Posts Tagged ‘Rosebuds’

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

All Eternals Deck

The Mountain Goats and Megafaun at The Opera House in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve wondered a number of times in the past few years if John Darnielle even knew he was neglecting Toronto again. It took him more than a decade of operating as principal of The Mountain Goats to come to Toronto – his appearance at Lee’s Palace in May 2005 was his first visit ever – and after a few years of regular shows, neither his itinerary for 2008’s Heretic Pride nor 2009’s The Life Of The World To Come or last year’s Extra Lens side project saw fit to make their way up here. They did make it through twice in support of Get Lonely, but that was still three and a half years ago – four if, like me, you only went to the the first one.

A little ways into Sunday’s night’s show at The Opera House, he did indeed admit that he didn’t realize that it had been so long and while I don’t recall if he apologized outright, if his intention was to make it up to us in song… well, mission accomplished. The goodness started with the opening act, fellow North Carolinians Megafaun whom I’d been fortunate enough to see last year. The trio took their “warm up” duties seriously, doing their very best to get the audience roused and excited for the show to come with their spirited country-gospel-blues brew and genial down-home charm. Not many bands would offer their spare room to fans who come visit them in Raleigh and even fewer would actually mean it – but I’m pretty sure Brad Cook did. Want to see an immensely talented trio of musicians who just love what they do? Go see Megafaun.

The cult of Mountain Goats fans – who were out in force on this evening – have let me down as I’ve as yet been unable to track down a set list for the show. I’ve been a Goats fan since Tallahassee but don’t have nearly the encyclopaedic knowledge of John Darnielle’s body of work to try and compile a list of everything that was aired on Sunday night. But sufficed to say that their epic-length – we’re talking ninety minutes plus over a full set, six-song second set and single-song encore – set drew from all points of The Mountain Goats repertoire, from the just-released All Eternals Deck and back as far as 1995’s Sweden. Hell, maybe they went back as far as Darnielle’s 1994 debut Zopilote Machine; I don’t know, there was a good number of songs I didn’t recognize.

Even some of the songs I did know, I didn’t instantly recognize. For while The Mountain Goats have essentially been a full band since Jon Wurster joined Darnielle and bassist Peter Hughes for Heretic Pride in 2008, I had never seen them live as anything but an acoustic guitar-and-bass duo. And here they were as a quartet – keyboardist/guitarist Yuval Semo rounded out the live lineup – with a wealth of sounds and tempos and textures at their disposal; so very unlike the Mountain Goats I remember and so very very wonderful. Only the most steadfast purist would argue they sounded better as a duo or solo, and probably also wish that Darnielle would ditch the studio and go back to recording on a boom box. So when I say “steadfast purist”, I really mean “batshit looney”.

High fidelity Mountain Goats sound amazing and while Darnielle has always been an entertaining performer, seeing him really cut loose as a – dare I say – rock frontman is a revelation. And though (bare) feet did go up on the stage monitors at the show’s end, he’s hardly become a collection of cliched stage moves. As much a crucial part of the magic of the evening as the music was his between-song banter, delivered in his distinctive clipped cadence and covering topics such as why he wore no shoes on stage (inspired by Amy Grant), why he almost put rocks in his ears and his inability at age 15 to break up with his girlfriend honourably, amongst many others. Really, trying to summarize everything that made this show memorable would require pretty much a minute-by-minute accounting of the evening, and that’d be ridiculous. All I can say is that if you want to know what a live Mountain Goats show is like, see them the next time they come to town. And hope it’s not another three and a half years before that happens.

The Baltimore Sun has an interview with John Darnielle, NYC Taper is sharing recordings of two of the Mountain Goats shows in New York last week and Spin welcomed the band for an acoustic video session.

Photos: The Mountain Goats, Megafaun @ The Opera House – April 3, 2011
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “The Age Of Kings”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Damn Those Vampires”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Tyler Lambert’s Grave”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Genesis 3:23”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Sax Rohmer #1”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “New Monster Avenue”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Woke Up New”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Lion’s Teeth”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Palmcorder Yanja”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “No Children”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Baboon”
MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Family Happiness”
MP3: Megafaun – “Volunteers”
MP3: Megafaun – “The Fade”
MP3: Megafaun – “Kaufman’s Ballad”
MP3: Megafaun – “The Process”
Video: The Mountain Goats – “Ezekiel 7 and The Permanent Efficacy of Grace”
Video: The Mountain Goats – “Sax Rohmer #1”
Video: The Mountain Goats – “Woke Up New”
Video: The Mountain Goats – “This Year”
Video: Megafaun – “Carolina Days”
Video: Megafaun – “Impressions Of The Past”

Prefix, Square, The Lincoln Journal-Star and On Milwaukee have interviews with Sharon Van Etten, in town at the Drake Underground on April 12.

Prefix, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Gateway meet The Dodos, in town at The Phoenix on June 16.

Fleet Foxes have released a video from their forthcoming Helplessness Blues, due out May 3.

Video: Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean”

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with The Head & The Heart, whose self-titled debut should be in everyone’s shopping baskets when it comes out on Record Store Day next Saturday, April 16.

DIY and have conversations with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.

All five Terminal 5 recordings that My Morning Jacket are releasing leading up to the premiere of a new song from Circuital are up for grabs. A new song from Circuital will be revealed on April 12 and the album will be released on May 31. The band will be at The Kool Haus to play these songs for you and more on July 11.

MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Butch Cassidy” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “The Way That He Sings” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “It Beats 4 U” (live at Terminal 5)
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Smokin’ From Shootin'” (live at Terminal 5)

Will Johnson, following a stint as drummer for Monsters Of Folk, returns to his own works with the release of a new Centro-Matic record – Candidate Waltz will be out on June 21 and if you’re not familiar with Centro-Matic, Will Johnson has taken measures to address that via Twitter – namely a sampler compilation of tracks from every Centro-Matic album.

Paste catches up with Eisley, whose new album The Valley is out now. Check out two new songs – one live, one studio – below.

MP3: Eisley – “Ambulance” (live)
MP3: Eisley – “Smarter”

The Rosebuds have wrapped a new album and will release Loud Planes Fly Low on June 7 – check out the first MP3 from the record.

MP3: The Rosebuds – “Second Bird Of Paradise”

The Green Bay Press Gazette meets Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak while Magnet gives the kids the keys to the website for a week, starting with a Q&A. They play The El Mocambo on April 9.

The Von Pip Musical Express chats with Nicole Atkins.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Electric Guitar

Review of Retribution Gospel Choir’s 2

Photo By Cameron WittigCameron WittigI only discovered Low circa 2001’s Things We Lost In The Fire, which I think is right around the time the slowcore heroes began expanding their sound and the long-time faithful began to peel off. And if the (relatively) faster tempos and broader sonic palettes were anathema to them, they were manna to me – which is why my favourite of their records, 2005’s unapologetically loud and dynamic The Great Destroyer was the final straw for some. If they’d stuck around, though, they’d have found the last Low record – 2007’s Drums & Guns – to be a return to their quieter ways, albeit aided by loops, samples and seething anger.

Frontman Alan Sparhawk hadn’t suppressed his more rock-out tendencies, however – simply sublimated them into his side project, Retribution Gospel Choir. Their 2008 self-titled debut was compact, loud and sludgy and quite possibly everything that 20th century Low fans were against. The appropriately-titled follow-up 2 offers more of the same, with the emphasis on “more”. 2 is more dynamic, more anthemic and more guitar-heroic than the debut – still chock-full of distorted riffage but also loaded up with some seriously fierce soloing.

It’s never been a secret that Sparhawk was a killer guitarist, but here those skills are front and centre, though not at the expense of the songwriting – as always, it’s impassioned, melodic and more than a little pissed off. Those former Low fans I mentioned earlier will want to stay far away but may want to pay more attention when the next Low record comes out – it’s hard to imagine Sparhawk hasn’t gotten all the rock out of his system, at least for the time being, and the follow-up to Drums & Guns won’t be whisper quiet.

2 is out on Tuesday, January 26. Retribution Gospel Choir is touring through the Winter and Spring and will be at the Drake Underground in Toronto next Monday, January 25. The Cleveland Plains-Dealer has a conversation with Alan Sparhawk.

Update: And I’ve now got a couple pairs of passes to the show to give away, courtesy of Collective Concerts. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to sing in the Retribution Gospel Choir” in the subject and your full name in the body, and get that in to me before midnight, January 23.

MP3: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Hide It Away”
Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Hide It Away”
MySpace: Retribution Gospel Choir

Drowned In Sound talks to Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg about their new album The Golden Archipelago, which will be released on February 23. Matablog has details on their upcoming Spring tour, which includes a Toronto date April 1 at Lee’s Palace, and the special dossier that will be released with the record. And they’ve also got a second MP3 from the album to tide you over the next month.

MP3: Shearwater – “Black Eyes”

Daytrotter has got a session with The Rosebuds.

Germany’s Aufgemischt interviews Beach House, who’ve been premiering new videos from Teen Dream each day this week – and for one day only – at Gorilla Vs Bear, leading up to next Tuesday’s record release. And don’t worry about the ones you’ve missed, as all of the videos – they made one for each track of the album – will be available on the DVD that accompanies the CDs and LPs of the album. The record is currently streaming in its entirety at NPR and they play the Opera House on March 30.

Stream: Beach House / Teen Dream

BRM interviews Nick and Tristan of Headlights.

The New York Post and NPR interview Spoon. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29 and will also appear on this year’s edition of the Starbucks-sponsored Sweetheart Valentine’s Day covers compilation, now available at iTunes US – details at Pitchfork.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips talks to Drowned In Sound.

The Quietus interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. Realism is out on Tuesday and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 8.

Matablog has posted a new MP3 from the Girls debut Album, in case all those year-end lists weren’t quite enough to convince you. You can also grab the file from them in lossless FLAC format. If you swing that way. Blurt talks to the guy from Girls who kinda looks like a girl, Christopher Owens.

MP3: Girls – “Laura”

Bring Back The Boombox has an interview with Oh No Forest Fires on the almost-eve of their final show. They call it a day after a final blow-out at the Horseshoe this Saturday night.

Rolling Stone interviews Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.

Under The Radar chats with Neko Case.

Those of you unable to make either the Dinosaur Jr in-store at Sonic Boom tomorrow evening or the show at the Phoenix later that night can try and console yourselves with this NYC Taper recording of their show in New York from Saturday night – there’s also an interview over at JAM.

And Dinosaur Jr are one of the case studies in this PopMatters piece about the reunions of ’80s alt.rock legends and why they should be celebrated.

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

In For The Kill

Concert announcements from La Roux, A Camp, M Ward and more

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceI’m just About hip-deep in Canadian Musicfest stuff at the moment and also trying desperately to get my SxSW junk together, but a handful of tasty concert announcements showed up yesterday and if I don’t get them out there now, who knows when I will.

I first noticed unabashedly ’80s-loving English electro-pop outfit La Roux when they showed up no small number of “next big things for ’09” lists at the start of the year. And while it’s still far too early to see if Elly Jackson and her interesting hair will deliver on those expectations – she’s only just released her second single with an album in the works for sometime this year – the Londoner and co-conspirator Ben Langmaid are coming across the Atlantic this Spring to try and make an impression. They’ll be at the Drake Underground as a special presentation of the Sticky Fingers DJ nights on April 5, tickets $13 in advance.

Video: La Roux – “Quicksand”
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill”
MySpace: La Roux

The Rosebuds are coming back to town on the back of last year’s Life Like – they have a date at Lee’s Palace on April 13, tickets $10.50. They just rolled out a new video for the title track of said record.

MP3: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”
Video: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”

M Ward’s Spring tour in support of Hold Time has slated a Toronto date for April 27 at the Phoenix. Tickets $23.50.

MP3: M Ward – “Never Had Nobody Like You”
Video: M Ward – “Hold Time”

Baltimore’s Ponytail will be at the DeLeon White Gallery on April 27.

MP3: Ponytail – “Celebrate The Body Electric”

Country Club, the collaboration from John Doe & The Sadies, is out April 14 and they will follow that up with at show at the Horseshoe on April 30. Tickets $17.50. Currently on a western swing, Dallas Good talks to The Georgia Straight and Pique Newsmagazine.

And possibly the toughest decision I’ll have to make this year… A Camp who are going on tour in support of Colonia – out April 28 – have set a date at the Mod Club for June 1. A date that is already circled on the calendar as it’s also when Doves are at the Kool Haus. Nina Persson’s first visit to town in five years or Doves’ first in four? Swedish babe or Mancunian beardies? Hmm. Tickets for the A Camp show are $15 and already on sale. MusicOHM has an interview with Persson.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem Session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”

There’s a new vid from Franz Ferdinand, who have a gig at the Kool Haus on May 4.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”

PJ Harvey discusses her new album with John Parish, A Woman A Man Walked By, with Billboard. It’s out March 30.

And finally, the divine Mary-Louise Parker gives Esquire a list of ten types of albums no man should own if they ever hope to have sex again… (scans CD collection)… Yes! I still have a shot!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

Hot Freaks at SxSW 2009… revealed!

Photo By Donald MilneDonald MilneThe first one went over like gangbusters, and the second one was even better… so why wouldn’t we do it all again for 2009? Yes’m, I’m once again very proud to be able to announce – along with fellow music blog compatriots Aquarium Drunkard, Gorilla Vs Bear, Largehearted Boy, My Old Kentucky Blog and You Ain’t No Picasso – the lineup for Hot Freaks 2009, taking place during SxSW at the Mohawk and Club DeVille in Austin, Texas on March 20 and 21. Two days, three stages, 32 acts.

It’s taken a little longer than usual to get things together this year, but it’s been worth the wait. I mean, we’ve had some pretty impressive Hot Freaks alumnus over the last couple years – St Vincent, Shearwater, The Polyphonic Spree, Grizzly Bear, Land Of Talk, Jens Lekman, Lykke Li, The Acorn and British Sea Power to name just a few – but I will hold this Hot Freaks lineup up against any of the others we’ve pulled together in the past. But don’t just take my word for it – have a look:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Club DeVille (Insound Stage)
12:30 PM Obits / MySpace / MP3: “Pine On”
1:30 PM Handsome Furs / MySpace / MP3: “I’m Confused”
2:30 PM American Analog Set / MySpace
3:30 PM The Thermals / MySpace / MP3: “Now We Can See”
4:30 PM The Hold Steady / MySpace

The Mohawk Patio
12:00 PM The Wrens / MySpace / MP3: “Everyone Choose Sides”
1:00 PM Bishop Allen / MySpace / MP3: “Dimmer”
2:00 PM The Henry Clay People / MySpace / MP3: “Something In The Water”
3:00 PM Port O’Brien / MySpace / MP3: “I Woke Up Today”
4:00 PM The Rosebuds / MySpace / MP3: “Life Like”
5:00 PM Delta Spirit / MySpace / MP3: “People C’Mon”

The Mohawk Inside
12:30 PM The Rural Alberta Advantage / MySpace / MP3: “Don’t Haunt This Place”
1:30 PM We Have Band / MySpace / MP3: “Hear It In The Cans”
2:30 PM These United States / MySpace / MP3: “Honor Amongst Thieves”
3:30 PM Alela Diane / MySpace / MP3: “White As Diamonds”
4:30 PM Richard Swift / Richard Swift / MP3: “Lady Luck”

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Club DeVille
12:30 PM Real Estate / MySpace / MP3: “Black Lake”
1:30 PM Girls / MySpace / MP3: “Lust For Life”
2:30 PM The Grates / MySpace / MP3: “Burn Bridges”
3:30 PM Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains / MySpace / MP3: “American Names”
4:30 PM Jeremy Jay / MySpace / MP3: “Beautiful Rebel”

The Mohawk Patio
12:00 PM Harlem / MySpace
1:00 PM Jason Lytle / MySpace / MP3: “Birds Encouraged Him” (live)
2:00 PM Vivian Girls / MySpace / MP3: “Where Do You Run To?”
3:00 PM Viva Voce / MySpace / MP3: “Drown Them Out”
4:00 PM Peelander-Z / MySpace / MP3: “Ninja-High Schooool”
5:00 PM Camera Obscura / MySpace / MP3: “My Maudlin Career”

The Mohawk Inside
12:30 PM Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers / MySpace / MP3: “Filthy & Free”
1:30 PM Roadside Graves / MySpace
2:30 PM Mason Proper / MySpace / MP3: “Fog”
3:30 PM Lemonade / MySpace / MP3: “Big Weekend”
4:30 PM Amazing Baby / MySpace / MP3: “Bayonets”

The Wrens are kicking things off at noon. The Rural Alberta Advantage will still be riding high on opening up for Grizzly Bear the night before. The American Analog Set – reunited and reactivated for this show only! – are playing The Golden Band in its entirety. The Hold Steady will be holding court on the Insound stage. Alela Diane will mesmerize. The Grates will be bouncing off the walls. Jason Lytle will unveil his post-Grandaddy works. Peelander-Z will do… what Peelander Z does. And Camera Obscura will close things out by showcasing their forthcoming album My Maudlin Career. This, my friends, is what we call bliss.

And thanks go out to our main sponsors GOOM Radio and, who are offering 75 free songs for signups. Please respondez s’il vous plait – admission is free, PBRs are $1. Awesome is guaranteed. And sorry, this is a 21+ event – the drinks will be flowing.

Add all our shows to your calendar. You DO have one, right?

MP3: Guided By Voices – “Hot Freaks”

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Yuppy Flu

Land Of Talk, Zeroes, Little Scream at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI figure that by the end of last Thursday night, there was something like a sixty-degree centigrade difference in temperature between the patio at the Horseshoe and the front of the stage. Outside, it was the middle of a particularly nasty cold snap. Inside, it was a particularly intense show for a nearly-packed house from Land Of Talk.

It was a show a long time in coming. For the band, it was their first headlining date in a long time – their headlining tour in September to mark the release of Some Are Lakes, itself long-awaited, and while they technically made a Toronto appearance in late November opening for Broken Social Scene, there were many who wouldn’t accept an abbreviated set in an inhospitable venue. That included myself, whom after seeing them what seemed like every other week back in 2007, hadn’t seen them play since September 2007.

It’s been tough going for the band, with what had initially seemed like an unstoppable upwards trajectory turn into a seemingly endless series of stalls. In particular, a series of personnel changes that saw 2/3 of the initial lineup depart since the release of Applause Cheer Boo Hiss and health issues that were making this mini-tour of three Ontario dates the band’s last for some time. Not really ideal circumstances to promote a new record. But those were concerns for the past and the future – in the present, Land Of Talk were finally here and they’d brought friends with them from Montreal.

Little Scream were one of those most unique of acts – the ones without a website, MySpace or any information that I could find online – and as such, were a completely unknown quantity going in. Which was rather exciting, to be honest. And the reality of it wasn’t bad, either. An artist to whom a lot of the descriptors frequently used for Land Of Talk could also apply, singing with a PJ Harvey-ish intensity while playing riffs that echoed classic rock progressions (think Who) on an acoustic guitar amplified to the point of raggedness. At points, it seemed she was singing to herself in a trance rather than to the audience. Intriguing stuff, wish it were at all possible to find out more.

Zeroes were considerably less singular in their approach, flirting with pop, prog, new wave and punk that reminded me most of Wire and Franz Ferdinand. Some ideas worked better than others, but they veered from one to the next so quickly that any missteps were quickly left behind and the next brought to the fore. Unfailingly interesting and danceable, if you dance like a bit of a spaz.

Though the material is consistently superb, I’ve always found Land Of Talk to be a good to very good live act, with the obvious potential to be great but not quite hitting the target, at least not in any of the times I’d seen them. That, based on this show, is no longer the case. The trio put on an unquestionably powerful show, Liz Powell in particular displaying a sense of confidence that I hadn’t seen before. They split the set fairly evenly between Applause Cheer and Some Are Lakes material, with the latter being given a jolt of energy and excitement that I didn’t find to be present on the recorded versions. The album definitely succeeded in terms of stylistic growth, but it came at the expense of some of the live-wire sizzle of the first record. Translated live, the electricity was back.

And while I was dismayed by the departures of Bucky Wheaton and Chris McCarron, the rhythm section to which I’d first come to the band, new arrivals Andrew Barr – who played on the new album – and bassist Joe Yarmush – who also played in Zeroes but took the time to change outfits between sets – were also superb. Circumstances have dictated that Land Of Talk be considered the Liz Powell show, but her bandmates were doing their best to seem just as indispensable.

The show was a tremendous reminder of why Land Of Talk are one of the best new acts in the country, and ironically it came just as the band was going on hiatus. Though you couldn’t tell by listening, Powell is going in for surgery on her voice at month’s end and everything is on hold while she convalesces. It’s a good thing that Land Of Talk’s fans are used to waiting and know that it’s worth it.

eye and BlogTO also have reviews of the show, while The Whig Standard has a short feature and in The Globe & Mail, Carl Wilson talks to Powell about the band’s endless run of tough breaks.

Photos: Land Of Talk, Zeroes, Little Scream @ The Horseshoe – January 15, 2009
MP3: Land Of Talk – “Some Are Lakes”
MP3: Land Of Talk – “Corner Phone”
MP3: Land Of Talk – “Speak To Me Bones”
MP3: Zeroes – “Arenas”
MP3: Zeroes – “Lamentia”
MP3: Zeroes – “Optimist”
Video: Land Of Talk – “Speak To Me Bones”
MySpace: Land Of Talk

Aquarium Drunkard interviews The Rosebuds. JamBase also has a feature.

The Sydney Morning Herald profiles Annie Clark of St Vincent.

Dr Dog, who released Fate last year, and The Cave Singers, who are still working 2007’s Invitation Songs, will be in town together on April 4 for a show at Lee’s Palace, tickets $13.50.

MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Old Days”
MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Ark”
MP3: The Cave Singers – “Seeds Of Night”

Following up the release of As Seen Through Windows on March 10, Bell Orchestre will play the Courthouse on April 24, tickets $15.

The Toronto Star talks to Bret and Jemaine of Flight Of The Conchords.