Posts Tagged ‘Six By Seven’

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Metal & Dust

Review of London Grammar’s If You Wait

Photo By Paolo ZerbiniPaolo ZerbiniI’m sure it’s purely coincidence, but it’s a hell of one that the title of If You Wait, the 2013 debut from London Grammar, is but one word apart from If You Leave, the 2013 debut Daughter. After all, both are London-based, female-fronted three-pieces with atmospheric aesthetics, singular vocal signatures, and who plumb the depths of the heart’s frailties for lyrical inspiration.

But while they occupy a similar space, London Grammar stake out their own territory. A ways away from Elena Tonra’s wistful sigh of a voice, Hannah Reid’s rich, husky alto is clearly a powerful instrument akin to Florence Welch’s but rather than use it to blow the doors off, she keeps it set on a deep and steady soul-infused smoulder that expresses her wounded sentiments in rich tones. The musical accompaniment, built largely around guitar and piano, is sparse by default but more than able to swell for effect and works well in adding to the twilight ambience. One does wish that Dan Rothman’s lines and style – palm-muted and echoed – was a little less xx-marks-the-spot, but there’s no arguing its effectiveness in this context.

If there’s a complaint to be made about If You Wait, it’s in that the London Grammar aesthetic is a little too defined and consistently applied and over the course of the record starts feeling a bit monochromatic. It feels like a photograph of something beautiful, viewable from a single angle, than a living, breathing thing – more than acceptable for now, but a limitation they’ll have to transcend sooner rather than later.

NME reports that If You Wait is presently the odds-on favourite to win the Mercury Prize, the shortlist of which will be announced tomorrow and whose winner will be announced October 30. The West Australian and The Guardian have feature pieces on London Grammar and The Line Of Best Fit has a video of their covering La Roux for BBC’s Live Lounge. If You Wait is out today, September 10, and their inaugural North American tour brings them to Toronto for a show at The Great Hall on October 4.

Video: London Grammar – “Strong”
Video: London Grammar – “Wasting My Young Years”

The Guardian has a stream of Summer Camp’s second self-titled album, out now, while The Fly has a feature piece on the duo and Noisey gets them to go through and comment on their old photo albums.

Stream: Summer Camp / Summer Camp

Interview, Spin, The Telegraph, Tone Deaf, and The Fly mark today’s release of Arctic Monkeys’ AM with feature interviews; they play The Kool Haus on September 15.

DIY and talk to CHVRCHES as the September 24 release date of their debut The Bones Of What You Believe draws near; but first they play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15.

NPR is streaming the new Elvis Costello/Roots collaboration Wise Up Ghost ahead of its September 17 release date.

Stream: Elvis Costello with The Roots / Wise Up Ghost

Peter Hook updates The Hollywood Reporter on the attempts to take possession of those Joy Division/New Order master tapes rescued from the trash recently. And as you can assume from the word “attempts”, they’re not going well. Hook plays The Hoxton on September 18.

Pitchfork has got a stream of another new track from Laura Groves, nee Blue Roses, taken from her new EP Thinking About Thinking, due out September 30.

Stream: Laura Groves – “Pale Shadows”

Yuck has released an in-studio video of them getting their New Order on; their second album Glow & Behold comes out September 30.

Video: Yuck – “Age Of Consent”

Frightened Rabbit play a video session for The Line Of Best Fit from a pirate ship at the End Of The Road festival; they are at The Kool Haus on October 21.

The 405 talks to Polly Scattergood, who has released a new video from her second album Arrows, originally set for a June release but now locked in to an October 21 street date.

Video: Polly Scattergood – “Cocoon”

MTV Hive has an interview and NPR a World Cafe session with Franz Ferdinand, who’ve just put out a new video from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action; they play The Kool Haus October 24.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”

Though still coy about details of a new album, The High Wire have made another new song available to download.

MP3: The High Wire – “The Thames & The Tide”

The xx tell NME they’re already at work on album number three.

Little Boots has released a new video from Nocturnes.

Video: Little Boots – “Satellite”

NME and Billboard talk to Billy Bragg about being recognized for his “outstanding contribution to music” by the UK’s Association of Independent Music.

The Guardian talks to James Allan of Glasvegas.

God Is In The TV has an interview with Chris Olley of Six By Seven.

The Wedding Present are streaming a new single which will be available for sale as a 7″ on their upcoming UK tour.

Stream: The Wedding Present – “Two Bridges”

NPR marks the 20th anniversary of Britpop with a playlist of the scene’s best.

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Gimme Shelter

England’s oldest hit makers The Rolling Stones are coming to town and other notes from abroad

Photo By Mark SeligerMark SeligerApologies for going for the low-hanging fruit with this one, but I don’t have the time or energy to squeeze out something more interesting. So you get this. And pro tip: providing a current photo with credit really goes a long way towards leading off a post.

Anyways, The Rolling Stones – perhaps you’ve heard of them – finally announced their long-rumoured, basically inevitable 50th anniversary North American tour yesterday, and while it’s only nine dates long, at least for now, Toronto makes the cut – the Stones will be at the Air Canada Centre on May 25, with tickets running a not surprising but still eye-popping $147.25 to $597.25, on sale April 8 at 10AM. Update: And a second show has been added for June 6. No, it’s not any cheaper.

The Chicago Tribune has a well-timed interview with Mick Jagger where such topics as, “why arenas and not stadiums?”, “why so expensive?”, and “what special guests might we expect?” are covered – the last of which was already covered earlier in the day when it was confirmed that former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor would be making appearances with the band on all of the North American dates – good news for those for whom the early ’70s is their favourite Stones era. And who have lots and lots of money to spend on a single concert.

Video: The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar” (live)

To celebrate the North American release of For Now I Am Winter this week, Ólafur Arnalds submitted to an “Ask Me Anything” at Reddit, is the subject of features at Interview and Live High Five, and has a video session up at Yahoo!.

The Quietus, The Guardian, and Digital Spy talk to Guy Chadwick of The House Of Love, whose new album She Paints Words In Red was finally released this week.

Exclaim and BBC America talk to Jessie Ware, who has also compiled and annotated a mixtape for The AV Club. The makes her Toronto debut at The Opera House on April 6 and releases Devotion in North America on April 16.

James Blake has released a new video from Overgrown, out next week on April 9. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on May 4.

Video: James Blake – “Voyeur”

Pitchfork have the advance stream of Shaking The Habitual, the new opus from The Knife, while Filter has an interview. The album is due out next week on April 9.

Stream: The Knife / Shaking The Habitual

The Joy Formidable talks Record Store Day – for which they’re releasing a cover of Springsteen’s “Badlands” as a b-side on a 7″ – with Rolling Stone and answers other questions for Columbus Live, The Chicago Sun-Times, and London On The Inside. They play The Phoenix on April 12.

Charli XCX has rolled out a new video from her debut True Romance, due out April 16. She opens up for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

Video: Charli XCX – “What I Like”

Spin, MTV, Rolling Stone, WNYC, and Stereogum talk to Phoenix about their new album Bankrupt!, which is out April 23.

And that provides a good segue into some developments with The Grove Fest that Phoenix were supposed to headline in Niagara-On-The-Lake on August 3. You’ll note the use of the past tense there, and that’s because it’s no longer happening in Niagara-On-The-Lake, but as of yesterday was moved to Garrison Commons at Fort York in Toronto, with the lineup being trimmed of Macklemore, Pretty Lights, and Bob Mould and ticket prices being dropped to $59.50. And before you chalk it up to a dearth of Phoenix and Hot Chip fans in western New York, this Hamilton Spectator piece hints that it may have been as much NIMBY-ism as soft sales responsible for the relocation and doubling-down on the GTA market. In any case, it’s a bit of 416 festival nostalgia as the lineup that felt mostly like a Rogers Picnic is now enjoying some V Fest-esque drama.

Consequence Of Sound interviews Palma Violets, who are in town at Lee’s Palace on May 3 and again on August 3 at Garrison Common as part of the relocated Grove Fest.

Clash, The Province, Vancouver Sun, The Guardian, and Beatroute have interviews with Billy Bragg, in town at The Danforth Music Hall on May 3.

Cosmopolitan and The Line Of Best Fit talk to Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her new album Nocturnes, out May 6.

Primal Scream have released a new video from the forthcoming More Light, out May 13.

Video: Primal Scream – “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

Still Corners have released a new video from their forthcoming Strange Pleasures, out May 7. And their previously-announced June 14 NXNE date is now the endpoint of a full North American tour – dates at Spin.

Video: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”

Exclaim talks to Savages ahead of the May 7 release of their debut Silence Yourself.

A Music Blog, Yea chats with Stornoway, in town at The Horseshoe on May 9.

Le Blogotheque has an Empty Space video session with Foals. They play The Kool Haus on May 11.

DIY gets a look at the making of Desire Lines from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell. The album is out June 4 and they play Garrison Common for the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 4.

The xx stop in at NPR for a World Cafe session. They stop in for a big-ass show at Downsview Park on June 6.

Daytrotter have posted a session with Bloc Party, in town at Garrison Common as part of the Field Trip fest on June 8.

Spinner, Spin, and Consequence Of Sound chat with CHVRCHES, who’ve just premeired a new video from their debut full-length, due in September. They’re at The Hoxton on June 12.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Now Is Not The Time”

DIY, Clash, and Artrocker profile Peace, coming to town as part of NXNE on June 15.

At this point, I suspect only Chris Olley knows on any given day if Nottingham’s Six By Seven are a going concern or not, but for the moment it appears they once again are with a new album in Peace And Love And Sympathy slated for a June 10 release. And while it’s been a while since they’ve done anything really memorable since 2004’s :04, the two sample tracks they’ve got available to stream sound way more intense and focused on either Artists Cannibals Poets Thieves or If Symptoms Persist, Kill Your Doctor – “Truce” is all kinds of angry, and an angry Six By Seven is a potent Six By Seven. And if you’re not familiar with this criminally underappreciated band, treat yourself to a free compilation of what band principal Olley has been up to over the past decade. Or just listen to “Bochum” on repeat all day.

Stream: Six By Seven – “Sympathy”
Stream: Six By Seven – “Truce”

Polly Scattergood has a video for the first single from her forthcoming album Arrows, slated for June 14 release.

Video: Polly Scattergood – “Wanderlust”

For those waiting for some east coast Bat For Lashes dates in support of The Haunted Man, good news and bad news. The good news is word has it she’s here on September 2. Bad news is it’s at the Molson Amphitheatre opening for Depeche Mode. Now if you’re a Depeche Mode fan as well, great. If not, then… oh well.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Oh Yeah”

NPR welcomes Richard Thompson for a World Cafe session.

PopMatters has excerpted some of The Stone Roses: War And Peace, the new book about – wait for it – The Stone Roses.

NPR serves up a video session with Frightened Rabbit.

Spinner talks riot grrl with Kate Nash.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Melody’s Echo Chamber.

A Heart Is A Spade interviews The Deer Tracks.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Everybody's On The Run

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Massey Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo here we are, with both post-Oasis projects with their debuts officially out in the wild – the Liam-led Beady Eye having released Different Gear, Still Speeding back in March and Noel Gallagher’s Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds out this week. Given the not-so-greatness of Liam’s Oasis output, the bar for the former was set fairly low and Different Gear‘s meat-and-potatoes Brit-rock had no problem clearing it, with “not bad” counting as a big win. Noel, on the other hand, had considerably more to live up to what with not only having penned some of the most memorable British rock anthems of his generation, but having been the one pulled the pin on the grenade that finally, inevitably, killed Oasis. Though looking at it from another perspective, Beady Eye had everything to prove while Noel could point as his songbook and say, “what the fook have YOU done?”.

The best and the worst thing you can say about High Flying Birds is that it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a Noel Gallagher solo record, with his respective weaknesses and strengths on full display. Amongst the former are his penchant for cribbing lyrics and melodies from others wholesale, and may of the words that are his are vague and nonsensical, though at least they rhyme. However just as he did in Oasis, he’s able to marry them with an unimpeachable gift for melody, a delivery that makes them sound profound and a flair for dressing them up in big arrangements that aren’t too overcooked (obviously this took some time to learn). It can be frustrating to sing along with words that make no sense, but sing along you will.

That said, for all the familiar motions, Birds feels distinct from an Oasis record for reasons beyond the absence of Liam’s rock’n’roll sneer. Perhaps in being freed from the inherent compromises of a band and being able to take full creative control, Gallagher has been able to fully assume the role of composer rather than just songwriter and consequently, Birds feels more meticulous in its execution than any Oasis record I can recall. Some might bemoan its mid-temponess or dearth of guitar heroics, but let’s be fair – he’s made those records already. High Flying Birds doesn’t necessarily revitalize or recontextualize what Noel Gallagher is about – not even remotely, if we’re being honest – but it is well-crafted, tuneful and likeable. Well I like it, anyways, and that’s why despite not getting accredited to cover the show in an official capacity, I headed down to Massey Hall about 20 minutes before showtime and patronized my first ever scalper. Less than half face value? Sure.

Though not sold out – two nights at Massey is a tall order for many acts, even one who sold out arenas with his old band – the hall was nearly full and crackling with the energy of fans who’d not seen the elder Gallagher since that fateful Virgin Festival 2008 appearance where he was assaulted onstage, if not earlier. The vibe was not unlike that at The Sound Academy in June when Liam led Beady Eye into town for their first visit, though feeling a bit older and with fewer (no) Union Jack flags hanging from the balconies.

Unlike Beady Eye, however, Noel had already said that the Oasis songbook was very much fair game for his solo shows and to prove it, the show opened with “(It’s Good) To Be Free”, a 17-year old b-side from a non-album single. Not just the hits, then. Oasis material would actually comprise almost half the 90-minute set, spanning the breadth of their catalog but with no small amount of revisionist history applied – “Wonderwall” got the Ryan Adams treatment, “Supersonic” was stripped down to acoustic guitar and piano (and would be a post-show point of contention for being a Liam song) and “Talk Tonight” given the full band treatment. It was as though Gallagher was more than willing to indulge his fans’ desire to hear the old material, but wasn’t going to make head-to-head comparisons of Oasis and his High Flying Birds easy.

As for the new material, not only was the album played in its entirety, but a b-side and new song thrown in for good measure. All of it was played pretty much verbatim from the album arrangements and in workmanlike fashion from Gallagher and his five-piece band – the crowd was enthused but Gallagher didn’t seem particularly interested in stoking the fires, just in doing his thing. It would have been unreasonable to expect him to discover some heretofore unknown wellspring on on-stage charisma upon assuming the role of frontman, but at least Gallagher seemed chipper in bantering with the crowd.

Early on, he told an audience member who’d not heard the new record that, “it’s going to be a long fucking night for you then” and later, when the inevitable topic of his younger brother came up (he has a home in Toronto), he responded to someone calling out that they’d seen Liam around town buying shoes, “were they high heels?”. Noel has a well-earned reputation for shooting his mouth off about anything and everything, but he’s got a sense of humour. The encore was a triple-bill of Oasis numbers – “Little By Little” from Heathen Chemistry, “The Importance Of Being Idle” from Don’t Believe The Truth and, finally, predictably and thrillingly, “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. That finale was spared any rejigging and performed as it always has – how else do you lead the singalong? And sing along everyone did.

So with all the evidence gathered – live and on record – how do the two post-Oasis projects measure up? Both have turned in decent efforts without offering anything new, but neither is a patch on Oasis in their prime – but to be fair, most of Oasis’ career isn’t a patch on Oasis in their prime either. With Beady Eye, Liam seems to want to recreate the rock’n’roll heyday of Oasis without invoking Oasis, whereas Noel is content to acknowledge his legacy without resting on it. I’d go so far as to say if you took both their records and combined the best moments into one, you’d have the best Oasis record in some years. To be at their best, as both brothers once sang, they need each other. Maybe someday they’ll once again believe in one another.

The Toronto Sun, Exclaim, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, NOW, Spinner and National Post also have reviews of the show and Los Angeles Times and National Post also have feature interviews.

Photos: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds @ Massey Hall – November 7, 2011
Video: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “AKA… What A Life”
Video: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “If I Had A Gun”
Video: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “The Death Of You & Me”

In talking to NME, Damon Albarn reveals that Blur have been recording and discussions about more touring in 2012 have taken place. None of which is a commitment to anything, but it is something.

BBC chats with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner.

Band Of Skulls have set a date at The Phoenix for March 30 of next year in support of their new album Sweet Sour, out February 21. Tickets are $17.50 in advance. Exclaim has details and dates and there’s a video for the first single from the album.

Video: Band Of Skulls – “The Devil Takes Care Of His Own”

DIY talks to Kele about his new EP The Hunter.

Clash interviews Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Artrocker profiles Los Campesinos!, whose new record Hello Sadness is streaming at NPR ahead of its November 15 release date.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”
Stream: Los Campesinos! / Hello Sadness

Interview, The Independent and Londonist talk to Summer Camp on the occasion of the release of their debut Welcome To Condale this week.

Pitchfork reports that The xx have begun work on their second album, and will be documenting the process via cryptic animated gif.

The ink barely dry on the their Toronto debut last month, London’s Still Corners will be back on December 9 at The Horseshoe in support of The War on Drugs. The Georgia Straight and Houston Press have interviews and Radio K is streaming a session with the band.

MP3: Still Corners – “Into The Trees”

The AV Club talks to Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale.

Spinner interviews Laura Marling.

The Guardian gets two generations of folk music – Billy Bragg and Johnny Flynn – to discuss the relevance of protest music today.

Patrick Wolf has released a new video from Lupercalia, which continues to await a North American release. In 2012, perhaps. The Gay Times talks to Wolf about his impending nuptials.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Falcons”

Rocksucker talks to The Twilight Sad about their third album No One Can Ever Know, due out in February.

Clash marks the 20th anniversary of My Bloody Valentine’s landmark Loveless album, while The Quietus reflects on the significance of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s debut Psychocandy.

And while not nearly on the level of either of those records, I greatly appreciate Drowned In Sound saluting The Closer I Get, the second album from Nottingham’s Six By Seven. Terribly underappreciated over their tenure, at their best – which would be that record – there was no more beautifully aggressive and misanthropic rock band out there. After a few ill-fated reunions, the band is done but if you go to their website, their last great record – 2004’s relatively sunnier :04 – is available for free download in exchange for an email. You should do this thing.

MP3: Six By Seven – “Bochum (Light Up My Life)”
Video: Six By Seven – “Eat Junk Become Junk”