about goings-on in camp Drive-By Trucker, including a rarities and b-side collection due out later this year.

A lifetime (if you’re eight years old) since the release of their first album, Elephant 6 survivors The Circulatory System will return with Signal Morning on August 4.

R.E.M.’s Reckoning will be getting the deluxe, double-disc reissue on June 23 with the original album getting a sonic buff and the package coming with a bonus live disc recorded in Chicago in 1984. Both Murmur and Reckoning will be released on 180-gram vinyl on that date as well.

So playing V fest-spotter has become something of a hobby of mine the last little while, trying to unearth info about the where, when and who with the festivals this year. Well the first official announcement came yesterday, and it was not what I’d expected. There’ll be five V Fests across Canada this year – British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Montreal and Nova Scotia – and based on who they’ve rounded up for Montreal next month, it’ll be interesting to see how things shape up if nothing else. I will give them this much – no one will be complaining about the same acts playing that fest as all the others in North America, nor will you be hearing about the indie/classic rock hegemony of music festival lineups. You may hear complaining about other things, but not those. There’s still no hint of when the Toron- sorry, ONTARIO lineup will be unveiled, or any of the others, but rest assured as they are, I’ll be there. And more than likely, incredulous. JAM has a bit of an interview with one of the Virgin PR people about the festivals.

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Son Of A Gun

The Vaselines get reissued, come to Toronto

Photo via SubPopSubPopMy head is kind of, uh, fried right now on account of my powering through and processing all of my SxSW photos this weekend, as those who are unfortunate enough to be RSS subscribers or Twitter followers and been deluged with update notices can attest. But the good news for everyone is that I am done and there are 46-odd photo galleries of artists I saw a couple weeks ago along with as many MP3 and video links for each as I could find. I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out – please have a boo, or check out the Flickr set for a high-level view. And with what remains of my grey matter, I will try to cobble together some sort of blog post.

Starting with The Vaselines. You may know them as the Scottish band who existed just long enough to release a couple of EPs, one album, and exert a huge influence on one Kurt Cobain. I actually knew them better as the band that Eugene Kelly was in before Eugenius, but that’s neither here nor there. For many years, the The Way Of The Vaselines: A Complete History compilation from SubPop has been the first (and last) stop for those seeking to learn more about the outfit, but come May 5 there’s going to be a new final word. That’s the day they’ll replace the venerable compilation with Enter The Vaselines, a new double-CD/triple-LP collection that remixes much of and remasters all of Way and throws in a pile of unreleased extra material. Full tracklisting at Exclaim!.

But wait, there’s more! The band reunited last Summer for a few one-off and festival gigs, but appear to be ready to do more in order to promote the collection. Though they didn’t make it over for SxSW as they’d initially intended, they do still have their eyes on North America, or at least Toronto – they’ve got a date set for May 15 at Lee’s Palace, for which tickets will run $29.50. That’s pretty exciting, and I assume other dates for some sort of tour will be forthcoming soon.

Also on the reissue tip, dearly departed Guelphies Royal City are set to be compiled by the good folks at Asthmatic Kitty They’ll release Royal City on June 23, a collection of a dozen previously unreleased tracks that has been rumoured for over four years. Better late than never though, right? Magnet is also on board with the nostalgia, paying tribute to their second album Alone At The Microphone. Here’s one of the songs from the new comp, and a few older album tracks to remind of how good they were.

MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”
MP3: Royal City – “Bring My Father A Gift”
MP3: Royal City – “My Brother Is The Meatman”
MP3: Royal City – “Bad Luck”
MP3: Royal City – “I’m Taking The Train”
MP3: Royal City – “At Rush Hour The Cars”

Exclaim! reports that R.E.M. are giving the deluxe reissue treatment to their sophomore album Reckoning, planning a live release of their 2007 “Dublin working rehearsals” which preceded the release of Accelerate and getting to work on the follow-up to said record. No timelines for any of the releases has been provided, though.

A track from the new Bob Dylan album Together Through Life is available to download from his website through midnight (Eastern Daylight time) tonight. The album is out April 28.

Chart and See talk to Hylozoists frontman Paul Aucoin.

There’s an MP3 available from the new Super Furry Animals album Dark Days/Light Years, available digitally now and on CD April 21.

MP3: Super Furry Animals – “Inaugural Trams”

The California Chronicle talks to Dean Wareham.

Isis have a date at the Phoenix on June 7 in support of their new album Wavering Radiant, out May 5.

A few radio sessions available to stream – NPR with M Ward, who is at the Phoenix on April 27, and MPR welcomes AC Newman and another one with The Broken West.

BrooklynVegan has unveiled the lineup to this year’s All Points West festival, taking place just across the Hudson from Manhattan. It’s interesting to me mainly to give a better idea of what acts are doing the festival circuit this year and perhaps who we might expect at V Fest this year. This, of course, presumes that there will BE a V Fest in Toronto this year. The past three years, the headliners and first wave of acts had all been announced by now, and this year there’s been nary a peep – the website doesn’t acknowledge that it’s 2009 or try to build any sort anticipation and their social network pages are similarly silent. It’s almost like they’re trying to keep a low profile and hope no one notices they’re not there. I’ve asked around a bit and while no one has heard anything about V Toronto being cancelled, no one has heard anything about it actually happening either and I know just enough about goings-on on the business end of the fest to not take for granted that it’s happening. I hope I’m just being paranoid and they’re just hammering out some details to bring, oh, Blur and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs to town but each day that goes by without an effusively-worded press release showing up in my inbox is, well, another day. But if anyone out there knows something, even a cryptically-worded message along the lines of, “Stop fearmongering! The rock is en route!” or “At least you’ll be able to see more films at TIFF this year”, one way or the other would be appreciated.

Update: And this is related-interesting – Montreal’s Osheaga Festival, which was branded last year as “presented by Virgin Mobile”, has confirmed dates for 2009 – July 30 and 31 “in they city” (presumably club gigs) and August 1 and 2 “on the island” (at Parc Jean-Drapeau). Perhaps they’ll siphon off some acts from APW? Perhaps I’m going to Montreal for the August long weekend? It seems Coldplay – and thus Elbow – are a lock for that one…

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Hit The Road

Neil Young sets date for Archives, makes movies and is in a movie

Photo via IndependentThe IndependentThough not a performer, Neil Young’s presence was keenly felt down at SxSW last week. The man himself was in town showing off his LincVolt electric car which is serving as inspiration for his forthcoming album Fork In The Road, due April 7, and for which he continues to crank out many high-quality promo videos. I’m a little bit concerned that the songs are starting to grow on me just a bit.

Director Jonathan Demme was also on hand to talk about Neil Young Truck Show, his forthcoming Neil documentary and second following 2006’s Heart Of Gold. Rolling Stone has details on the deliberately rough and DIY-aesthetic film, which should be finished post-production for a 2009 unveiling.

But the most exciting piece of news revealed last week was the announcement by Neil’s manager Elliott Roberts of an official release date for Archives Volume 1 – June 2. I know many release dates have come and gone over the years but this seems for real. The massive collection will be available as an 8-CD set for $99, a 10-DVD set for $199 and a 10-BluRay set for $299 (suggested prices in US dollars). Needless to say, the more you spend, the more you get. Billboard has details.

Video: Neil Young – “Cough Up The Bucks”
Video: Neil Young – “Light A Candle”
Video: Neil Young – “Johnny Magic” (Magic Sun)
Video: Neil Young – “Johnny Magic” (LincVolt)
Video: Neil Young – “Fork In The Road”
Trailer: Neil Young / Archives Volume 1

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy talks to GQ about their new album, due out in June, and the Ashes Of American Flags DVD being released April 18. Creative Loafing has an interview with the director of the doc, Brendan Canty.

Spinner has an MP3 from Bob Mould’s new record Life And Times, out April 17.

MP3: Bob Mould – “City Lights (Days Go By)”

Dinosaur Jr have completed work on their new album Farm and will release it on June 23. Pitchfork has more on that.

Ira Kaplan comes clean to The Hartford Advocate about the mysterious relationship between Condo Fucks and Yo La Tengo. Fuckbook is out now and streamable in its entirety.

Stream: Condo Fucks / Fuckbook

Also out now and doing the stream thing is The Decemberists’ latest The Hazards Of Love. Magnet Q&As Colin Meloy about the new record.

Stream: The Decemberists / The Hazards of Love

Pitchfork has an interview with Neko Case, who herself has a new video. She’s at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18.

Video: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

The National Post has an interview with Leonard Cohen, whose Live In London double-album is out next week but which you can stream right now at NPR. He plays Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on May 19.

Stream: Leonard Cohen / Live In London

Magnet plays over-under with R.E.M., selecting their five most over- and underrated songs.

Great Lake Swimmers have released a new video from their forthcoming album Lost Channels, out next Tuesday. They play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25. Vue has an interview with Tony Dekker.

Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “Pulling On A Line”

Chart and NOW have features on Julie Doiron, who’s playing the Horseshoe tonight in support of her new album I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day.

And to follow up yesterday’s post, tickets for the first NYC Radio Dept show are on sale and I have one. Travel that weekend has been made easier by the fact that I won’t be attending Primavera Sound the following week – got offered media but NOT a photo pass and I don’t think I could go all that way (and pay all that money) and not be able to shoot. My head would quite literally explode. But hey, word is Jarv will be coming to North America to promote the new record so, worst case, I fly somewhere closer (and less exotic, yes) to see him assuming he doesn’t shaft T.O. again. That’s Toronto. Not Terrell Owens. Though he’s in Buffalo now, so at least that’d be more geographically convenient.

Okay I’m going to shut up now.