Posts Tagged ‘Rogue Wave’

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Electric Bloom

An introduction to Foals (for me)

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sitting here trying to figure out why I never listened to Oxford’s Foals. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of them – I made note of both tours they undertook a couple years ago in support of their debut Antidotes, but don’t think I gave them any sort of listen beyond the sample MP3 and maybe a MySpace drive-by. Maybe it was the saxophones that turned me off. But I’m revisiting them – both Antidotes and this year’s follow-up Total Life Forever – and it’s doing it for me.

I wouldn’t have thought that I needed another tense, new-wavey/post-punky English band in my life but Foals feel different enough from the stereotype to warrant some attention. They’re certainly pointy in all the right places, but don’t really get as frantic on the dance floor as some of their peers, opting instead to dwell moodily in the corner. I appreciate the moody dwellers, and there’s much more of this side of their personality evident on Total Life Forever. I can sort of see why I might have passed over Antidotes but the extra bit of groove and sophistication on Total Life Forever is pretty much demanding further listens.

And so I won’t be missing them when they come through town a third time – Filter reports that the quintet are coming over to North America for a Fall tour, and that includes a September 27 date at Lee’s Palace. See you there.

MP3: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
MP3: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Miami”
Video: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
Video: Foals – “This Orient”
Video: Foals – “Cassius”
Video: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Hummer”
Video: Foals – “Mathletics”
MySpace: Foals

And speaking of third time’s the charm, you can’t say The Charlatans ever give up. Just as they’ve managed to outlive pretty much every other Madchester and Britpop band, they keep trying to come back to North America. They were going to come in October 2008, then canceled almost immediately. Then they slated a tour for September of last year, which got nixed a month before as drummer Jon Brookes required shoulder surgery. Some might take this as a sign, but they’ve just announced a North American tour in support of a new record entitled Who We Touch, out September 14, and it again includes a Toronto date for September 17 at Lee’s Palace. The two cancelled engagements were supposed to be at the Mod Club; maybe they’re hoping the change of venue changes their fortunes. And all joking aside, I do hope they make it over here this time, as there’s not a lot of shows that I can go to and still feel like one of the younger people in the room.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Oh! Vanity”
MP3: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”

They mentioned that it was their first time in Canada when they opened up for Spoon back in March, but Austin’s Strange Boys certainly haven’t been strangers around town since then. I think they played another gig that weekend, were back during NXNE and now they’re coming back with a date at The Garrison on September 22.

Video: The Strange Boys – “Be Brave”

It’s a solid bill from top to bottom as Rogue Wave, Midlake and Peter Wolf Crier team up for a Fall tour that includes a September 24 date at the Opera House.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Good Morning”
MP3: Midlake – “Acts Of Man”
MP3: Peter Wolf Crier – “Crutch & Cane”

James have compiled a couple of recent mini-albums for the North American market and will release them as the double-set The Morning After The Night Before on September 14, to be accompanied by a North American tour alongside Ed Harcourt that includes a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on September 30.

Video: James – “Sometimes (Lester Piggot)”
Video: Ed Harcourt – “Born In The ’70s”

Dr. Dog, who’ve just released a new record in Shame, Shame, will be hitting the road in support and bringing Here We Go Magic with them. Look for them at the Phoenix on October 16.

MP3: Dr. Dog – “Stranger”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Florence & The Machine should probably be working on album number two, which is targeted for an early 2011 release, but instead she’s coming back to North America this Fall, perhaps looking to leverage an appearance on the Twilight soundtrack (the same appearance which has put a Volvo ad on her website… sigh). The itinerary is still taking shape, but in addition to dates in New York and New Orleans, she’ll be in Toronto at the Sound Academy on November 3. Tickets are $30, on sale next Friday, but Rogers Wireless customers have a $20 presale starting Thursday – kind of makes up for that monthly system access fee, doesn’t it?

MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”

Bust out your surgical masks – Clinic are releasing a new album in Bubblegum on October 5 and crossing the Atlantic to promote it. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on November 10.

MP3: Clinic – “Family”

Richard Ashcroft tells The Guardian why this last, past Verve reunion is/was the final one.

Filter and Paste chat with Teenage Fanclub, kicking off their Fall tour with two nights at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

Blurt talks to Joe Boyd, producer of R.E.M.’s Fables Of The Reconstruction. Their third record is being rereleased in double deluxe form today and you can stream it over at Spinner. Only the album, though – none of the bonus goodies.

Stream: R.E.M. / Fables Of The Reconstruction

Spin is offering up another track from Versus’ forthcoming On The Ones And Threes, due out September 14. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 13.

Under The Radar talks to The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt.

Steve Earle talks to Offbeat about his role on Treme, his Emmy nomination and New Orleans.

Spinner talks to Sharin Foo of The Raveonettes.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Deny All

Review of Bettie Serveert’s Pharmacy Of Love

Photo By Phil HarderPhil HarderDid anyone see this coming? I certainly didn’t. This question, of course, is only relevant to those of a certain age/era for whom the name, “Bettie Serveert” still means something. To everyone else: get off my lawn.

Aside for the unfamiliar: the Betties were the Netherlands’ finest rock export since Golden Earring and a staple of ’90s college rock with three albums on Matador full of crunchy guitar pop and Carol Van Dijk’s expressive vocals. Entering the 21st century, they explored side projects and released records less frequently and on a variety of labels. The best of them was 2000’s Private Suit, which seemed to usher in a new era of maturity and elegance for the band – different, sure, but excellent. Subsequent releases were more scattershot affairs, however, with their share of high points but lacking in cohesion and direction. It was a good run, but fans – this one, at least – figured their best was behind them.

At least until their new album Pharmacy Of Love, due out in North American March 23, arrived in my mailbox and promptly knocked me on my ass. Opening track “Deny All” is not the work of a band lacking purpose or phoning it in. Fast, loud and focused, it’s the sound of a band re-energized and rocking harder than they even did in their youth and sets the tone for the rest of the record. And there’s no over-compensation here, no sense they’re trying to prove they can still keep up with the kids – they simply are, and easily. Best of all, as thrilling as Pharmacy is on a visceral level, all of the best Bettie signature moves are in place – Peter Visser’s guitar lines weave, lurch and bite while Van Dijk’s voice has arguably never sounded better nor her melodies more memorable. I didn’t realize how much I missed Bettie Serveert until I got them back.

Pharmacy Of Love was released in January in Europe and is due out on March 23, with rumours of live North American dates to follow. They haven’t been back here since 2005 and that show at The Horseshoe was all kinds of awesome, even in support of a weaker record. Pharmacy Of Love live? Yes, please.

MP3: Bettie Serveert – “Semaphore”
MP3: Bettie Serveert – “The Pharmacy”
Video: Bettie Serveert – “Deny All”
MySpace: Bettie Serveert

Filter talks to Jonsi about his solo ambitions. His album Go is out March 23 and he plays the Sound Academy April 30 and May 1. Q&As Under Byen about their new album Alt Er Tabt, out April 6.

Features in Time and The Wall Street Journal are a pretty good sign the mainstream has taken note of Joanna Newsom. She plays The Phoenix on March 13.

NPR has a World Cafe session with St. Vincent.

eMusic talks to Holly Miranda.

DCist and Encore have interviews with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, whose new record The Big To-Do hits next week. “Zip City” showed up on shuffle on my iPhone the other day, and my anticipation for this record increased exponentially. They have two dates at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and 7.

Spinner talks to My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan about their M.O. for choosing cover songs.

Pitchfork has details on the new album from Band Of Horses, entitled Infinite Arms and due out May 18. That gives you a month to learn all the songs by heart before they play the Toronto Islands Concert on June 19.

Also playing the Toronto Islands Concert are Beach House, who have a complete show in Brooklyn available to stream at Baeble Music as well as a video interview. CokeMachineGlow also has a chat.

Spinner, The AV Club and The Boston Globe talk to Rogue Wave.

The Line Of Best Fit, American Songwriter and NPR have feature interviews with Spoon. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29.

Venice Is Sinking have announced details about their next album – Sand & Lines: The Georgia Theatre Sessions is due out June 15 and will showcase the band live, off the floor, with just two mics and no overdubs.

MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Falls City”

Spinner talks to Minipop.

The Los Angeles Times has an interview and MPR an interview and streamable session with Phantogram. They’re at Supermarket on March 12 as part of Canadian Musicfest.

Also all over Canadian Musicfest are The Uglysuit, with two official festival shows next week – an acoustic gig at the Library Bar in the Royal York on March 11 and a fully plugged-in set at Lee’s Palace on March 12. The Brock Press has an interview with the Oklahoman collective.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs assemble a playlist for The Guardian.

OK Go will be at the Mod Club on April 23, hoping that their fans find them as entertaining live as they do on YouTube.

Video: OK Go – “This Too Shall Pass”

And know what I want for my birthday? High Violet. Yes. Just wait.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Good Morning

Review of Rogue Wave’s Permalight and giveaway

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceRogue Wave’s 2003 debut Out Of The Shadow was aptly named, considering they’d spend the first few years of their existence trying to accomplish just that from their labelmates The Shins. Both helped Sub Pop shed its hard rock reputation and redefine itself as the go-to label for quality indie-pop, but it was The Shins that busted out into mainstream success while Rogue Wave toiled away to just modest acclaim.

Fast-forward a few (or more than a few years) and Sub Pop is now known as sensitive bearded dude central, The Shins are down to just frontman James Mercer and on hiatus, and Rogue Wave trundles on. No longer on Sub Pop, the lineup has changed a number of times – frontman Zach Schwartz and drummer Pat Spurgeon the only constants – and endured more than their fair share of hardships and tragedies including but not limited to paralysis, organ failure and death. But with their fourth album Permalight, due out March 2, they have come out through it all with possibly the most upbeat and enjoyable album yet.

Their sound has taken exceptionally well to the addition of electronic elements, the injection of synths and loops helping the record’s standout tracks reach an orbit that earlier albums had only hinted at. The simple folk-pop structures, sharp melodicism and gentle, dreamy vocals that have always lain at the heart of Schwartz’s compositions remain, but the production augments them, Steve Austin-style, such that the tunes feel tauter, more dynamic and hookier than certainly I ever thought they’d be able to deliver. Numbers such as “Good Morning” and the title track burst forth from the speakers with technicolour vim, sounding not like a band beaten down by life but buoyed by it, despite it all. Shins, the ball is in your court.

Rogue Wave on tour starting at the end of this month and through April in support of the new record. They’re playing the Mod Club in Toronto on February 26 – tickets are $15 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to ride the Rogue Wave” in the subject line and your full name in the body – contest closes at midnight, February 22. And while you’re angling for free Rogue Wave stuff, head over here to trade your email for a download of the album’s opening track.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Good Morning”
MySpace: Rogue Wave

The Scotsman profiles Spoon, in town on March 29 at the Sound Academy.

JamBase talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

Kurt Vile will play an in-store at Criminal Records on Friday, February 26th in advance of his show opening up for Fucked Up at the Opera House later that evening. Exact time to be determined. In-store goes at 6:30PM.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Overnite Religion”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Hunchback”

Pitchfork asks Ted Leo to list off his most profound musical influences at all ages from youth to today. His new album The Brutalist Bricks is out March 9.

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields tells Chart that advances in technology have facilitated his return to synthesizers on his next record, while NPR has an interview and session.

Crawdaddy talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, while Stereogum gets a look around his Oklahoma City digs.

Aquarium Drunkard interviews The Antlers. They’re at the Phoenix tonight opening up for Editors.

JAM has a feature piece on Wilco. They’re in the area next week with shows at Hamilton Place Theatre on February 23 and London’s Centennial Hall on February 24.

Westword talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

Pitchfork interviews Beach House, in town at the Opera House on March 30.

Holly Miranda is currently streaming the whole of her solo debut The Magician’s Private Library at her MySpace a week ahead of its February 23 release.

Stream: Holly Miranda / The Magician’s Private Library

Illness has forced Kings Of Convenience to postpone their North American tour, which was supposed to start last week. That’s postponed, not canceled – the February 18 date at The Phoenix will be made up on June 8, same venue.

Sweden’s Sambassadeur are sharing another track from their forthcoming album European, due out February 23.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Stranded”

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I Don't Know What To Say

Review of The Magnetic Fields’ Realism

Image via NonesuchNonesuchI recently finished reading Our Noise, the book about Merge Records’ 20th anniversary (which is excellent and highly recommended, by the way), and was struck by three of the bands covered in-depth, and the paths they’ve taken. There was Spoon, who despite becoming more successful with each album have chosen to stick with the label that got them there; Neutral Milk Hotel, who retired after crafting their masterpiece; and The Magnetic Fields, who used their own career-defining work as a stepping stone to the majors, and a deal with Nonesuch. And much like the problem of a sports team signing a free agent player after a career year, there was no guarantee that they’d ever be able to repeat the feat.

While hardly idle in the past decade – Stephin Merritt has tried his hand at soundtracks and musicals – the output from the formerly prolific Magnetic Fields has slowed down considerably, with this week’s Realism only their third release in the past decade and, perhaps more importantly, the final part of their self-declared “no synths” trilogy. Important not so much because it represents the climax of another creative masterwork, but because the return to synthesized sounds on the next record will hopefully mean a return to form for the band.

This is not to suggest that the problems with The Magnetic Fields’ 21st century output have been chiefly tied to their choice of instrumentation or their choice of label. It’s just that since the concepts behind their albums switched from thematic to aesthetic, they’ve been consistently less memorable. And it’s not that writing songs whose titles began with the letter “i” – as on i – or are recorded with an early Jesus & Mary Chain production style – as on the aptly-titled Distortion – couldn’t yield good records; it’s just that they haven’t been up to the standard of earlier Magnetic Fields works and I’d rather blame the conceit than the creator.

Realism‘s angle is that it’s the folk-pop record, recorded almost completely with acoustic instruments, and as such it’s sonically lovely; the guitars, strings and woodwinds far more pleasing to these ears, at least, than the unrelenting square wave-ism of Distortion. On the songwriting side of things, however, it sadly fits with its predecessors as feeling decidedly detached and not measuring up to what Merritt has already proven himself capable of. Certainly it’s melodic and more than few clever turns of phrase, but the honest, emotional vulnerability that was present in his Merge-era work and which seemed to evaporate post-Love Songs remains elusive, hidden behind a shield of irony. But Merritt has always been more interested in the craftsmanship of the song rather than its potential as a means of personal, emotional expression so perhaps this isn’t a surprise, and more the natural and inevitable evolution of his art. I personally hope that’s not the case, and somewhere in the closet with all his synths also lies his heart and they’ll all be back in play with the next record.

The Magnetic Fields play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 8. Exclaim has assembled a timeline following the career of Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields. The National Post, CBC, Metro Weekly, Spinner, Pitchfork and Drowned In Sound all have interviews with Merritt and DiS also has a stream of the album. There’s also a series of videos about the making of the record over at Nonesuch and How Fucking Romantic is a wonderful blog dedicated to rendering 69 Love Songs in illustration.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “Everything Is One Big Christmas”
Video: The Magnetic Fields – “We Are Having A Hootenanny”
Stream: The Magnetic Fields / Realism
MySpace: The Magnetic Fields

Exclaim and NPR have interviews with Spoon. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29.

Paper and The Baltimore Sun have feature interviews with Beach House, whose Teen Dream was finally released this week. Of all the videos they briefly premiered last week, the one for “Silver Soul” has stuck around. The others can be seen on the DVD component of the album. They play the Opera House on March 30.

Video: Beach House – “Silver Soul”

Prefix talks to Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasser and Andy Stack. They’ll be at Lee’s Palace on April 1 opening up for Shearwater.

Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg has penned a piece for The Huffington Post on the topics of climate change and population explosion. Their new album The Golden Archipelago is out February 23.

Dallas Observer has a huge feature on Midlake while The Line Of Best Fit and QuickDFW interview frontman Tim Smith. Their new album The Courage Of Others is out next week but streaming at NPR now, while The Guardian will be giving away five studio session tracks from the band this Saturday.

Stream: Midlake / The Courage Of Others

Pitchfork has some details on and a stream of a new song from Joanna Newsom’s forthcoming triple – you read that right – album Have One On Me, out March 23. She plays The Phoenix on March 13.

Tulsa World interviews Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan.

Sterogum gets a progress report from School Of Seven Bells on their second album Disconnect From Desire, due out this Spring.

Spinner talks to Rogue Wave’s Zach Schwartz about their new record Permalight, due out March 2. They’re at the Mod Cub on February 26.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Good Morning”

Black Book talks to Steve Earle.

Full dates for the Serena Maneesh North American tour have been announced, but contrary to what the listing says the April 2 Toronto show will indeed be at The Great Hall, as previously reported, and not the Opera House. I asked; it’s cool. S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor is still out March 23 and a second MP3 from the record has just been put out into the world.

MP3: Serena Maneesh – “I Just Want To See Your Face”

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Living This Life

An introduction to The Dutchess & The Duke

Photo By Andrew WaitsAndrew WaitsIt doesn’t seem quite accurate to call this an “introduction” to Seattle’s The Dutchess & The Duke since I technically already wrote up the duo of Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison when I saw them during CMJ 2008, but whatever. My blog, and I can do what I like, and rather than do a review of either their 2008 debut She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke or last year’s follow-up Sunset/Sunrise, I’ll mash observations on both together since, thankfully, they’re not too far apart from one another.

The where of it is the fertile juncture where folk, blues and pop intersect and the when is the late ’60s, when the aforementioned stylistic crossroads was occupied by the likes of Dylan and The Rolling Stones and they were arguably making their greatest records. This isn’t to put The Dutchess & The Duke in that same rarefied air, but sonically, those are really the best reference points. Both records are filled with dark, sometimes black, lyricism mitigated by tight harmonies and sweet melodies overtop spare, occasionally sweeping, primarily acoustic arrangements filtered through pleasingly grainy production. It’s a timeless recipe that’s either not used nearly enough or not done nearly well enough but which The Dutchess & The Duke are doing a fine job of keeping alive and vital.

The Dutchess & The Duke are currently on tour and will be at Sneaky Dee’s on January 12. The Arkansas Times has an interview with Jesse Lortz. Update: Luxury Wafers just posted a live session – video and audio – with the band.

MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Hands”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Reservoir Park”
Video: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Mary”
MySpace: The Dutchess & The Duke

10,000 Birds has an ornithology-oriented interview with Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater. Their new record The Golden Archipelago is out February 23.

Stereogum has got a first MP3 from the new Rogue Wave album Permalight, due out March 2. They have a gig at the Mod Club on February 26.

Daytrotter serves up a session with Headlights.

Matador has announced that the forthcoming Pavement reunion will be accompanied by reissues of all their albums on LP and a new compilation album allowing all the youngn’s who don’t understand why all the oldsters are getting all worked up a crash course in Stockton, California’s finest. Quarantine The Past will be out March 9 and rather than announce the complete 23-song tracklist, they’re making a game of it and asking fans to submit their guesses of what the almost-two dozen selections will be and offering some pretty swank prizes in return. To get you started, these two are pretty much shoo-ins – the other 21 are up to you.

MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Pavement – “Rattled By The Rush”

Paste talks to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne about their Dark Side Of The Moon cover album.

On Monday I linked to an interview with Love Is All about their at-the-time still largely ambiguous third record, then yesterday there was the concert announcement that puts the Swedes at the Horsesehoe on April 3 with Japandroids, implying that the record might be out sooner rather than later and now today – via Pitchfork – are the official details and first sample of Two Thousand And Ten Injuries, out March 23 on Polyvinyl. I feel reasonably confident that there will be no Love Is All content tomorrow. Unless there is.

MP3: Love Is All – “Kungen”

A Place To Bury Strangers have released a new video from Exploding Head while 4AD has got a couple of studio performances from The Big Pink to watch. Both acts are at the Mod Club on March 24.

Video: A Place To Bury Strangers – “Keep Slipping Away”

UK dancey-rocky outfit Hadouken! have a date at the El Mocambo on February 9 in support of their new album For The Masses, due out February 2.

MP3: Hadouken! – “M.A.D.”

Prefix interviews Owen Clarke of Hot Chip. Their new one One Life Stand is out February 9 and they play the Kool Haus on April 20.

TwentyFourBit has details on a Davide Bowie tribute/War Child benefit album due out later this year, and featuring contributions from the likes of Chairlift, Vivian Girls and Keren Ann.

BBC has revealed their long list of candidates for the title of “The Sound of 2010”. I ended up paying quite a bit of attention to much of the class of 2009 so I should probably start getting acquainted with their picks for this year.