Posts Tagged ‘Rifles’

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Last Year's Snow

The Cribs wrap North American tour, plan North American tour

Photo By Pat GrahamPat GrahamYeah, I know that I probably keep closer track of British bands than some (but certainly not as much as others), but I still get confused as to who’s who sometimes. Particularly when it comes to outfits comprised of skinny, shaggy-looking lads wielding guitars and perhaps scowls, and whose names are some combination of the definite article and a random noun, sometimes pluralized. The Rifles? They’re the ones who’re trying to channel The Jam (and doing a pretty good job of it). The Rakes? They’re the ones who just one-upped their habit of cancelling North American tours by breaking up completely (on the eve of a North American tour, of course). The Cribs? Right, they’re the ones made up of three brothers – two of them twins – and Johnny Marr.

That fact alone renders the band worthy of a closer look, though it’s not enough – I still think Modest Mouse are terrible, Marr or no Marr. Though it’s their fourth album, the just-released Ignore The Ignorant is the first I’ve heard and it’s sort of what I’d expected, even without any prior knowledge – scrappy post-Libertines guitar rock – but with a goodly amount of melody to go with the attitude and, of course, some searing guitar work courtesy of the non-Jarman in the band. Nothing revelatory or game-changing, but certainly successful at scratching the ol’ Brit-rock itch.

The Cribs wrap up an exhaustive three-date American tour tonight in New York, but have already began making plans to return in the New Year with the one announced date so far being right here in Toronto at the Phoenix on January 15, accompanied by Adam Green and The Dead Trees. And presumably accompanied by Mr. Marr, considering how keen they all are to present him as a full-fledged member of the band, and not just the cool uncle figure helping out in the studio. Which if fine with me – can’t say I’m not anxious about the opportunity to see and photograph Marr in such close quarters.

MTV UK has got a live video session with The Cribs available to stream.

MP3: The Cribs – “We Were Aborted”
Video: The Cribs – “Cheat On Me”
MySpace: The Cribs

Another British “The” band – and also a current “it” band – is officially down a member. In an interview with The Stool Pigeon, The xx confirm that guitarist Baria Quereshi has left the band and that they will continue on as a trio – bad news for Marr if he was looking for another band of young’ns to hang out with. The xx are at The Phoenix on December 2.

The previously-mentioned Rifles play an acoustic session in a Berlin park for They Shoot Music.

The Quietus has an audio session and interview with Patrick Wolf.

Pitchfork reports that Tindersticks will follow up 2008’s The Hungry Saw with Falling Down A Mountain, set for a January 25 release everywhere except North America; here it comes out February 16.

MP3: Tindersticks – “Black Smoke”

Taken By Trees cover of Animal Collective’s “My Girls”, taken from her new album East Of Eden, is now available to grab as an MP3.

MP3: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”
Video: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear.

The Village Voice talks to Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice about the making of their new video for “True Or False”.

Video: Bishop Allen – “True Or False”

Yahoo’s The New Now is streaming a video session with White Rabbits.

Wilco will be streaming their show in Amsterdam this coming Monday live via their Roadcase starting at 3PM Eastern time.

Great Lake Swimmers’ Mountain Stage session is currently available to stream at NPR, and there’s also an interview at Birmingham Mail. They have a date at Trinity-St Paul’s on February 6.

Zeus will play a free show at The Horseshoe on Tuesday night, alongside Still Life Still and The Most Serene Republic for a special Arts & Crafts-centric Nu Music Nite 16th anniversary party. They also just announced their debut full-length Say Us will be out on February 23.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

My Broken Heart

Review Of Noah & The Whale's First Days Of Spring

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt figures that of all the English folk-pop that has been such a staple of my musical diet over the last couple years, the most commercially successful – Noah & The Whale – would be my least favourite. That’s a very relative statement, however, as I still like the quartet alright. As their debut Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, proved they can write a catchy tune or two but I found their whimsical approach to be a bit lacking in the substance department. I much preferred the sardonic wit of Emmy The Great and emotional resonance of Laura Marling, both of them former Whale collaborators.

And it’s Marling who plays a key role on Noah & The Whale’s second album First Days Of Spring, though she’s nowhere to be found on the actual recording. While it may seem like indie tabloid fodder, the fact that she and Noah frontman Charlie Fink were romantically involved and that the relationship ended last year is key to understanding this record – on the debut, Marling’s voice buoyed the record but on the follow-up, it’s her ghost that gives it weight. Spring is a break-up record through and through, and not one overly concerned with dressing things up in metaphor. Fink is not an overly gifted wordsmith, preferring plainly stated lyrics and delivering them with his equally unfancy croak of a voice and in this instance the directness with which Fink addresses Marling with his lyrics is almost uncomfortable, like eavesdropping on an intensely personal conversation. Yet you can’t not listen and in doing so, you can’t not feel his pain.

Musically, Spring shows the band making tremendous strides. The jaunty barroom folk-pop of Peaceful has been replaced with an expansive, cinematic sound that’s appropriately slow, sad and stately and given to orchestral swells or noisy skronks as the situation demands. It’s a risky approach for the band, basically abandoning the approach that brought them their success, but in strictly artistic measures it’s an unqualified success. Spring makes Noah & The Whale a much more interesting band and Fink has turned his shortcomings into strengths, crafting a record that resonates truly and honestly with anyone who has ever had their heart broken.

First Days Of Spring was released in the UK at the end of August and will be out in North America come October 6. It will come packaged with a DVD with a 45-minute short film tied in to the album but not, apparently, having anything to do with Fink and Marling’s relationship and, from the looks of the trailer, not awful. Nice production values, anyways. The band will be in North America for a short tour in October which will wrap on October 31 at the Horseshoe in Toronto.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies” (Twelves remix)
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies” (Yacht remix)
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies”
Trailer: The First Days Of Spring
MySpace: Noah & The Whale

LAist has an interview with Fanfarlo frontman Simon Balthazar. Their debut Reservoir seems to have been released in every possible combination of independently, on a label, digitally, physically, as an import, what have you, but come October 13 it’ll be officially available domestically in North America. So if you missed one of the other million chances to get a copy of this wonderful record, you are now plumb out of excuses.

The St. Louis Tribune interviews Frightened Rabbit.

Stuff talks to Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. I’ve been saying that her debut Lungs doesn’t get a domestic release until October 13 but that may just be for the US – as was pointed out to me, it’s already available domestically in Canada. Oh who are we kidding – if you cared, you’d have downloaded it by now.

Editors have released a video for the first single from their forthcoming album In This Light & On This Evening, out October 13. And no, they were not kidding when they said they were going synthy on this record.

Video: Editors – “Papillon”

A couple of streams of new albums out now/soon from British acts coming to town in the next little while. London outfit The Rifles are really going after – and hitting – that Jam/mod vibe on their new record The Great Escape, out today. They’re at the Horseshoe on September 28.

MP3: The Rifles – “The Great Escape”
MP3: The Rifles – “The General”
MP3: The Rifles – “Romeo & Julie” (live)
Video: The Rifles – “The Great Escape”
Video: The Rifles – “The General”
Stream: The Rifles / The Great Escape

The Big Pink’s debut A Brief History Of Love isn’t out till next week, but is also available to stream now. See them at Lee’s Palace on November 29.

Stream: The Big Pink / A Brief History Of Love

The Quietus talks to Johnny Marr and The Cribs about their new record Ignore The Ignorant as well as Marr’s time with The Smiths. Further, The Guardian gets Marr to interview his former label boss Geoff Travis of Rough Trade.

Further with the Smiths, Marr’s former bandmate Andy Rourke was in town this past week as DJ for some TIFF parties – eye got an interview with the former Smiths bassist while Toronto Life overheard a briefer, more amusing conversation during his actual DJ set. And of course, Morrissey has taken umbrage with some of the stuff Rourke said in the eye interview. Mike Joyce presently has no comment on any of the above.

Oh yeah, that Smiths reunion is right around the corner. I can smell it.