Posts Tagged ‘Secret Machines’

Friday, July 10th, 2009

This Day

WTF, V? Lineup speculation and goodies from Bowerbirds, Wrens, The Clientele and more

Photo By Nick HeldermanNick HeldermanI’d honestly thought I’d have been able to build a post around the Torontontario V Fest announcement this week. All signs pointed to them finally coming clean about the when, where – already a poorly kept secret, sure – but more importantly the who. And yet here we are at Friday with no official word, just seven weeks out from when it’s all supposed to go down (August 29 and 30 at Burl’s Creek near Orillia, Ontario) and so instead of reporting facts, I will delve into the rumour mill for goodies. Though when it comes straight from the artist’s mouth, it probably counts as somewhat more than rumour. I refer, of course, to the fact that Nine Inch Nails has decided that Bonnaroo would not mark their final live North American appearance, as originally intended, and instead will do a few more dates including a headlining slot at the Ontario edition of V Fest. And in addition to NIN, a few other acts came to light this week though nothing major: Thunderheist, Trouble Andrew (does his presence imply Santigold? I can’t imagine anyone would want him on his own), and though not confirmed, I don’t think it’s any big secret what the August 30 “TBA” for Toronto on the Pet Shop Boys’ Fall itinerary means.

So yeah. Another week, another non-announcement. On the plus side, it’s evident that they’re trying to put together something really good and the last Canadian V of the Summer will have a bona fide, big-time headline act – I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Trent but there’s no arguing his stature – but on the downside, even a leak this size hasn’t been enough to prod them into announcing anything, which to my paranoid sensibilities doesn’t necessarily bode well for the rest of the bill. But it’ll come, and until then, I’m going to engage in more rampant and unfounded lineup speculation while clearing out a big old pile of links and stuff.

Paste talks to Bowerbirds about their second album Upper Air was released this week. Daytrotter and They Shoot Music have also released sessions with the band – audio and video respectively – who are on the road to support. They’re not doing anything August 29 or 30, but do have a date at Sneaky Dee’s next week on July 14 so it’s unlikely they’re playing V Fest.

Magnet’s “Wrens Watch” feature has coaxed another new song demo MP3 from Wrens, who continue to work on their follow-up to Meadowlands. It’s conceivable that they could make the trek up here for V – the calendar is clear – but probably haven’t been invited.

Pitchfork has the first taste of Bonfires On The Heath, the new album from The Clientele, out October 6. They played V Fest back in 2007 and while I’d love to see them again, they’re already making a short North American trek this month and probably won’t be back till the Fall.

MP3: The Clientele – “I Wonder Who We Are”

Editors’ Tom Smith keeps up the sci-fi soundtrack talking points in discussing their new record In This Light And On This Evening, out September 21, with NME. The band also played V in 2007 and would certainly be welcomed back, but are probably going to stick to Europe for the Fall before coming to North America to promote.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Yo La Tengo – their new record Popular Songs is out September 8. They’ve got a November European tour scheduled – they could do North America before that, but probably no dates before the record is released.

Ca Va Cool has an interview with Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner. Their calendar is clear for late August but they’re far too small to be added to a festival bill when they’re not already touring through the region.

Wheat are offering a new MP3 from their forthcoming album White Ink Black Ink, due out July 21. Odds of playing V? Less than Telekinesis.

MP3: Wheat – “Changes Is”

The Bird & The Bee have a new video from Ray Guns Are Not Just For The Future. They have nothing on the schedule, and I’d personally love to see them again in any setting. But they are probably not playing V.

Video: The Bird & The Bee – “My Love”

Jenny Lewis has released yet another new video from Acid Tongue. Why ask why? She’s finishing some US tour dates and is in Japan in early August. Maybe she can come to Toronto in late August.

Video: Jenny Lewis – “See Fernando”

NPR interviews Steve Earle. He’s at Massey Hall on Saturday, which really precludes his playing V in August. Not that he probably would anyways.

PitchforkTV is streaming the Townes Van Zandt documentary Be Here To Love Me for the next week. I saw this film at TIFF 2004 and it’s a lovely work. It’d be quite a coup if V got Townes to play, but I’m not holding my breath.

Video: Be Here To Love Me

The Denver Post interviews Son Volt’s Jay Farrar. They’re touring from July through early August, then picking up again second week of September. Don’t see them interrupting the downtime to trek up here to play in front of, well, people who probably aren’t fans. The NIN and Son Volt fanbase Venn diagrams don’t overlap much.

American Songwriter has excerpted a portion of their cover feature on Wilco, The Boston Globe has an interview with Jeff Tweedy and The Boston Herald talks to Nels Cline about his role in the band. They’re in Dublin on August 28. Probably not in Toronto on August 29 or 30.

NPR is streaming Sonic Youth’s recent show in Washington DC. They’re playing the Vancouver V Fest but having just played Toronto last week, I don’t expect a return engagement so soon.

Spinner gets Metric to recount their run-in with Spinal Tap at Stonehenge after Glastonbury this year. Metric are seemingly playing every other V in the country, I give them very good odds for being at the Toronto edition. Spinal Tap just did the “unwigged” thing at Massey Hall, but doing V – in character, of course – would be kinda great. Their new record is Back From The Dead.

Malajube have a new video from their Polaris-nominated album Labyrinthes. Their schedule is clear, they could be at V.

Video: Malajube – “Luna”

The Scotsman talks to Dean & Britta. I don’t think their 13 Most Beautiful… Warhol soundtrack show would work too well on a big outdoor stage.

Mew are releasing their new album No More Stories… on August 25 and have already been tapped to play some of Nine Inch Nails’ other “final” shows – why not this one? Spinner has an MP3 from the new record.

MP3: Mew – “Repeaterbeater”

PitchforkTV is running video of Fleet Foxes’ performance from Pitchfork Festival last year. Obviously they do the festival thing, but with an August 4 date at Massey Hall, a V slot is unlikely.

But for everyone who had tickets for that Fleet Foxes show and were crushed that it meant missing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show at the Kool Haus that same night, rejoice! A second Yeah Yeah Yeahs show has been added for August 5, same venue. Tickets $32.50, on sale today at 10AM. And yes, this pretty much guarantees that they won’t be at V – that is, if being at Reading/Leeds across the Atlantic wasn’t guarantee enough.

Off The Beaten Tracks gets an acoustic video session out of The Thermals. They’re in Europe through mid-August. Swinging by Toronto en route back to Portland seems improbable.

Decider and Austin360 have features on Spoon. Besides their own Spoon-fest in Austin this weekend and performance at the Wanderlust yoga/music festival in Lake Tahoe at the end of the month, they’re not doing much. They could be playing V.

Contact Music has an interview with Glasvegas – they’re one of many bands at Reading/Leeds the weekend of V, so are obviously not playing Toronto. What’s more curious is the routing of their mid-September tour supporting Kings Of Leon, which puts them in Long Island on the 14th, Montreal on the 16th, Ottawa on the 17th, Hamilton on the 19th, London on the 20th and Detroit on the 22nd. Obviously this leaves many opportunities to make a Toronto stop, and yet there currently is none. As I said, curious.

Daytrotter has a session with Ida Maria, who seems awfully reluctant to make her Toronto debut. She’s on tour in North America till early August and then will be back for Monolith in Denver in mid-September. Obviously a lot more dates would have to surface to keep her on the continent from late August till then, but I can see it happening.

NPR is streaming a radio session with Phoenix. They’re playing V in the UK the weekend before the Ontario edition, and are back in September for a string of dates including Monolith and ACL. Odds of them playing our V are slim to none.

The List talks to St Vincent’s Annie Clark, who is at the Horseshoe on August 8 and will consequently not be at V Fest.

And while I know it’ll never happen, I would love beyond words for Superchunk to come and play V Fest. Or play anywhere nearby. This acoustic version of “Detroit Has A Skyline Too” came from a recent radio session. Loverly.

MP3: Superchunk – “Detroit Has A Skyline” (acoustic)

The Boxer Rebellion, who made headlines by charting in the top 10 on iTunes’ charts with the wholly independent release of their second album Union, will be at the Mod Club on August 8 – tickets $11.50. Though they’d probably fit the V demographic, this show means they’re unlikely to be there.

Video: The Boxer Rebellion – “Evacuate”

Either of these bands – …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and The Secret Machines – would be a decent addition to a festival bill, but they won’t be to V because they’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on September 22 – tickets $18.50.

MP3: The Secret Machines – “Dreaming Of Dreaming”
MP3: The Secret Machines – “Atomic Heels”

You know, this little “who’s playing V” meme turned out a helluva lot more tiring than I expected. Whew.

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Moody Motorcycle

Human Highway home for the holidays

Photo By Jaime HoggeJaime HoggeI don’t know if a duo can really be called a “supergroup”, but if so then the combined resumes of Nick Thorburn and Jim Guthrie, they who go by Human Highway, would certainly qualify them. Guthrie cut his teeth in the dearly departed and wholly underappreciated Royal City before a fruitful solo career that included a stint in Thorburn’s Islands, the band which followed his first outfit – the much beloved by people other than me Unicorns.

Though I reserve the right to be entirely wrong about this, I don’t believe that Guthrie’s stint in Islands went beyond live duties. So Moody Motorcycle, the debut album from Human Highway released back in August, constitutes the first recorded collaboration between these two artists. And fittingly, it sounds exactly as you’d think a collaboration between the two – and named for a Neil Young film – should. It’s simple and homespun-sounding, unsurprising considering it was knocked off in a week, rich in melody and harmony and faithful to the pair’s folk and pop roots. It’s a bit understated in delivery, but there’s a definite bounce to it.

While most humans of Canadian persuasion know that traversing the country’s highways in December can be a bit risky, Human Highway are setting out on a short Canadian tour in the middle of next month. Only four dates, though, including a December 16 date at the Tranzac – tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door, though I am guessing there won’t be too many of the latter. Chart and Exclaim! talk to Guthrie about the project’s origins, while NPR declares Moody Motorcycle one of the year’s “overlooked gems”.

MP3: Human Highway – “Sleep Talking”

Exclaim has details on the next Handsome Furs record Take Control, out February 3.

Asobi Seksu’s next album has a release date to go with the previously announced title. Look for Hush on February 17.

The Quietus speculates about the possibility of a Condo Fucks record entitled Fuckbook appearing on the Matador release calendar as really being a new Yo La Tengo record. Because goodness knows that Matador/Beggars have no record of signing bands with “Fuck” in their name (though Condo Fucks don’t appear to hail from Toronto, so that’s a strike against).

The Rice Thresher talks to Matt Berninger from The National.

am/fm and Metro talk New Jersey with Nicole Atkins.

There’s much Calexico in the newswires – check out features on the band at Express Night Out, Metro, The Montreal Gazette, Chart and eye. They’re at the Phoenix on Tuesday, and congratulations go out to Fotis and Marius for winning passes to the show.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips chats with PopMatters and JAM.

The best part of this twopart video interview with Nick Cave at PitchforkTV is the “I will eviscerate you” look on Nick’s face at the very beginning. Though I suspect he always looks like that.

Pitchfork reports that The Pipettes are once again down a Pipette.

Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke talks to The Sun, complains about John Lydon being a meanie.

Drowned In Sound gets a new album status report from Maximo Park’s Paul Smith.

Pitchfork has got an MP3 from Los Campesinos’ new record We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “Miserabilia”

Paste offers up the complete transcript of their recent interview with Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes.

MySpace Transmissions offers up a downloadable session with Bon Iver.

Le Blogotheque takes away a show with Fleet Foxes.

Daytrotter sessions up with The Dutchess & The Duke.

PopMatters interviews The Secret Machines.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette catches up with Robyn Hitchcock.

The Santa Barbara Independent sees how Jason Isbell is doing out on his own.

Mates Of State discuss the balance between rocking out and bringing up baby with Nashville Scene.

Drowned In Sound prognosticates about what 2009 will bring for music.

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Midnight Man

Photo by Frank Yang

Dear every other touring band in the world: we appreciate your interest, but your services are no longer required. We have Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

My ticket to their show at the Kool Haus had been sitting on my corkboard for something like six months, and with every listen to Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, to say nothing of my ongoing explorations of his back catalog, I couldn’t wait for Wednesday night to come fast enough. Cave’s live show has long been regarded as legendary and as a recent convert, I was most anxious to see the spectacle for myself.

The openers were Black Mountain, who were making the most of their visit to the 416 with two shows – three if you include their Polaris gala performance – in five days. As they took the stage, one helpful audience member called out, “please don’t suck!” – no worries there. Despite myriad opportunities, I’d never seen the Vancouver quintet live before and was quite handily impressed. Despite their sludgy, stoner-rock reputation they weren’t unnecessarily loud and displayed considerable musical nimbleness in delivering tracks from In The Future, highlighted by Stephen McBean’s guitar heroics and Amber Webber’s unearthly vocals. And it’s quite an endorsement that the full house of Cave devotees seemed to quite enjoy their set, sending them off with an enthusiastic “you guys were pretty good!”. Which they certainly were.

But on this night, the bar for performance would be set considerably higher than “pretty good”. With the Bad Seeds taking up every square foot of the expanded Kool Haus stage – and if I can make a comic geek joke, Warren Ellis looks an awful lot like Alan Moore – Cave bounded on stage and turned “Night Of The Lotus Eaters” from a relatively low-key, mood piece on album into a searing and sleazy opening salvo that would set the tone for the show. Cave, natty in a purple pinstripe suit, prowled and pounced around the stage looking like the mad preacher offspring of Mephisto and Elvis here to welcome the apocalypse and convince the audience that they should as well. By rights, the persona that Cave inhabits in song and on stage should come off as theatre but he inhabits it so bloody well that there is no questioning it.

Not all was fire and brimstone, though. If his demon-possessed orator wasn’t able to convince you to join his merry voyage of the damned, then with jacket doffed and extra shirt button undone, his seductive balladeer would surely seal the deal. Not that he needed to try that hard to get the crowd to follow him anywhere or even at all – judging from the many declarations of love from the audience, all returned by Cave of course, they were his from note one. Credit must also go to the Bad Seeds, an absolutely crack musical outfit capable of moving from anarchic skronk to elegiac beauty at the drop of the hat, but at the end of the day it’s about Cave, who is definitely one of the most charismatic performers I’ve ever seen.

The one hour, forty-five minute set was pretty much a perfect blend of old material and new, one third drawn from Lazarus and the rest from the entire breadth of his 25-year career. He even seemed to take requests, delivering an elegant “Ship Song” in response to a placard in the audience, though set lists from the rest of the tour implied that it’d have made an appearance anyways. But gestures like that, as well as designating a girl in the audience as “keeper of the towel” – as in the increasingly sweat-soaked implement that he and she tossed back and forth throughout the show – are what make Cave such an engaging frontman. Well, that and an incredible voice, presence, catalog of songs and mustache.

For the encore, Cave and company delivered the two lead tracks from the double-disc masterpiece Abbatoir Blues and The Lyre Of Orpheus, the former turned into a squall of punk rock anarchy and the latter a lurching bit of audience call-and-response, and as a show finale, a scorched earth “Stagger Lee”. Oh mama. So worth the wait.

With Cave’s entire catalog being remastered and reissued in expanded form, I’m waiting a bit before delving further into his works but having now gotten a taste of what awaits me beyond The Best Of and what I’ve already gotten – I just ordered up the Abbatoir Blues Tour set – I can’t wait. The Globe & Mail has an interview with Cave and there’s more joyous reports from Wednesday night’s congregation at eye, Exclaim!, The Toronto Sun and Chart.

Photos: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Black Mountain @ The Kool Haus – October 1, 2008
MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!”
MP3: Black Mountain – “Tyrants”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Night Of The Lotus Eaters”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “More News From Nowhere”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Midnight Man”
Video: Black Mountain – “Wucan”
MySpace: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
MySpace: Black Mountain

Oasis’ new record Dig Out Your Soul is currently streaming in its entirety over at the band’s MySpace. It’s out for reals on Tuesday. NME has a piece on Gold And Silver And Sunshine, the making-of doc that’s going to accompany the album in some form, and JAM has some more from Noel Gallagher on the infamous stage attack from last month. Speaking of which, the band have announced a North American tour in December… and curiously, there’s not Toronto date? I wonder why?

Stream: Oasis / Dig Out Your Soul

Radiohead have selected the winner of their “make a video for In Rainbows” contest and made it the official video for “Reckoner”. Which they’re also holding a remix contest.

Video: Radiohead – “Reckoner”

Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present talks about life in California to LiveDaily and reveals to The Georgia Straight that after recording El Rey with Steve Albini, they went back and re-recorded the whole of their debut George Best with him. The Wedding Present are at Lee’s Palace tonight and if you’re going, remember it’s an early show – doors 7:30, Dirty On Purpose at 8:15 and Wedding Present at 9:30 – all over by 11.

Filter discusses matters sartorial with Flight Of The Conchords.

The Secret Machines have offered up the first taste of their new, self-titled album, out October 14. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 22.

MP3: The Secret Machines – “Atomic Heels”

The Denver Post talks to Oliver Ackerman of A Place To Bury Strangers.

Last seen opening up for The Dandy Warhols, Los Angeles’ Darker My Love are at the Horseshoe for their own show on November 30, tickets $8.50.

QRO interviews The Coast, who are also profiled by The Guardian.

Sloan’s Jay Ferguson chats with The Muse.

The Wilmington Star-News rightly acknowledges both parts of a kick-ass tour crossing the continent, talking to both Okkervil River’s Will Sheff and Crooked Fingers’ Eric Bachmann. The latter’s Fortune/Forfeit is out on Tuesday.

The Tripwire interviews Jose Gonzalez.

The Stranger stops being strangers with Silver Jew David Berman.

After ceasing publication in the real world this past Spring, No Depression is back as a newfangled website, and they’ve got a feature on Basia Bulat. Welcome back.

Earlier this week Pitchfork put together a listing of all the medium and major album releases still due in 2008. I also maintain such a calendar for my own purposes but less interesting than what they noted that I didn’t – a new Wheat album on November 11 and a Cat Power EP on December 9 that shows she’s still in covers girl mode, guess The Sun isn’t coming this year – was what is apparently not showing up this year after all. I don’t necessarily know if these would show up on the ‘Fork radar, but I had been anxiously awaiting First Love from Emmy The Great and Clinging To A Scheme from The Radio Dept, both of which had been originally targeted for a September release. Obviously that’s not happened. My fingers are crossed that at least one will surface before the year’s out, but more than likely their reserved spots in my year-end list will have to carry over to ’09.