Posts Tagged ‘Rumble Strips’

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Four

Belle & Sebastian, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith the first three days of the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest having gone swimmingly, certainly the fourth and final day – boasting inarguably the strongest lineup of them all – would be the best? Well it turns out “swimmingly” would be kind of the wrong word to use, but everything started out enough.

Though as per usual I missed the first few acts of the day, I was there in time to see Kurt Vile make his first local appearance in support of his new record Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, which has garnered pretty much universal acclaim, though I only go as far as saying I like it more than his last one. I’ve always found Vile’s stuff to be pretty same-y in that lightly psychedelic laid-back drone-pop way – an impression confirmed and amplified when I saw him at Pitchfork 2010 – but if you’re in the right mindset, it’s pretty pleasantly trippy. As with that show, this performance mainly had Vile in two modes – huge rug of hair draped over the mic stand while he sang, or huge rug of hair draped over his guitar while he soloed. His bandmates in the Violators did mix things up somewhat by adding mandolins and 6-string basses into the mix, and Vile was equally comfortable ripping leads on electric or acoustic, but a few noisey bursts aside, Vile was pretty content to just let the set mosey along at its pace and his fans were content to mosey right alongside him.

Photos: Kurt Vile @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Wakin’ On A Pretty Day”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “In My Time”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “The Creature”
Video: Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Runner Ups”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Freak Train”

It was with some regret that I skipped Yo La Tengo’s stop at The Phoenix back in February in support of their latest Fade, but the confidence they’d put on a solid show couldn’t win out over the fact that I’d seen them play said solid show many times before – most recently in 2010 in Vegas at Matador at 21 – that I gave it a pass. Happily, their return for this festival meant that I’d still get to hear the new tunes, and not have to make any special effort to do so. Win! And as nice as it can be to hear Yo La Tengo stretch out live, there’s really something to be said for imposing strict time constraints on them; though they sounded quite the opposite of rushed, the blend of new songs – which sounded really terrific live, perfectly suited to the hazy afternoon – and old favourites done perfectly and without the excesses the band sometimes fall prey to, in some cases twice as “Autumn Sweater” came unravelled early on in the set with a blown amp fuse and had to be returned to later on.

NYC Taper has got the Yo La Tengo’s set from the Wilco-run Solid Sound fest a few weekends ago available to download. The Boston Globe, Metro, and Cincinnati CityBeat have interviews.

Photos: Yo La Tengo @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Nuclear War”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Don’t Have To Be So Sad”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm” (tree)
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “When It’s Dark”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Avalon Or Someone Very Similar”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Tom Courtenay”

I’d never given either Luke Doucet or Melissa McClelland much concern with their solo careers, so when they came together as Whitehorse I still didn’t pay any attention, at least until their second album The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss made it onto this year’s Polaris Prize long list. And while the adult contemporary-skewing roots-rock that’s the foundation of their sound isn’t normally what I’d be into (even if, phrased like that, you think it might) I found the record pretty enjoyable in a Steve Earle “chick song” sort of way, though rather slicker in execution; that’s why I expected that their live setup would involve a polished band comprised of session player types, not just the two of them and a garage sale’s worth of instruments and microphones. Okay, so the setup was meticulously arranged for exactly that DIY effect with telephone handsets and old-school shockmounted mics installed just so, but there was no faking the way the two built up the structures of each song by sampling acoustic instruments and looking stylish while doing it. They spent the first part of their set entrenched in their fortress of gear, but eventually strutted out to the front of the stage and sang together into a single mic armed just with guitar and bass. Straight, simple, and to their strengths.

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald has a feature piece on the band.

Photos: Whitehorse @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

If you’re looking for writeups of either The Cat Empire or Xavier Rudd, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. I spent their sets huddled under a leaky ATM tent hiding from the deluge that resulted when the skies opened up right around dinnertime. The rain eventually eased up, but not before turning the whole of the festival grounds into some manner of swamp. Not really an ideal setting for anything, let alone enjoying Neko Case’s set, but looked at another way, if there’s anything out there worth enduring this sort of weather for – after a short dry spell, the skies opened up even harder a couple songs in – it’s Neko Case.

When she was here last in December 2011 opening up for The National at the Air Canada Centre, the assumption seemed to be that if she was back on the road, then her new record – the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Middle Cyclone – must be close to being done. Not, as it turned out, so much. But nineteen months later, she was back and this time the new record – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – was done, locked, and loaded for a September 3 release. The set contained a few of those new songs, all of which sounded of the same high calibre of lead sample “Man”, and a solid tour of her repertoire – “Red Tide”, with its “I hate the rain” lyrics, was especially topical – and always-entertaining banter with backing singer Kelly Hogan. With the time she takes between records, it can be easy to forget just how amazing a talent Neko is; call her or folk-rock or jangle-pop or whatever you like, her voice and songwriting transcends all labels. And the only thing better than being reminded how good she is was the promise to return for another show sometime in the next six months. Ideally indoors.

Photos: Neko Case @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “Maybe Sparrow”
Video: Neko Case – “Furnace Room Lullabye”

Finally, with the rain seemingly past though the resultant mud pits remained, it was time for Belle & Sebastian. It’s remarkable how the mysterious mystique the band cultivated in their early years still persists to some degree, and even though they’ve toured North America behind pretty much every album this century, their live shows are breathlessly anticipated like once-in-a-lifetime unicorn herd migrations. Of course, those studio albums are fewer and further between than most would like – their last visit was October 2010 behind Write About Love – so with no new record on the horizon, the fact that they were still coming to town to play a show apart from the usual promotional cycle was actually unicorn-rare, and as is often the case when the artist doesn’t have anything specific they need to push, offered the promise of being a much more unique show.

That this wouldn’t be a typical show was confirmed from the opening number, as instead of one of their obvious (but still beloved) songs, it was the electronic instrumental b-side “Judy Is A Dick Slap”. Anyone who says they had that in the “what’ll be the first song?” pool without consulting previous set lists is lying. “I’m A Cuckoo” then let Stuart Murdoch properly take centre stage and show off his dance moves, slippery stage be damned, “Another Sunny Day” was rolled out as a musical anodyne to the weather, and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win earlier in the day saluted with “Stars Of Track And Field”. The catalog-hopping trajectory of that first salvo of selections delightfully carried on through the show, and while hardcore fans might suggest they could have gone for deeper cuts, I was more than happy to hear “The Model” and “Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner” dug out of the archives.

If it wasn’t quite a greatest hits set song-wise, it certainly was with their audience participation exercises. There was the girl brought onstage to read Isobel Campbell’s spoken word outro overtop “Dirty Dream Number Two” (she sang it, but whatever), the other girl who managed to fit a dance routine amidst playing Scrabble against the band onstage during “The Model”, the girl (sensing a trend? Oh, Stuart) who applied makeup to his face during “Lord Anthony”, the bevy of dancers brought onstage for “The Boy With The Arab Strap”… there was no lobbing of autographed footballs into the audience this time, but the rain probably would have washed the signatures off anyways. The between-song shenanigans might have taken up time that could have gone to another song or two, but you’d have had to be a serious grump to complain about the love-in vibe that they generated. And we should all count ourselves lucky that no one brought onstage insisted on singing one of her own songs. No, what we got was a joyous show that felt like a gift, wrapped a terrific inaugural TURF, and just about made you forget that you probably had trench foot. No mean feat.

The Huffington Post and Pittsburgh CityPaper have interviews with keyboardist Chris Geddes about the current tour and their plans to write their next record when it’s wrapped. The band’s new collection of b-sides and rarities, The Third Eye Centre, comes out August 27.

Photos: Belle & Sebastian @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Write About Love”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want The World To Stop”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “White Collar Boy”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Blues Are Still Blue”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Funny Little Frog”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Wrapped Up In Books”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I’m A Cuckoo”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Step Into My Office Baby”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David” (70s version)
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Wrong Girl”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Legal Man”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “This Is Just A Modern Rock Song”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “A Century Of Fakers”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Is It Wicked Not To Care?”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dirty Dream #2”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Lazy Line Painter Jane”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dog On Wheels”

CBC Music have got the Canada-only stream of the new Pet Shop Boys album Electric, out July 16. Americans can hit Pandora and Brits can use Rdio via The Guardian. They play The Sony Centre on September 25, and Spin, Huffington Post, and Metro have interviews with Neil Tennant about going indie on their latest record.

Stream: Pet Shop Boys / Electric

Fashion retailer Mr. Porter has an interview and fashion shoot with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party; their Nextwave Sessions EP is due out August 13.

Mumford & Sons have released a video for the title track of last year’s Babel. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 24.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Babel”

Hot on the heels of those advance streams, Franz Ferdinand have released the video for the sort-of title track of their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. It’s out August 27 and they play The Kool Haus October 24.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action”

Exclaim and The Daily Beast interview CHVRCHES about their forthcoming debut album The Bones of What You Believe, out September 24. They play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15, and if you need something new and CHVRCH-y to listen to before then, there’s this Haim cover they recorded for BBC.

Stream: CHVRCHES – “Falling” (Haim cover)

Manic Street Preachers have announced details of one of the two new records they’ve got in the can. Based on the title track, largely sung by the inimitable Richard Hawley, Rewind The Film is the largely acoustic album that had been previously mentioned; it’s out September 16 and more specifics on it can be had at DIY. James Dean Bradfield also talks to NME about the other album that’s been recorded alongside it, due out in Spring of next year.

Video: Manic Street Preachers w Richard Hawley – “Rewind The Film”

Veteran British folk-rock outfit The Waterboys are making their first return to town in some years to kick off a major North American tour; they’ll be here on September 17 at a venue to be announced, but last time through in 2007 it was at The Danforth, so presumably it’ll be somewhere similar.

Video: The Waterboys – “The Whole Of The Moon”

With their self-titled debut due out in September, up-and-coming UK outfit The 1975 will be at The Mod Club on October 13 as part of their first major North American tour.

Video: The 1975 – “Sex”

Belfast post-rock firebrands And So I Watch You From Afar and Oxford math-rock trio TTNG – formerly This Town Needs Guns before they thought better of it – are teaming up for a co-headlining tour that hits The Horseshoe on November 9, tickets $15.50. ASIWYFA released their third album All Hail Bright Futures this past Spring, TTNG’s second long-player came out in January.

Stream: And So I Watch You From Afar / All Hail Bright Futures
Stream: TTNG /

The Skinny talks to Yannis Philipakkis of Foals.

Tone Deaf and Clash have interviews with Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie.

DIY wonders aloud something I’ve periodically wondered to myself – whither The Rumble Strips?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009


Review of Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and giveaway

Photo via GlassnoteGlassnoteSo ever since my indie-pop clubbing days – and we’re talking almost a decade ago now – there was a song that I thought was “Too Young” by Phoenix, and it informed my entire opinion of the band – namely that they were far too slick and catchy and melodic to be trusted. And that’s largely been the impression I’ve had through most of this century until just recently, so when I actually found the video for “Too Young” and realized that I had never heard this song before, well my reality changed just a bit on two counts. One, that to the best of my knowledge, I’d never actually heard Phoenix before their latest record and two, that I have no idea whatsoever what that song that’s been embedded in my head all these years actually is.

And that’s really funny because even though I went into Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix with fresh ears, though not realizing it, my impression of the just-released record from the French quartet was that it was far too slick and catchy and melodic to be trusted. I am, however, much less suspicious these days and so rather than back away cautiously from the perfectly-assembled pop package, I have happily embraced it. Wolfgang is the sort of record that makes you glad you’ve invested in a decent sound system – the production is absolutely meticulous without crossing the line into antiseptic. There’s not a stray sound or squeak, each palm-muted guitar strum and cymbal crash has the perfect decay so as to not disturb the frequencies of the one that follows and Thomas Mars’ vocals are pitch-perfect without any tell-tale autotune artifacts. It sounds perfect.

And usually this sort of sonic perfection would, as mentioned, get my spider-sense tingling – don’t ask me for what, I’m not that rational – but when coupled with tunes as intensely melodic as these, it’s like chocolate and peanut butter, assuming you like chocolate and don’t have a fatal nut allergy. Similarly, the lyrics may be nonsensical but the syllables fit the melodies so flawlessly that criticizing them for not having any deeper meaning seems declasse. After all, this band has just delivered a pure pop record the likes of which may not be topped this calendar year – solid, infectious and utterly danceable from start to finish (well, maybe not the “Love Like A Sunset” interludes, but everyone needs a breather). With that much going for it, who needs profundity?

Phoenix are set to launch a North American tour in a couple weeks and have a date set for June 15 in Toronto at the Phoenix, which is I believe their first local performance since the inaugural Virgin Festival in 2006. Courtesy of REMG and Universal Music Canada, I’ve got a pretty sweet prize pack to give away consisting of a pair of passes to said show and a copy of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix on vinyl. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want Phoenix and Phoenix at the Phoenix” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, June 9.

There’s interviews with band members at Paper and CCTV. Also, via Gorilla Vs Bear, there’s a band minisite wherein you can listen to streams of demo versions of Wolfgang tracks – the password is “concorde”, mais certainment.

Video: Phoenix – “1901”
Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”
Stream: Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
MySpace: Phoenix

Prefix reports that in conjunction with their now-underway North American tour, A Camp are releasing a digital EP of covers entitled Covers EP on June 9 via iTunes and June 16 via other digital outlets. If you’d ever wanted to hear Nina Persson sing Pink Floyd, your ship has come in. They’re at the Mod Club on June 1 and there’s interviews with the band at Windy City and amNY.

The lead track from The Radio Dept’s forthcoming “David” EP – out June 24 – is now available to download. It’s mellower than last year’s sample from Clinging To A Scheme, “Freddie & The Trojan Horse”, but offers a good counterpoint and perhaps stakes out the two ends of what album number might have to offer if and when it finally comes out, hopefully late Summer or early Fall.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “David”

Los Campesinos! drop hints about album number three, currently in progress, to Pitchfork.

Manic Street Preachers provide a track-by-track video annotation of their new record Journal For Plague Lovers to NMETV.

NOW and The Detroit Free Press speak to Doves, in town at the Kool Haus on June 1.

The first video from The Rumble Strips’ forthcoming Welcome To The Walk Alone, out July 13, is now out. Clash reports that the song was inspired by a mugging attempt on singer Charlie Waller.

Video: The Rumble Strips – “Not The Only Person”

Another “live session in an unusual setting” series has cropped up online, and Off The Beaten Tracks makes itself notable with an episode featuring Frightened Rabbit, complete with new song. Frightened Rabbit will be at the Horseshoe on July 22.

Tripwire asks five questions of Ladytron and take a set of the least flattering photos ever while they’re at it.

NME gets Jarvis Cocker to provide a song-by-song guide to Further Complications, while Billboard solicits a Q&A. A handful of North American tour dates have trickled out – don’t get excited, Toronto, we’re not amongst them – but what is interesting is that Jarv is slated to play the Virgin Festival in Vancouver on July 26, which confirms that a) the dates of Vancouver’s V edition are July 25 and 26 and b) their lineup is NOT being geared to the suck. Hopefully this augurs well for Toronto and if not, maybe a trip out west is in order. Also uncovered are the dates and venue of V Calgary, which will be August 8 and 9 at their Olympic Park. It’s all slowly coming together, people.

Ear Farm interviews The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

eye and Chart talk to Dog Day, who are playing a CD release show for Concentration at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Under The Radar talks to Andrew Kenny of The Wooden Birds.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Tiger Lily

La Roux at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA typical Sunday evening for me can go any number of ways. Catching up on the past week’s television, working ahead a bit on the blog, taunting the cat with a piece of string, whatever. What is not a typical Sunday evening is standing in front of a PA cabinet with obnoxious dance music being pounded into my ears and midsection. And yet, this was my past Sunday at the Drake Underground.

The why was because I had been invited out to see the next buzzy thing in British electro-pop, the ’80s-adoring duo called La Roux, who had been tipped as one of the BBC’s Sound of 2009 acts but who had yet to really begin to capitalize on that cachet – this made a tiny club show like this appealing for bragging rights, if nothing else. So I acquainted myself with their entire recorded output thus far – two singles clocking in at under 10 minutes total – liked what I heard, and off I went.

The DJ went about 20 minutes longer than I’d have liked – dude, when no one is dancing you’ve failed – but eventually gave way as the keyboard half of the band, Ben Langmaid, took the stage to kick off “In For The Kill” and frontwoman, voice and hair Elly Jackson followed soon after. Without a whole lot of material to draw on, their set was necessarily short – just seven songs – but it was enough to get a sense of where their fortunes might lay. On the plus side, they obviously have a distinctive look – Jackson’s coif was as impressively vertical as one would hope – and even separated from her backing tracks her voice is distinctive and impressive, not quite falsetto and with an almost vocoder-ed quality. And while none of the songs quite reached the inescapable catchiness of “In For The Kill”, it was mostly solid material throughout.

On the con side, it was very evident that the live performance end of things was still new to them. Langmaid was fine, hidden behind his banks of equipment, but Jackson never seemed especially comfortable onstage, preferring to perform with eyes tightly closed and microphone in death grip and occasionally working in some tense dance moves. It was good to see that her “no smiling” policy of publicity photos didn’t carry over live – she was friendly in banter if a bit awkward and cracked a couple jokes – but there wasn’t a lot of charisma on display. If there’s a positive side to that, it’s that with her nervousness and rather… eclectic fashion sense, she seemed quite genuine, and that’s not necessarily the first attribute you’d expect to find in potential electro-pop divas.

I’m sure the La Roux live experience will improve with more shows, but if there was ever a case study for a synth-based act who could benefit from some more live instrumentation, it’s them. They should look up to the top of that BBC list at Little Boots for an example of the difference a live drummer can make. Either way, I do feel fortunate to have gotten to see them perform such an intimate show – when their debut album is released in June, I’m sure that the hype will buoy them to much larger performances. I just hope they’re ready for them.

The Times has an interesting feature following La Roux as they try to convert buzz into hype into real success.

Photos: La Roux @ The Drake Underground – April 5, 2009
MP3: La Roux – “Quicksand” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Video: La Roux – “Quicksand”
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill”
MySpace: La Roux

The Toronto Sun talks to White Lies.

Natasha Khan discusses the distinctive style of Bat For Lashes with The Quietus. Scotland On Sunday and Digital Spy also have interviews. Two Suns is out today and their April 25 show at the Mod Club is nearly sold out.

The Rumble Strips talk about their new album Welcome To The Walk Alone, out June 8, with Clash.

Billboard talks to Mark Olson about making the Jayhawks Green Grass-era reunion official. Good Times also has an interview with Olson.

The New York Daily News talks to Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice while Art In The Age has video of a recent in-store performance in Philadelphia.

Metromix has an interview with Jenny Lewis. According to Chart, a documentary detailing the making of her last solo record Acid Tongue is in the works.

So Neil Young’s new one Fork In The Road is finally out today – don’t y’all trample each other at the store getting a copy, now – and in addition to the little webcam videos he’s been making for the songs, there’s also a mini-film entitled Get Around which basically features Neil driving his Lincvolt around America whilst singing along to the album. They do use better quality cameras, however. You can “rent” the thing at Jaman and while you have to register, it does appear to be free.

Trailer: Get Around

Son Volt will release their new album American Central Dust on July 7 – details at Billboard.

The Martlet profiles Chad Van Gaalen.

The Young & The Hungry talks food with Ra Ra Riot. The Daily Orange, despite being named for food, talks to them about music.

The Guelph Mercury and Exclaim! talk to Julie Doiron.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing a recording of The Mountain Goats’ recent show in Somervile, Massachusetts last month including a couple of new songs.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A Window

The Radio Dept come to America, still refuse to release new record

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo, yes – my head is a wee bit fried right now from endless photo processing. And on top of that, I actually had no planned posts, per se, for after SxSW – just a mess of links that have accumulated over the past week. So I’ll just vomit some of those out for you to get through the day. ‘Kay?

To begin – this post at BrooklynVegan made me first do a double-take, and then fire up Expedia to check prices for flights to New York City over the May long weekend. Why? The Radio Dept are coming to North America. It’s just a single show so far on May 16 at the Bell House in Brooklyn as part of NYC Popfest, but this interview with the band at Ca Va Cool reveals there’s one more NYC date to come and maybe – maybe – some more North American touring come Fall. But I will say this – if I’m not Barcelona-bound at the end of May, I could very well be en route to Brooklyn for the May 2-4. Hell, maybe even either way. Who wants to come?

To say that the ways of the Radio Dept are mysterious doesn’t even begin to cover it, as there’s been no word in many months as to the status of their third album Clinging To A Scheme, originally scheduled for a September 2008 release and then pulled. And so we wait. And we wait. The aforementioned bit about Autumn touring implies that it should be finished and out by then, but who knows. It’s not all bleakness for fans of their gorgeous Scandanavian synth-pop, though – they’ve made a complete live recording from last May available to download on their site. It’s not the finest audio quality – it sounds like a fan recording rather than soundboard – but it’s mostly listenable and the set contains a few new songs. There’s also a variety of live material available for download on their website but for whatever reason, some of the best stuff is inaccessible. How Radio Dept typical.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Freddie and the Trojan Horse”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “The Worst Taste in Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “A Window”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Pulling Our Weight”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
ZIP: The Radio Dept / Live In Lund – May 18, 2008

Clash, Irish Times and Black Book talk to Nina Persson of A Camp. Colonia is out domestically on April 28 and they play the Mod Club on June 1.

Clash and New York Magazine talk to Peter Bjorn & John, whose Living Thing is out next week but streaming at their MySpace. They’re at the Phoenix on April 25.

Stream: Peter Bjorn & John / Living Thing

Pitchfork reports that Norway’s Ida Maria will give her 2008 debut Fortress Around My Heart a North America release on April 14. She was originally supposed to play two SxSW showcases last week but missed them both due to visa issues. She was also supposed to open up the whole of Glasvegas’ North American tour, including the April 3 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. Now she’s only with them as far as the March 31 show in Boston. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was doing her best to avoid me.

Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”

Le Blogotheque features a Take-Away Show with Sigur Ros in a French cafe. Loverly.

Patrick Wolf has released the first video from The Bachelor, out June 1, and if it were a film it’d have a big ‘ol NC-17 rating attached to it. Oh my. Stereogum gets an update from Wolf on how the album is coming along.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”

Drowned In Sound meets Doves, whose Kingdom Of Rust is out April 7 and who are at the Kool Haus on June 1.

Filter and The Times have features on White Lies, in town next Tuesday at Lee’s Palace.

CMJ reports that Elvis Costello is suddenly prolific again, with a new country-Americana album in Secret, Profane And Sugarcane set for release on June 2. The last time he walked this stylistic path, we go the sublime King Of America. Can he do it again? If he even comes close, it’ll be a worthy record.

Manic Street Preachers will release the Albini-produced, Edwards-penned Journal For Plague Lovers on May 18. Details at The Quietus.

The new album from The Rumble Strips has a name and release date. Look for Welcome To The Walk Alone on June 8. Details at NME.

The rumour mill has a Metric show at the Mod Club on April 14 with Holy Fuck as support. They said they had something special planned for the April 7 release of Fantasies – I think a little club show would qualify. Will confirm that when I can but in the meantime, watch their new video. And read this interview at Clash.

Video: Metric – “Gimme Sympathy”

French Kicks are at the Horseshoe on April 27, tickets $10.50.

MP3: French Kicks – “Also Ran”

New York state folk duo Gregory & The Hawk have a date at the El Mocambo on May 2. They were recently featured on Bandstand Busking.

BrooklynVegan reports that Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt are hitting the road together this Summer, and that tour includes a June 25 date at The Great Hall in Toronto.

Camera Obscura have announced a North American tour in support of My Maudlin Career, out April 21. The Toronto date finds them at Lee’s Palace on June 27, a considerably smaller venue than their last couple visits, which were to the Opera House and Phoenix. Expect this to sell out super-quick.

Jay Reatard will be at the Mod Club on June 29.

Crystal Castles have a July 25 date at the Sound Academy as part of the TIME Festival.

Due to “personal medical issues”, Passion Pit have cancelled their April 3 date at Lee’s Palace, which in turn was a make-up date for their January 24 date at the Horseshoe, which was cancelled due to visa issues. Their debut Manners is out May 26.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Pancho & Lefty

Steve Earle to pay tribute to the Maestro on Townes

Photo By Jim HerringtonJim HerringtonSteve Earle has announced details on his next album, and now that he’s done so the real question is why he hadn’t done this sooner? The new record is called Townes, and is a tribute album to his friend, mentor and the man he once declared the “best songwriter in the whole world,” Townes Van Zandt. Van Zandt passed in 1997 and was paid tribute by Earle in the song, “Fort Worth Blues”, but this record should be a much larger love letter to the late singer-songwriter.

Earle has been in political firebrand mode for his past few records so it’s good to see him return to his more introspective works, though I don’t know if this counts as the “chick songs” record he’s promised for a while. I can’t decide if I’d prefer it he play this one straight and reverential and avoid the sonic tomfoolery that permeated Washington Square Serenade or try to push the envelope a little, knowing he’s got such solid songs to work with. From the details at Blurt, it sounds like he’s doing both, enlisting a bluegrass band for some numbers and getting Serenade producer John King to produce and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello to play on another. A couple of new songs – including the aforementioned track with Morello – are streaming at Earle’s MySpace, and I must say – his reading of “Pancho & Lefty” does it for me. Yes it does.

Update: There’s a short interview with Steve at the forums about the record.

Townes will be available as a single or double-CD set and will be out May 12.

Video: Steve Earle – “Fort Worth Blues” (live)
MySpace: Steve Earle

Rolling Stone reports that Bob Dylan is almost done work on a new album, set for a late April release.

There’s a new video from Neil Young’s Fork In The Road, out April 7. Are you stoked? ARE YOU STOKED? No? Can’t imagine why not.

Video: Neil Young – “Johnny Magic”

JamBase talks to Mark Olson & Gary Louris.

MP3: Mark Olson & Gary Louris – “Turn Your Pretty Name Around”

JAM and The AV Club talk to Neko Case. She’s got two sold-out shows at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18.

JamBase profiles Jason Isbell.

MPR has a session with The Submarines. They’ve released a couple of digital remix EPs creatively titled Honeysuckle Weeks Remixes EP 1 and Honeysuckle Weeks Remixes EP 2, the second of which is available this week.

MP3: The Submarines – “You, Me & The Bourgeoisie” (Tonetiger remix)
MP3: The Submarines – “Submarine Symphonika” (Ra Ra Riot remix)

This Is Fake DIY interviews Ra Ra Riot, who will play the Sound Academy in support of Death Cab on April 7.

One For The Good Days has an interview with Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear. Their new record Veckatimest is out May 26 and they play The Phoenix on June 5.

CMJ talks to Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim. They’re at Circa on March 20 in support of Cut Copy.

Bishop Allen have a new video from Grr…, now out. You Ain’t No Picasso has an interview with his site’s namesake.

Video: Bishop Allen – “Dimmer”

Time Out Chicago and Paste talk Warhol with Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta.

Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton gives Anika In London a guide to Calgary.

They may not feature Mark Ronson production or Owen Pallet arrangements, but this Daytrotter session offers the first taste I’ve seen/heard of the new material from The Rumble Strips.

NME reports that Maximo Park are offering a free download of a track from album number three, Quicken The Heart. It’s not an especially remarkable track, but it’s just a taste, not a single. The record is out in May 11 and the offer is only good for a fortnight.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are streaming their new album It’s Blitz! on their MySpace in advance of its March 31 release, and goodness this is a sleek and shiny record. Those who loved the band for their unhinged, spiky guitar freak-outs may be disappointed but for those who always thought that they should indulge their potent inner disco-pop band, your ship has come in. And by you, I mean me. They’ve also got a new video. And Karen O gives an interview to Pitchfork about the internets.

Stream: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs / It’s Blitz!
Video: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”

Good news – Sky Larkin are coming to town! Bad news – it’s in support of Los Campesinos!. This isn’t an indictment of the Welsh kiddies – I’m not a big fan but they’ve got an energetic, entertaining show. It’s a complaint because that April 1 show at the Opera House would be my third gig in a row when I expect to still be recovering from SxSW, and I don’t realistically think I can swing that, and I’m planning on seeing them in Austin anyways. But to anyone who is going – get there early and see them! – and to anyone on the fence about attending – do so! BrooklynVegan has full Los Camp dates including which ones feature Sky Larkin support.

The National have made their contribution to the Dark Was The Night AIDS benefit album available to download, and it’s a gem. A sparkly, shiny gem. You can also watch them perform it at PitchforkTV. They – along with Feist, Sharon Jones and other contributors to the album will be playing a special show in New York City at Radio City Music Hall on May 3 that will surely be something to remember. We will have to settle for seeing them at the Kool Haus on May 21.

MP3: The National – “So Far Around The Bend”
Video: The National – “So Far Around The Bend” (live)