Posts Tagged ‘Rogue Wave’

Friday, December 11th, 2009

All Yr Songs Are Belong To Us

Sony stages Diamond Rings heist

Photo By David WaldmanDavid WaldmanThe tale of Toronto’s Diamond Rings was one of the unexpected little Toronto triumphs of the Summer, what with the electro-glam alter-ego of D’Urbervilles frontman Jon O’Regan releasing a fun video to go with his debut 7″ single, “All Yr Songs”, and having it quickly get not only catch the ear of Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, but also garner title of “Best New Music” by the same tastemaking site, leading to plenty of attention, singles sales and plum opening slots.

The happy tale took an unfortunate turn Wednesday, however, as the YouTube clip – at 50,000 plays and counting – was unceremoniously pulled because of “a copyright claim by Sony BMG Music Entertainment”. This was especially odd considering that the song is an original, sample-free composition and the video, while paying tribute to the aesthetic of early hip-hop videos, was also wholly original. Exactly what the basis for Sony-BMG’s DMCA claim on the clip is unknown, as neither they nor Google are talking, but perhaps they’ve enlisted Gollum as their new head of A&R? Get it? Gollum? Wants the ring? His precious? No? Never mind.

But in all seriousness, this is a lousy situation not only for O’Regan but for video director Colin Medley who, for being the one to have uploaded the clip, has had is account essentially put on notice, being informed that as a YouTube user, he is “not in good standing” and further “strikes may result in the termination of your
account”. That the situation is bullshit is clear; what can be done about it is muddier, though some would advocate a Sony boycott. There are processes in place for appealing DMCA notices and those wheels have been put into motion, but as any music blogger who’s held a Blogspot account – also a Google property – knows, the would-be, presumably benign overlords of the internet aren’t big on communication. Here’s hoping it all gets sorted out sooner rather than later.

Even with this setback, Diamond Rings is still full steam ahead – a new single will be out in the new year, followed but a full-length album, he’s playing the Tranzac New Year’s Eve bender (taking place New Year’s Eve at the Tranzac – duh), opening up for Final Fantasy at the Mod Club on January 12 and will be heading down to Austin for SxSW in March. Sony will have to hire a team of interns to stop him.

NOW talked to O’Regan about the YouTube kerfuffle. You can still watch the video at Vimeo and listen to the tune in both its original form and remixed, if it suits your fancy, and if you see/hear anything that sounds like a crib from a Sony-BMG artist, do speak up. I’m sure the creators would love to find out exactly who they ripped off and how.

Update: Okay, the YouTube clip has been un-banned though no explanation as to why has been given. My completely baseless theory is that it may have mistakenly gotten caught up in some Vevo-related dragnet of material that the labels were seeking to clean up/seize control of. I’ll relay anything else I learn, but the important thing is you can now watch Jon bust a move on the online streaming video platform of your choice.
Update 2: NOW has updated their piece, saying Sony is claiming it was a case of mistaken identity with a Sony artist named Chipmunk who had a song called “Diamond Rings”. Uh-huh.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs” ((GOBBLE GOBBLE’s Wings for Eyeliner remix)
Video: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”

The Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Torontoist, NOW and eye salute Constantines on the occasion of their tenth anniversary as one of Canada’s foremost rock bands. Their series of southern Ontario anniversary shows hits Toronto tonight at Lee’s Palace and continue on there tomorrow and December 19.

Ohbijou are capping off their own terrific year by giving away a free cover of Wham!’s holiday classic, “Last Christmas”. Head over here to grab it.

Woodpigeon have shared the MP3 of a Pink Floyd cover they recorded for a Mojo compilation. I had suggested they do “Run Like Hell”, but no one ever listens to me. Their new record Die Stadt Muzikanten is out January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Mother” (Pink Floyd cover)

The Besnard Lakes’ identity crisis continues – apparently they no longer believe themselves to be The Dark Horse for as of March 9, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. The new album will be preceded a month earlier with the release of a new single “Albatross” on 12″.

College Times and Austin360 talk to the Rural Alberta Advantage.

The Joy Formidable, who had me scrambling to check airfare prices upon seeing they’re playing four shows in New York at the start of next January (no I’m not going), are getting into the holiday spirit by giving away a free MP3 of a new song just crackling with festive cheer – “My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees”. Now that’s my kind of Christmas carol. I love this band – someone give them tonnes of money so they can tour over here, or give me tonnes of money so I can go see them wherever they play. Actually, let’s just pursue scenario two.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees”

eye has a video interview and The New York Observer a print one with The xx. They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20 with Hot Chip, who’ve released a video for the title track from their next album One Life Stand, out February 9.

Video: Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”

Rogue Wave will be at the Mod Club on February 26 to promote their new album Permalight, which will be in stores on March 2.

Electro duo YACHT have set a port of call for Wrongbar on March 4 as part of a cross-Canada tour. Their latest album See Mystery Lights was released earlier this year.

Video: YACHT – “Psychic City (Voodoo City)”

Los Angeles’ Foreign Born and Philadelphia’s Free Energy will be at the El Mocambo on March 9. The former released Person To Person earlier this year, the latter has nothing in tangible form but a nifty digital EP you can get on the interwebs. No, it’s not free. The energy is free, the music is not.

MP3: Foreign Born – “Vacationing People”
MP3: Foreign Born – “Early Warnings”
MP3: Free Energy – “Free Energy”
MP3: Free Energy – “Something In Common”
Video: Foreign Born – “Early Warnings”
Video: Foreign Born – “Winter Games”
Video: Free Energy – “Free Energy”

Exclaim has details of the second She & Him record, entitled Volume Two (it’s the second volume, y’see?) and out March 23.

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

I Keep Faith

Billy Bragg and Ron Hawkins at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangQ: Without a new record to promote – Mr. Love & Justice has been out for close to two years – what reason did Billy Bragg have for staging an ambitious cross-Canada tour?

A: Who cares? Any time you get the opportunity to see Billy Bragg live, you take it, no questions asked.

Of course, I say that having missed his last three appearances in Toronto – the September 2006 show at the Music Hall for not one but two weddings, the June 2008 in-store at HMV because I was working and the show that same night at Harbourfront for no reason I can recall. So Tuesday night’s show at the Phoenix marked the first occasion I’d see him perform since March 2006; in other words, far too long. The fact that this tour was somewhat without context was extra exciting, because the two proper shows of his I’d seen before were great but a little too rich with context – the 2006 show was to promote his Volume 1 box set and as such, only included material from that era and the July 2003 show at the El Mocambo was part of his “Talkin’ Woody” tour and as such, was almost 100% Woody. So it goes without saying that there was a LOT of material I’d been waiting a long, long time to hear live.

Support for the tour was perfectly chosen, with none other than hometowner Ron Hawkins – former frontman for my beloved Lowest Of The Low – kicking things off. It was an eminently logical choice as The Low and Bragg had played together back in the ’90s and Hawkins’ sharp folk-punk songwriting owes Bragg more than a few debts. Performing solo and acoustic, Hawkins showcased material from his new album 10 Kinds Of Lonely amidst some great banter, a tune from his other old outfit The Rusty Nails and a gorgeous and unexpected cover of Ryan Adams’ “Oh My Sweet Carolina”. Damn, Adams had the goods before he lost his mind. And Hawkins, happily, still does. He plays a show at the Dakota Tavern tonight before hitting the road out west with Bragg.

I’ve never seen Billy Bragg play with a band, but having heard live recordings of he with The Blokes, I’m perfectly fine with that. Not that they sound bad – not at all – but when it comes down to it, all Bragg needs is an electric guitar. And a cup of tea. Kicking things off with the oldest of the old school “World Turned Upside Down” before leaping ahead to a sublime pair of those aforementioned never-heard-live tunes from Don’t Try This At Home – “Accident Waiting to Happen” and “Cindy of A Thousand Lives”. Yeah, this was going to be a good night. At first, however, it seemed that Billy might disagree. Though sounding fine, he seemed a bit distracted or even perturbed at first – at least not the gregarious rabble-rouser he usually was.

A few songs in, when he got chattier, he revealed one of the reasons for his mood – just a couple days prior, it was announced that the execrable leader of the ultra-right British National Party, Nick Griffin, was going to be running for Parliament in Bragg’s very own home riding of Barking – the sort of news would drive any sensible person up the wall, let alone one as politically-minded and leftist as Bragg. He quickly got into proper form, however, and that along with myriad other injustices in the world – politicians, bankers, the military, North American football (or “runny runny catchy”, as he called it) – were called out and used as fuel for his performance.

As always, his between-song banter was as essential a part of the show as the songs themselves, and while we didn’t get a Morrissey story this time out, but there were fine tales about Woody Guthrie’s tumescence (with regards to “Ingrid Bergman”), his reaction to the misreported death of Margaret Thatcher, guitar quotes of “Seven Nation Army” and “Smoke On The Water” during the implied trumpet solo in “The Saturday Boy” and a profanity-riddled reading of poet John Cooper Clarke’s “Evidently Chickentown” to name but a few high points.

For all the funning, though, Bragg never travels without a message or two and those were well conveyed through anthems like “NPWA” and “O Freedom”, the latter introduced with a pointed comment about Canada’s handling of the Omar Khdar affair. But rather than accuse and criticize, Bragg was aware that he was largely preaching to the converted with the mostly-packed Phoenix audience and devoted most of his efforts to inspiring and mobilizing, decrying cynicism as the real enemy. To punctuate the point, the main set wrapped with a rousing run of “All You Fascists”, “I Keep Faith” and “There Is Power In A Union”. Heady stuff, indeed.

And it wasn’t done. Coming back out for the encore almost as soon as he stepped off stage, Bragg would do his own version of the “Don’t Look Back” movement of playing complete albums live, running through his debut mini-album Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy almost in sequence, saving “A New England” for the grand, singalong finale to two glorious hours of Bragg. The absence of “St. Swithin’s Day” or anything from Worker’s Playtime was a bit disappointing, but for someone with a catalog as deep as Bragg’s there’s just no way to satisfy everyone. The only answer, I suppose, is for him to keep coming back – no excuse needed.

JAM and Panic Manual were also in attendance at the show. The Scope, Vue, FFWD,, See, JAM and The Coast have all been conducting interviews with Bragg as he travels the country. Ron Hawkins gets some attention from Vue and Buffalo News.

Photos: Billy Bragg, Ron Hawkins @ The Phoenix – November 17, 2009
MP3: Billy Bragg – “I Keep Faith”
MP3: Billy Bragg – “Take Down The Union Jack”
MP3: Billy Bragg – “Must I Paint You A Picture?”
MP3: Billy Bragg – “Valentine’s Day Is Over” (live)
Video: Billy Bragg – “NPWA”
Video: Billy Bragg – “The Boy Done Good”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Sexuality”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Waiting For The Great Leap Forward”
Video: Billy Bragg – “You Woke Up My Neighbourhood”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Levi Stubbs’ Tears”
MySpace: Billy Bragg
MySpace: Ron Hawkins

The Telegraph and The Sheaf talk to Dan Mangan.

Rolling Stone talks to Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard about their Jack Kerouac project One Fast Move or I’m Gone.

Drowned In Sound meets We Were Promised Jetpacks.

Matablog has a video teaser trailer for Shearwater’s new album The Golden Archipelago, due out February 23 in North America, a week later than the rest of the world.

Rogue Wave have set a March 2 release date for their new record Permalight.

Mumford & Sons have released a new video from Sigh No More, which will be getting a North American release in the early part of 2010.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Winter Winds”

Bandstand Busking has session with Micachu & The Shapes.

Self-Titled talks about Bonfires On The Heath’s non-musical inspirations with The Clientele’s Alasdair MacLean.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

God Knows I Had Plans

Review of The Mary Onettes’ Islands

Photo By Gunnar BjorlingGunnar BjorlingI am convinced that somewhere within the Labrador Records offices in Stockholm, there exists a magical machine that issues mandates to bands on the roster as to what their next albums must sound like. For example, The Radio Dept drew “Belle & Sebastian meets the Jesus & Mary Chain” for their debut and then “depressed Pet Shop Boys” for the follow-up and The Mary Onettes, it seems, were told to make their new record Puzzles sound like “the Shout Out Louds covering Echo & The Bunnymen”, though their official bio namechecks a-ha as well, and I don’t know that I’d argue that point.

This reductive one-liner approach isn’t intended to be dismissive because though I may poke fun at them for wearing their influences on their sleeves, they wear them like goddamn supermodels. Islands brims with grandly romantic songs built on shimmering guitar figures, swelling synths and soaring melodies and tempered by the distinctive Scandinavian melancholy that makes the best Swedish pop so delectable. Some of the numbers drift by, well-meaning if a touch anonymous, but the hits are bullseyes, particularly if you’ve a weak spot as I do for the sounds and styles that are their primary inspirations – “Puzzles” and “God Knows I Had Plans”, in particular, are clean sniper head-shots of awesome.

Frustratingly, like most of their labelmates, The Mary Onettes aren’t given to a lot of touring on this side of the Atlantic – they just wrapped a four-date jaunt in the eastern US which got some high profile attention but probably won’t be a precursor to more extensive visits in the future. I still maintain that a Labrador traveling caravan tour across North America with a pile of their bands on the bill would… probably lose a tonne of money, but certainly make for some great music.

Strange Glue has a song-by-song walkthrough of Islands from frontman Phillip Ekstrom. RCRDLBL has a second MP3 from the album available to download.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “Puzzles”
Video: The Mary Onettes – “Puzzles”
MySpace: The Mary Onettes

Coincidentally, labelmates Sambassadeur – whose one-line mandate could be “twee-folk Camera Obscura meets orch-pop Camera Obscura sometime in the ’80s” – have gotten a new record ready for a January 2010 release. The first MP3 from European is available to grab below.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Days”

Norwegian shoegaze/drone merchants Serena-Maneesh return after a five-year hiatus with a new album on 4AD in March 2010. I think I liked these guys alright – I recall their live shows were ridiculous but honestly, it’s been so long, I don’t remember.

Video: Serena-Maneesh – “Drain Cosmetics”
Video: Serena-Maneesh – “Sapphire Eyes”

Though Editors won’t release their new album In This Light And On This Evening doesn’t get a North American release until January 19 of the new year, that’s not stopping the PR engine over here from getting started – Spin talks to frontman Tom Smith about the title track of the album while Spinner is streaming the whole record for a week.

Stream: Editors / In This Light And On This Evening

The Guardian has the premiere of the new Patrick Wolf video from The Bachelor, presumably the last single because 2010 is supposed to be the year of the sequel, The Conqueror! has an inerview with Wolf.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Damaris”

Spinner goes behind the scenes of the latest Ladyhawke video for “Magic”. She talks to WA Today about the confusion/controversy arising from different countries wanting to lay claim to her success (born in New Zealand, started her music in Australia, now resides in Britain).

Video: Ladyhawke – “Magic”

I had to stop ragging on Joe Pernice for never playing any local shows since becoming a Toronto resident after his wonderful Dakota Tavern show in September and it seems the return to live local performance has stuck. Joe will be performing at the Music Gallery on Wednesday night along with D-Sisive and The Reveries as part of “Songs For Jesse Presley”, an art project named for Elvis Presley’s stillborn twin brother and co-presented by Zoilus, who has more information on the show.

The AV Club talks to The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard.

Some of you who’ve been visiting a while may recall a few years ago, I auctioned off a copy of Emily Haines’ super-rare first solo record Cut In Half And Also Double as a fundraising effort for Pat Spurgeon, drummer of Rogue Wave, who needed a kidney transplant. Not that Metric or Rogue Wave had anything in common, but it was the most potentially valuable music-related thing that I didn’t have any need to keep. I consider the efforts a success, netting $177.50 USD, and Spurgeon eventually had the necessary transplant and is feeling much better now. And he’s also the subject of a documentary film called D Tour, which follows Spurgeon in his search for a suitable transplant while continuing to live the rock’n’roll dream.

Trailer: D Tour