Posts Tagged ‘Revolvers’

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Young Believers

Canadian Musicfest 2010 preview and recommendations

Photo By Ryan Edward MillerRyan Edward MillerCanadian Musicfest 2010 is almost upon us, and while some of my blog brethren have offered their suggestions of what to see by way of their own schedules, I’m going to take a more free-form approach because following my own schedule will probably not yield the optimal experience. Logistics and workloads, not to mention still needing to get my act together for SxSW the following week, are keeping my plans relatively limited in scope but if none of that was a concern, then here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what I can endorse or would at least be curious about – above and beyond what I’ve mentioned in past posts – without concern for how you’d get across the city in 15 minutes without aid of a jetpack.

Wednesday: Canadian Musicfest (and Canadian Music Week) have traditionally been Thursday-Friday-Saturday affairs, but this year they’ve done a pretty good job of making Wednesday more than a token addition to the schedule. No, there’s not as much slated to go for hump day, but if you’ve got a wristband and are looking to maximize it, there’s more than a few options.

Spirits (Bread & Circus @ 10PM) – These ’80s-inflected Hamiltonian synth-rockers can legitimately say that they had Pixies open up for them – the alt.rock legends used a Spirits show as a cover for their secret show prior to V Fest last year. And beyond that, they’ve got some pretty slick new wave/new romantic moves of their own.
Video: Spirits – “Forbidden Flame”

Fucked Up (The El Mocambo @ 1AM) – The reigning Polaris winners are much too big to play the El Mo anymore – but they’re gonna do it anyways. Chaos (and nudity) is pretty much guaranteed. Exclaim has an exclusive on where they’re going on their next record.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba (Painted Lady @ 10PM) – This hotly-tipped, harmony-laden folk outfit wins over more and more fans with each performance, so catching them in intimate environs such as this while you can is recommended.
MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Bluebirds”

Styrofoam Ones (The Roosevelt Room @ 9PM) – I used to play in a band with Styrofoam Ones’ drummer. He certainly gets to play louder/faster/harder with these post-punk/dance-rockers than he did with us.
MySpace: Styrofoam Ones

Thursday: Yeah, you’ll have to work in the morning but really – who gets anything done on a Friday? Really? You do? So it’s just me? Huh.

Forest City Lovers (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – One of the cities finest folk-pop bands just finished recording their third record and are about to head off to their first SxSW. To say they’ll be at the very top of their game is an understatement.
Video: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”

The Darcys (The El Mocambo @ 11PM) – Despite some major recent lineup changes, their forthcoming Murray Lightburn-produced album Young Believers should introduce a much larger audience to their unpredictable guitar-laden epics. Also playing at Sneaky Dee’s on Saturday at 3PM. Read an interview at The Brock Press.
MP3: The Darcys – “House Built Around Your Voice”

And So I Watch You From Afar (The Hideout @ 1AM) – Belfast instrumental post-rockers eschew the quiet-quiet-quiet-LOUD-LOUD-LOUD thing for something more lively and melodic than many of their more bombastic peers.
MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

Neon Indian (Lee’s Palace @ 10:30PM) – Okay, mostly this is curiosity as to what all the fuss is about. Chillwave? What? Really? And the kids are into this, you say?
MP3: Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer”

Dinosaur Bones (The Silver Dollar @ 10PM) – These guys have come a long way since I last saw them in August 2008 – or so it would seem, as I’ve done a lousy job of following up on them since them. But people are talking about their grand and moody rock and they’re clearly on the cusp of something.
Video: Dinosaur Bones – “Ice Hotels”

First Rate People (The Garrison @ 9PM) – Mysterious and apparently big in Owen Sound, there’s something undeniably compelling about their synthesis of old school Motown soul, electronic cut-and-paste aesthetic and indie rock earnestness. Plus The National’s Matt Berninger is apparently a fan. Also playing Sneaky Dee’s on Friday at 3AM.
MP3: First Rate People – “Girls’ Night”

Friday: I’ll be camping out the whole night at Lee’s Palace for my co-presented showcase with Billions and would certainly think you wise if you did the same, but if you’re inclined to see what else is out there, maybe add these to your list.

Hannah Georgas (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – Could this Vancouverite be the next in Canada’s long, proud tradition of terrific female singer-songwriters? From what I’ve heard from her and about her, I wouldn’t bet against it.
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Thick Skin”

Old World Vulture (Neutral Lounge @ 11PM) – Despite giving them a thumbs up at the end of last year, I haven’t yet gotten to see/hear/feel their intense post-rock action in a live setting yet. Operative word “yet”.
MP3: Old World Vulture – “Benny”

PS I Love You (The Silver Dollar @ 12AM) – I’d like to say it didn’t take Pitchfork rave to put something from almost by own backyard on my radar… but it did. And as embarrassing as that may be, I thank them for it.
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Phantogram (Supermarket @ 1AM) – The were here just a few weeks ago, but they were awesome and deserve another “hey go see these guys they’re awesome”. So go see these guys they’re awesome.
MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

Saturday: It’s kind of odd that the biggest show happening during Canadian Musicfest isn’t associated with Canadian Musicfest, but the first part of Saturday night will be spent at the Phoenix to see Joanna Newsom. Happily, it’s an early show so after that there’ll still be time to catch some or all of these.

The Brother Kite (Rancho Relaxo @ 10PM) – I’m so very excited that Rhode Island’s finest guitar-pop band are coming back to Toronto and that I’ll finally be here to greet them – their last album Waiting For the Time To Be Right remains one of my favourites of the past decade and the follow-up, Isolation, is finally being prepared for release. If there’s any show this week that I will put the “don’t miss” label on, it’s this one.
Video: The Brother Kite – “I’m Not The Only One”

Yukon Blonde (The Horseshoe @ 8:30PM) – Yeah, the Horseshoe is always jam-packed from the moment doors open and this year will be no different, but at least the first band is definitely worth seeing. Lots of people like to call Yukon Blonde “classic” rock. I prefer to think of it as timeless – big guitars and harmonies never really go out of style.
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”

Gemma Ray (Painted Lady @ 11PM) – This Brit’s swaggering, throwback guitar pop ranges from dark noir to folky light. I think I’ve been meaning to see her live for some time – too bad I’m unlikely to catch either this showcase or her other one at The Silver Dollar on Friday night at 10PM.
MP3: Gemma Ray – “100 mph in 2nd Gear”

Revolvers (The Comfort Zone @ 9PM) – Hazy, vintage-tinged psychedelic garage rock that doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table – almost nothing, actually – but it still done well enough that if you’re into it, you won’t care.
Video: Revolvers – “Rock Y Roll”

Whew. Obviously there’s loads else going on through the weekend, but hopefully if you’re looking for somewhere to start, the above will offer some ideas.

And elsewhere in Canadian music… Spinner has words with The Russian Futurists – they’re playing the aforementioned Billions/Chromewaves show at Lee’s Palace on Friday night.

Chart chats with Amos The Transparent, playing the Horseshoe on Thursday night at 9:20.

Canadian Interviews talks to Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. They play the Horseshoe on March 13.

Spinner catches up with Woodhands, playing the Opera House on March 11 and the Paper Bag/Chromewaves showcase at SxSW on March 18.

Spinner checks in with Holy Fuck.

The Portland Mercury has an interview with Basia Bulat.

Spinner asks Owen Pallett to list off his favourite video games. And no, none of the Final Fantasy titles make the list. Pallett plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

A Brief History Of Love

The Big Pink, Crystal Antlers and Revolvers at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf you had told me that everyone piled into Lee’s Palace on Sunday night wasn’t, in fact, specifically a fan of The Big Pink but of British music from the ’90s in general, I’d have believed it. For much/most/all of the appeal of the London-based duo and their debut A Brief History Of Love centers around how effectively they combine the best bits of shoegaze, Britpop and Madchester into new tunes that are instantly familiar to those who’ve dog-eared a copy or two of Select in their day, but updated to be sleek and danceable by today’s standards.

In being such effective mimics, however, has cost The Big Pink something in the way of their own personality. Perhaps that’s the way it should be, the attention paid to the songs and not the musicians; certainly logical considering that Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell come from a more electronic background, less predisposed to rock star braggadocio. Combine that with the fact that for all it’s rock reference points, the record feels very much like a studio (lab?) project and a kick-ass live show certainly wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

Local openers Revolvers, on the other hand, had no problem establishing their rock credentials. The five-piece certainly shared some musical DNA with the headliners, but you’d have to go back to the blues and rock influences that informed the likes of Spiritualized into something akin to a less drug-addled Brian Jonestown Massacre or groovier (and less droney) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. With two very capable lead vocalists and some hot guitar work, they made a good first impression and though they might do well to play it a little less traditional and stretch out a bit, there’s a very solid foundation to build something great on.

Sounding too traditional was not a problem for Long Beach, California’s Crystal Antlers. Their debut Tentacles was notable as the final new release from the venerable Touch And Go label and their set was a dizzying collision of sounds, bursts of noise butting up against bursts of melody, all propelled by intense percussion, urgent Farfisa organ and strained vocals. On paper, it wasn’t the sort of thing I’d like but to my surprise, I rather enjoyed it. It helped that percussionist Damian Edwards was tremendously entertaining to watch, working his bongos and crash cymbal like man possessed. With dancing.

When a band’s stage setup consists of multiple banks of strobe lights and smoke machines, they’re either intending to deliver a massive rock show or hope that the effects provide the visual stimulation that they can’t. In the case of The Big Pink, it felt like a little of both. For the duration of their set, the stage was enveloped in smoke, strobe and darkness, but perhaps feeling freed by the fact that no one could really see them, singer/guitarist Furze actually showed off no shortage of rock star moves in bounding around the stage, playing dueling axes with bassist Leopold Ross (who himself engaged in some hair-whipping) and generally acting like a kid playing a tennis racket with the stereo turned up.

With Cordell on keys/synths/samples and Akiko Matsuura – who also played on the record – on drums, The Big Pink live had an organic dimension which you didn’t necessarily feel was lacking on the album, but provided an extra and welcome bit of dynamicism in performance. That said, the songs were rendered pretty closely to their studio versions. Not necessarily a problem, though I maintain that some of the backing tracks could have been played live by Cordell rather than just triggered. Slightly more of a problem was the brevity of the set – after a 25-minute delay from the scheduled start time, they clocked in at just 45 minutes and there was no encore. Matsuura came back out after the final song, but it was to wave the expectant crowd off and send us home, not play one final number. Granted, they don’t have a wealth of material to draw from but it’d have been nice to hear the album’s title track. No, I don’t know who would/could have covered Joanne Robertson’s parts. Maybe they could have used a taped track. Okay, maybe it’s better that they didn’t play it.

Panic Manual has a review of the show. OC Weekly has an interview with The Big Pink and MPR a streamable session. talks to Crystal Antlers.

Photos: The Big Pink, Crystal Antlers, Revolvers @ Lee’s Palace – November 29, 2009
MP3: The Big Pink – “Dominos”
MP3: The Big Pink – “Velvet”
MP3: Crystal Antlers – “Andrew”
MP3: Crystal Antlers – “Tentacles”
MP3: Crystal Antlers – “A Thousand Eyes”
Video: The Big Pink – “Dominos”
Video: The Big Pink – “Velvet”
Video: The Big Pink – “Too Young To Love”
Video: Crystal Antlers – “Andrew”
Video: Revolvers – “Rock y Roll”
MySpace: The Big Pink
MySpace: Crystal Antlers

The Quietus has posted the whole of their interview with Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce, a portion of which was run last week. Clash has followed suit, posting an excerpt of an interview with Pierce, the complete version of which will be available in the coming days/weeks. The 10th anniversary edition of Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is out next week. Update: Part one of the Clash interview is now up. And part two.

Former Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser gives a rare interview to Elizabeth Fraser about her new single “Moses” and possible plans for a new album.

Matador has all the details on the new album from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists but all you really need to know is it’s called The Brutalist Bricks, it’s out March 9 and it sounds like this.

MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Even Heroes Have To Die”

A number of shows to look forward to in 2010 were announced yesterday. The Retribution Gospel Choir, rock-oriented project of the 2/3 of Low who are not Mimi Parker, will be at the Drake Underground on January 25, one day before their second album 2 is released. Tickets are $10 in advance.

Editors are following up the North American release of In This Light And On This Evening on January 19 with a North American tour – full date haven’t been announced yet but the Toronto date goes February 16 at the Phoenix. I don’t dislike Evening nearly as much as some, but I suspect I didn’t like the first two records as much as some so perhaps it all evens out. Prague Post has an interview with Editors frontman Tom Smith.

Video: Editors – “Papillon”

Tortoise will be at Lee’s Palace on February 18 in support of this year’s Beacons Of Ancestorship, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Tortoise – “Prepare Your Coffin”
Video: Tortoise – “Prepare Your Coffin”

Finally coming to town for her own headlining show rather than supporting others, El Perro Del Mar will be at hte Mod Club on February 21, tickets $15. Her latest Love Is Not Pop came out in October and Express Night Out has an interview with Sarah Assbring.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”

Their live album having done the job of keeping fans satiated/distracted, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have announced details of a new studio album. Beat The Devil’s Tattoo will be out on March 9 and will be accompanied by a fairly massive world tour – the Toronto stop comes April 1 at The Phoenix.