Posts Tagged ‘Silver Jews’

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

No One Just Is

Jealous Girlfriend Holly Miranda goes it alone

Photo By Celeste Danger, elisabeth youngCeleste Danger, Elisabeth YoungHaving spent most of 2008 on the road and working their self-titled debut to death, Brookyln’s Jealous Girlfriends are quite understandably taking the first part of this year off to recover and recharge. And, in the case of singer/guitarist Holly Miranda, work on a solo record. Well, judging from her MySpace blog, work on the solo record has been ongoing for some time – since late 2007 at least – but presumably the time available now will allow it to wrapped up and hopefully see the light of day.

Details are scarce, but production duties appear to have been handled by TV On The Radio’s David Sitek and it will feature appearances from Celebration’s Katrina Ford and TVOTR’s Kyp Malone. The project may or may not be named Raven Mayhem and the album may or may not be called The Magician’s Private Library. Whatever it’s called, there’s a good number of tracks – demo or completed is unclear – at her MySpace and they sound quite compelling. Some distance away from the Jealous Girlfriends’ rock attack, they’re more atmospheric and sonically adventurous while remaining firmly rooted by her marvelous, sleepy yet soaring rasp of a voice. Who/what/whenever this stuff comes out, I’m definitely interested to hear more.

Thanks to Spicy Times for not only letting me know that this project existed but also pointing the way to this FabChannel solo show recorded in Amsterdam last May, wherein we see some of Miranda’s singer-songwritery side. And Get Glucky got her to assemble and comment on a playlist of favourite songs.

MySpace: Holly Miranda

Spinner premiered the new video from TV On The Radio yesterday.

Video: TV On The Radio – “Stork And Owl”

Prefix reports that the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album has a name – It’s Blitz. It’s due out sometime in the Spring.

Peter Bjorn & John are set to release their new record Living Thing on March 31 and will tour it across North America starting in April. Their Toronto date is April 25 at the Phoenix, and support for the whole tour will be Chairlift, who were featured in a Daytrotter session last week. PB&J have already released a video from the new album and Pitchfork premiered a remix MP3 of the first single earlier this week.

MP3: Peter Bjorn & John – “Lay It Down (Golden Filter remix)
Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Lay It Down”

There’s a video from the new Loney Dear album Dear John, coming out next Tuesday.

Video: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”

Stereogum has premiered the first MP3 from Marissa Nadler’s new album Little Hells, due out March 3. This ties in nicely with her previously-announced April 21 date at the El Mocambo with The Handsome Family. The Times talked to Nadler as part of a feature on what they call “goth-folk”.

David Berman has dissolved the Silver Jews. Maybe I should have gone to see them at Lee’s in September after all… Pronouncement from the man himself at the Drag City forums.

Clash interviews Of Montreal, who have released a track from their digital-only Jon Brion remix EP.

MP3: Of Montreal – “First Time High” (Of Chicago acoustic version)

NME talks to Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallet about his contributions to the new Rumble Strips record, currently in production.

It turns out the Born Ruffians/Akron/Family double-bill at Sneaky Dee’s reported on last week is also a double-header. In addition to the already-announced and nearly sold-out March 24 date, there’ll be a March 23 show, also at Sneaks, and the two will pair up again on the 25 and 26 at Il Motore in Montreal.

Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight is currently streaming at the band’s MySpace. It’s available this Tuesday. Conversations with the band are up at Clash, Metro and

Stream: Franz Ferdinand / Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

Neil Halstead drops by the Paste offices to play a song.

The Toronto Sun and The Ubyssey talk to M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez. They’re at the ACC tonight opening up for The Killers.

Send Me Dead Flowers talks to The Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner.

Aquarium Drunkard gets a Robyn Hitchcock guide to New York City. Goodnight Oslo, his new album with the Venus 3, is out February 17.

JAM reports that the threatened new Neil Young concept album Fork In The Road (which concerns bailouts of banks and automotive manufacturers as well as electric cars) will indeed be released on March 31 and the promised Archives have indeed been pushed back. It’s probably safe to say this will be the least-welcome Neil Young album in the history of ever.

A farewell to Mr Mick Harvey, who has elected to leave Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Details at the ANTI Blog.

Monday, November 17th, 2008

New Franchise

Grammatics and Drowned In Sound's tips for 2009

Photo via In Sound continues to peek ahead to the new year with a list of ten acts that their writers think the world will be all agog about in 2009. I can personally endorse Mumford & Sons, whom I saw in October, and Sky Larkin, whom I’ve not seen but like what I’ve heard. Presumably there’s an album in the works for the former and The Golden Spike, the debut from the latter, is due out in February.

I also quite like what I’m hearing from fresh-faced, Leeds-based moppets Grammatics, though I’ll want to hear more before committing to any kind of endorsement. After all, the last time I was won over by a first listen to a band fronted by a skinny dude with a high voice from that part of the world, I ended up with a JJ72 album in my collection. My first impressions can’t always be trusted. But full-time cellist? You have my attention. Their three singles released thus far do tickle my fancy, when their debut album comes out in the first part of next year, I’ll be checking it out and hoping that I don’t regret too much not going to see them for free when I was in London back in May. You can get an MP3 of latest single “New Franchise” for frees on their website by signing up for their mailing list.

Video: Grammatics – “The Vague Archive”
Video: Grammatics – “D.I.L.E.M.M.A.”
Video: Grammatics – “New Franchise”
MySpace: Grammatics

I also checked out DiS-approved Catherine A.D. over the weekend, and while the first song streaming on her MySpace, “Carry Your Heart”, has promise, the debut EP The Bedroom Sessions is a snooze.

Not on their list but obviously high on mine is Emmy The Great, whose debut First Love finally has a release date. It’ll be out on February 2, and I thank For Folk’s Sake for the best news I had all Friday.

Varsity profiles Noah & The Whale, paying us a visit at the Rivoli on December 9. For Folk’s Sake (them again!) report that the band will be releasing a Christmas mini-album on December 22.

Laura Marling talks to Scotland On Sunday.

The Times invites British Sea Power to put both Rock Band and Guitar Hero through their paces.

Lykke Li is charting out another North American tour and will be returning to Toronto again for a show at the Phoenix on February 6. Javno and SF Weekly have interviews.

Washington Square News and The Charlotte Observer interview M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez. He and his band are at the Opera House on Thursday night, and are running a video contest for next single “We Own The Sky” – details at Pitchfork.

Tourmates for M83 this go-around are School Of Seven Bells, whose Ben Curtis talks to Exclaim about his new band and his old band. There’s a new remix of a song from Alpinisms by Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie available for grabsies.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal” (Robin Guthrie mix)

Anna-Lynne Williams of Trespassers William talks to Roots & Resonance about her songwriting process and juggling different projects. There’ll be a new Trespassers William EP due out sometime in the new year. The band released a video from their last album Having a little while back.

Video: Trespassers William – “Weakening”

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert with Shearwater.

PitchforkTV is currently streaming the whole of Silver Jew, the documentary about Silver Jews frontman David Berman.

I don’t know if this is new or old or just not previously widely circulated, but there’s a video for The Decemberists’ 2004 epic-single “The Tain” up for viewing at PitchforkTV – all 18 minutes of it. This video is the same length as an episode of The Office with the commercials cut out. Spin has a video interview with Colin Meloy as well as a stream of one of the b-sides from their ongoing Always The Bridesmaid single series. Their new album Hazards Of Love is due out in April.

Video: The Decemberists – “The Tain”

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Give And Be Taken

Photo by Patrick Marold

Eric Bachmann has worn many hats over the years. He started out as the hard-barking frontman of angular ’90s college rock heroes Archers Of Loaf. He then reinvented himself as the lonely troubadour on the first couple Crooked Fingers records, terrain he revisited on 2006’s gorgeous solo effort To The Races. And with the last couple Crooked Fingers records, in particular 2005’s sublime Dignity & Shame, he proved to be just as capable as a lush pop artisan and bandleader. And now on his latest effort Forfeit/Fortune, which once again finds him operating under the Crooked Fingers banner, he decides to be all of the above – simultaneously.

Perhaps as a reaction to the singular starkness of For The Races, Bachmann has crafted one of his most eclectic and fully-arranged records – one that manages to incorporate aspects of his entire career from gruff-voiced Archer-esque numbers to somber, solo-ish pieces, while still treading some completely new sonic territory. The heavy-handed production might be a point of contention for some, utilizing decidedly un-Bachmann-ish touches like drum machines and synths.

Those more left-field tangents give Forfeit/Fortune a certain, “WTF?” quality and in some cases probably distract and detract from the songs themselves but those instances are thankfully rare. It may be a bit dizzying, but the Forfeit/Fortune experience is a good one. The overall flavour isn’t too far from Dignity & Shame, maintaining that record’s Spanish accents if not its cohesiveness and adding some Balkan influence for good measure. It’s also a bit back-loaded with the best material, culminating in a stellar duet with Neko Case. Bachmann fans might find themselves a bit off-balance listening to this latest record, but there’s still plenty solid to hold on to.

Crooked Fingers are currently on tour with Okkervil River and will play the Phoenix this coming Sunday night, October 12 – to which I’m giving away passes. New City Chicago, The Hartford Advocate and Crawdaddy have interviews with Bachmann about Forfeit/Fortune, which was released yesterday. It’s streaming in its entirety as Spinner and comes in both standard and deluxe CD formats, the latter of which comes with a documentary DVD amongst other goodies. Check out the trailer.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Phony Revolutions”
Video: Crooked Fingers – “Let’s Not Pretend (To Be New Men)”
Stream: Crooked Fingers / Forfeit/Fortune
MySpace: Crooked Fingers

In addition to streaming Bob Dylan’s new Bootleg SeriesTell-Tale Signs, out yesterday – Spinner has got a couple of the tracks available to download.

MP3: Bob Dylan – “Mississippi”
MP3: Bob Dylan – “Dreamin’ Of You”
Stream: Bob Dylan / Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8

Neil Young could take a lesson or two from Dylan in archive-digging efficiency. No Depression reports that to no one’s surprise, the release of Archives has been delayed from this Fall until January or February of 2009… sure. Whatever. As a form of compensation, Bad News Beat reports that another Archives live set circa 1968 and entitled Sugar Mountain will be released on November 28. Neil is playing the Air Canada Centre on December 4 and 5.

Pitchfork and The Skinny chat with Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

Marc Perlman of The Jayhawks and Golden Smog talks to Prefix about the process of assembling the latter’s recent best-of comp Stay Golden.

Paste talks to M Ward about what’s next for both him (new record called Hold Time out in February) and She & Him (Volume Two is “in the works”).

Minneapolis City Pages converses with David Berman of Silver Jews.

Matador has massive plans to entice you to pre-order the next edition in the massive Pavement reissue series, Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.. It’s out November 18.

Political Affairs talks to Billy Bragg about affairs of a political nature.

Much delight in these parts that Neil Halstead has a date at the Drake Underground on November 8. No, he’s not bringing his surfing BFF Jack Johnson with him but you can’t have everything.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Queen Bee”

Noah & The Whale are coming back to town for a date at the El Mocambo on December 9. The band have been keeping a tour diary from their just-completed North American jaunt at LiveDaily and Seattlest interviews frontman Charlie Fink.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals have a date at the El Mocambo on December 10. The McGill Tribune has a chat.

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.