Posts Tagged ‘Shout Out Out Out Out’

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Scenes From The Suburbs

Arcade Fire wins the 2011 Polaris Music Prize; people bragging about predicting it just look silly

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangExecutive summary of this post: Arcade Fires’s third album The Suburbs did what everyone kind of expected and won the 2011 Polaris Music Prize last night, and with the $30,000 giant novelty cheque comes loads of praise and under-the-breath mutterings about how they don’t deserve it, though that’d have happened no matter who won. If you’re the sort of person who only looks at the scoreboard and pays no attention to the boxscores, then you’re done here. If you want the blow-by-blow about how it happened, well, I don’t have that for you either. I offered my own thoughts on the record’s deserving the prize when I put it at the top of my ballot but as with every year, what happens in the Grand Jury room stays in the Grand Jury room, guarded by the ghosts of masons and templars, but I can at least report on what happened at the gala proper.

Unlike last year’s rare ten for ten in terms of shortlisters showing up to perform, only six acts were available to take the stage this year. Arcade Fire and Colin Stetson had legitimate reasons for missing out, the former having just headlined Austin City Limits the night before and unable to do it logistically (though three of the band were in attendance) and the latter being in Los Angeles as part of Bon Iver’s touring band. No official reason was given for Destroyer’s Dan Bejar not being in attendance, let alone perform and even though The Weeknd had established themselves as actually existing and being able to perform a couple months earlier, Abel Tesfaye seems to have since decided it’s more fun being an urban legend than a real person.

And so we began with Ron Sexsmith, looking dapper in a red tuxedo jacket, led his full band through a couple selections from Long Player Late Bloomer. I daresay no one was especially blown away by the performance but that’s not Sexsmith’s thing – he’s in it for the long game and will be crafting fine pop songs years from now. Austra followed and though from the same neck of the woods – Toronto represent! – was at the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, with a dramatic visual presentation to go the intense, operatic synth-goth sound of Feel It Break. The live show was about as impressive as I’ve heard it was.

Montreal’s Galaxie were up next and were an anodyne for anyone bemoaning the lack of straight-ahead rock in today’s music. For Galaxie and their nominated record Tigre et diesel were nothing if not straight-ahead rock, with lots of meaty, 70s-vintage guitar riffs and corresponding swagger. I continue to bear them a bit of ill will for calling themselves Galaxie 500 for so long but if you heard them, there’s no way you’d confuse them with the REAL Galaxie 500. Timber Timbre recital of a couple numbers from Creep On Creepin’ On was probably the biggest revelation of the night. I’d not seen them live since it was still a Taylor Kirk solo project hiding in the dark and here, they were a full 9-piece band with string quartet and the scale of sound they made were remarkable; there was no more hiding in the shadows, instead this was Timber Timbre standing proud and tall for all to see and hear and they would not be cowed by the light.

The Timber Timbre experience was emblematic of why these Polaris galas are so great – in the months leading up to it, there’s inevitably bands you dismiss or make jokes about because you don’t believe they’ll win or even belong on the short list, but to see them in this sort of setting and doing their thing it’s very difficult to not understand and appreciate how, even if they’re not your thing, they’re almost always great in their way. Braids, whose Native Speaker I never warmed to, almost made me want to reassess my opinion of them in that manner – in fact with their first song, they had me with their obviously impressive musicianship and complex songwriting. But by their second number, those feelings of “this is so pretty” were equaled if not surpassed by feelings of, “this is so so so long”. That said, their focus is much sharper than it was when I last saw them live, so in a few years/records I may well be on board. But not yet.

This left Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! to close things out. Contrary to their last gala appearance in 2009, the band eschewed the massive orchestral presentation that people equate with their sound and went with the core six-piece configuration to showcase a couple songs from Seeds. Their earnest compositions were pretty and pleasant, but felt more polite than passionate – many swear by their grand, heartfelt pop but it just doesn’t really connect with me… but two Polaris shortlist appearances in as many albums certainly speaks to them doing something right.

With the performances done, all that remained was to give Arcade Fire another major award to go with their Grammy, Juno and BRIT. Unlike past years, where the announcement of the winner usually resulted in at least some gasps and/or confused looks, this year’s announcement was met with applause and nods – either in agreement that the right call had been made or in resignation that none of an electronic witch, avant-garde saxman or leisure-suited poet could derail the Suburbs-sized freight train. Represented by Win Butler, Richard Reed Parry and Jeremy Gara, they were gracious winners who encouraged young bands to create greater works than they had and invited them to come record at their studio, into which they hinted that at least some of the winnings would get invested.

And so the record that was both the surest thing and the longest shot come out on top and in the process, dismantled the Polaris’ growing reputation as something of a contrarian prize. Everybody wins. Especially Arcade Fire.

For more non-performance shots from the gala and Arcade Fire press conference, check out my Flickr.

Photos: Polaris Music Prize Gala 2011 @ The Masonic Temple – September 19, 2011
MP3: Austra – “Lose It”
MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”
MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Hey Rosetta! – “Yer Spring”
MP3: Colin Stetson – “Fear Of The Unknown And The Blazing Sun”
MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Party & The After Party”
Video: Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
Video: Galaxie – “Piste 01”
Video: Ron Sexsmith – “Late Bloomer” (live)

The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and National Post ran some pre-gala Polaris pieces on the topics of citizenship and eligibility for the award, the Arcade Fire’s chances and the process and nominees and whatnot, respectively. And peeking over across the Atlantic, The Line Of Best Fit had a three-parter examining each of the shortlisted records and an interview with prize founder Steve Jordan.

Also posted prior to last night – Spinner asking Katie Stelmanis of Austra what they’d have done with their winnings and Exclaim, BlogTO and Spinner finding out how being shortlisted has affected Colin Stetson.

The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight talk to 2010 Polaris winners Karkwa.

The Georgia Straight, The Portland Mercury and Backseat Seattle talk to Young Galaxy as they tour over to the west coast.

Stool Pigeon talks to Chad VanGaalen. He’s at The Mod Club on October 28.

Pitchfork has an interview with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew wherein he reveals the band are going on a hiatus after their last few shows of the year are done. Whether this means another deluge of “Broken Social Scene Presents” solo records is unclear.

The New York Times talks to Feist about her new record Metals, out October 4. She plays Massey Hall on December 1.

State interviews Alexei Perry of Handsome Furs.

Bruce Peninsula are sharing a track from their forthcoming album Open Flames, out October 4. They play an album release show at Lee’s Palace on October 27 and are interviewed by The Record.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “In Your Light”

Elliott Brood are marking the September 27 release of their new album Days Into Years with an in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location that evening at 7PM. Their proper hometown show doesn’t come until November 18 at the Phoenix so if you want to see ’em, be there with some canned goods to donate.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”

NOW has an interview with Rebekah Higgs, who will have a Sunday night residency at The Drake Underground throughout the month of October – that’s five shows on each of the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th – admission $7 each.

MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Gosh Darn Damn”

Hour has a feature piece on Montreal’s Adam & The Amethysts, whose Flickering Flashlight is out October 4 and available to stream at Exclaim. They’ll be at The Piston to celebrate with a show on October 5.

MP3: Adam & The Amethysts – “Prophecy”
Stream: Adam & The Amethysts – “Flickering Flashlight”

The Wooden Sky are going to be previewing material from their follow up to If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone with a short Fall tour that includes a hometown stop at The Dakota Tavern on October 19, tickets $15 in advance. The new album won’t be out until next year but the band will have a tour EP available at these shows to tide fans over.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Bit Part”

Shout Out Out Out Out have made a date at The Great Hall on October 27.

Video: Shout Out Out Out Out – “Coming Home”

Baeblemusic has video of a live set from Suuns recorded way back at SXSW; they’re at The Garrison on October 2.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Eight Miles High

Music blog turns eight, pauses, gets on with it

Photo via CBCCBCHere we are – another September 2, another blogiversary and another year in the books of doing… whatever this is. I have to tell you, there’s a great temptation on my end to use this occasion to get into some existential angst about where this site has been, where it might go and what on earth I’m going to do when it all inevitably ends (I’ve no idea and that’s terrifying), instead I’m just going to say fuck it, I’ll cross or fall off that bridge when I come to it.

For now, I’ll take some satisfaction in the fact that eight years is a long time in the real world – some of my blogging peers today weren’t even in high school when I started, for goodness sake – and a veritable eternity in internet time and extend my thanks to all of my readers who’ve been along for the ride at any point along this journey. This is nearly as much fun when no one reads it. Besides that… hell, I don’t know. Every year I tell myself I’m going to prepare something special post-wise or even event-wise for the anniversary but instead, it ends up being a case of, “oh shit, what day is it again?”. I actually did manage to put something proper together last year. All you get this year is a cover of this post’s namesake by this blog’s namesake.

MP3: Ride – “Eight Miles High”

And in other news. The Toronto International Film Festival opens up next week and coinciding with it is the grand opening of the festival’s new headquarters, the Bell Lightbox, down at King and John. Which in and of itself isn’t that significant hereabouts (though a functional building is always nicer than a construction site) but to mark the occasion, they’re throwing a block party on September 12 from 11AM to 4PM with all manner of goings-on, including performances from three of the ten Polaris shortlisters – Karkwa, The Sadies and Radio Radio. They’ll be playing from 12:20PM to 2PM and at 3PM, they’re promising another musical act who is one of “Canada’s hottest global superstars”… guesses, anyone?

Beatroute interviews Win Butler of Arcade Fire.

Shout Out Out Out Out have a date at Wrongbar on November 4. Their last album was 2009’s Reintegration Time.

Video: Shout Out Out Out Out – “Coming Home”

A bunch of new videos released today that up the Can-con quotient of the internet. First there’s a clip for “Quarry Hymns” from Land Of Talk’s new album Cloak & Cipher. Exclaim has posted some more of their interview with Liz Powell than appeared in this month’s cover story. Land Of Talk play Lee’s Palace on September 16.

Video: Land Of Talk – “Quarry Hymns”

The Acorn has a wonderful new stop-action clip from No Ghost. They’re releasing a remix album entitled Make The Least Of The Day on September 14 – details at Exclaim.

Video: The Acorn – “Restoration”

Black Mountain have released a second vid from Wilderness Heart, which will be out September 14. Beatroute has an interview with the band, who will be at the Phoenix on October 31.

Video: Black Mountain – “The Hair Song”

PitchforkTV has a Tunnelvision feature on Diamond Rings, whose debut Special Affections will be out on October 26.

Tokyo Police Club’s David Monks talks to Beatroute. They’re at the Ricoh Coliseum on October 22 in support of Phoenix.

Monday, April 20th, 2009

CONTEST – Gimme Five (free shows over the next seven nights)

Hooray for the short turnaround contest! I asked the good folks at Against The Grain if they had anything for me to give away in the next little while in the way of concert passes, and indeed they did – all over the next week! So rather than divvy them up and dole them out individually, I’m just going to lump them all together and let you have at them all at once. Here we go. And if you find yourself complaining you’ve got nothing to do this week, don’t blame me.

Photo By Mark OwenMark Owen Who: The Handsome Family with Marissa Nadler
Where: The El Mocambo
When: April 21, 2009
Why: Both The Handsome Family and Marissa Nadler have new records – they with Honey Moon, she with Little Hells
What: Two pairs of passes to the show
How: Email me at contests AT with “I want to see The Handsome Family” in the subject and your full name in the body by noon, April 21.

MP3: The Handsome Family – “When You Whispered”
MP3: Marissa Nadler – “River Of Dirt”
Video: The Handsome Family – “My Friend”

Photo via World's FairWorld’s Fair Who: Youth Group
Where: Lee’s Palace
When: April 23, 2009
Why: The Aussie rockers have a new album out in The Night Is Ours
What: Five pairs of passes to the show
How: Email me at contests AT with “I want to see Youth Group” in the subject and your full name in the body by midnight, April 21.

MP3: Youth Group – “All This Will Pass”
Video: Youth Group – “Two Sides”

Photo by Julé Malet-VealeJulé Malet-Veale Who: Hey Rosetta
Where: Lee’s Palace
When: April 24, 2009
Why: The Haligonian St John’s-ian outfit is continuing to tour last year’s Into Your Lungs (And Around In Your Heart And On Through Your Blood)
What: Two pairs of passes to the show
How: Email me at contests AT with “I want to see Hey Rosetta” in the subject and your full name in the body by midnight, April 22.

Video: Hey Rosetta – “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Video: Hey Rosetta – “Red Heart”

Photo via World's FairGravy Who: Shout Out Out Out Out
Where: Lee’s Palace
When: April 25, 2009
Why: The Edmonton electro-dance-punk crew rockers will release Reintegration Time on May 5
What: Two pairs of passes to the show
How: Email me at contests AT with “I want to see Shout Out Out Out Out” in the subject and your full name in the body by midnight, April 23.

MP3: Shout Out Out Out Out – “Bad Choices”
Video: Youth Group – “Two Sides”

Photo by Matthew StinchcombMatthew Stinchcomb Who: French Kicks
Where: The Horseshoe
When: April 27, 2009
Why: The New York band are continuing to work last year’s Swimming
What: Two pairs of passes to the show
How: Email me at contests AT with “I want to see French Kicks” in the subject and your full name in the body by midnight, April 23.

Video: French Kicks – “Abandon”

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Everything Turns To You

Review of Loney Dear's Dear John

Photo via PolyvinylPolyvinylImagine a man, standing alone on a dark stage with just a guitar. This is Emil Svanangen, the principal artist behind the Swedish pop entity known as Loney Dear. Imagine the stage lights come up, revealing a carefully crafted backdrop of meadows, villages and blue skies but still Svanangen stands, stoic and po-faced, while the orchestra swells while somehow remaining oh-so twee. This was Loney, Dear’s North American debut, Loney, Noir. Now imagine the stage sets fall away and the lights dim, shifting the mood from Summer to Autumn. And still Svanangen remains, sad-faced and beautifully melancholic. This was Loney, Dear’s second 2007 release, Sologne. Very similar in theme and structure to its predecessor, yet somewhat starked in presentation.

And now with Dear John, the scene is set in darkness cut with neon lights and a metallic tang in the air. As you might expect, Svanangen is still mining the same rich vein of lost love and the songs still build to soaring crescendos, but the structures are more baroque and the materials utilized more synthetic and mechanical than in past efforts. It certainly creates a different atmosphere that takes some getting used to, particularly for those initially drawn to Loney Dear for their more sprightly orch-pop inclinations, but there’s still enough familiar moves and melodies to keep things anchored. Some of these moves and melodies can come off a little too familiar – Svanangen doesn’t seem to have as many tricks in his arsenal as one would hope, but what he does do he still does well. Dear John tries to walk the fine line between trying something new and not fixing what’s not broke, and while it does wobble as a result and occasionally strays farther than one might like, it still gets where its going eventually.

ABC News (!) has a video interview with Svanangen about his new record and Venus Zine has a feature interview. Dear John was released this week and is currently streaming on Spinner, and Loney Dear kick off a North American tour in support of Andrew Bird on Friday.

MP3: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
Video: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
Stream: Loney Dear / Dear John
MySpace: Loney Dear

Andrew Bird gives interviews to The AV Club, Boston Herald and New York Magazine and gives Drowned In Sound a track-by-track breakdown of Noble Beast. He plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 3.

Lykke Li, headlining at the Phoenix on February 6, has released a new video.

Video: Lykke Li – “Tonight”

Magnet Q&A’s Jason Lytle, whose Yours Truly, the Commuter is out May 19.

The Yorkshire Evening Post talks to Richard Thompson, who recently got in a black cab and found himself recording a session.

SF Weekly congratulates John Vanderslice on the occasion of Tiny Telephone Studios’ 10th anniversary.

Asobi Seksu talks to The Skinny. Hush is out February 17 and they play the El Mocambo on March 3.

Shout Out Out Out Out are at Lee’s Palace on April 25 in support of their new record Reintegration Time, out March 3. Tickets $15.

Woodpigeon are marking the release of Treasury Canada Library next Tuesday by giving away an EP for free over at eMusic. La Commission Scolaire contains tracks from the album, alternate versions and unreleased goodies to go along with the double-disc goodness of the record. Woodpigeon overload!