Posts Tagged ‘Spoon’

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Arise, Watch

Buffalo Tom arise again

Photo via MyspaceMyspaceI don’t really participate in Twitter memes, but if I were to ride the one currently trending for #why90srocked, one of my contributions might be Boston’s Buffalo Tom. One of my favourite bands of that decade, their Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day were two of the gateways that led me to the world of college rock (what the kids now mostly call indie) – jangly guitars, raspy vocals, big hooks all around, what’s not to like? Unfortunately they, like many of the acts of that era, didn’t find the underground to be especially profitable and eventually called it a day at the end of the 20th century when the responsibilities of real life came calling (frontman Bill Janovitz became and continues to be a realtor).

But like many of their peers, Buffalo Tom found a second act years later when they discovered their fans from back in the day were still there and so was their appetite for their music. I for one was thrilled to finally see them live not once but twice in 2007, both terrifically high energy performances with just the right amount of slop, and their comeback album Three Easy Pieces also stood tall alongside their past works. There were no disappointments here.

And I don’t expect any on their second post-reunion album, Skins. The Buffalo Tom formula isn’t necessarily a broad one, but it is deep enough to expect the veteran songwriters to be able to pull a dozen or so good tunes out of it every few years. Stereogum has the first MP3 from the album available to download, and though it starts out favouring the band’s more pensive side it builds quickly to a big rock breakdown, and Janovitz’s voice is unmistakeable. Consider the appetite whetted. Skins is out on February 15 of next year and The Alternate Side has an interview with Janovitz.

Grab the title track from their last record for a taste of their more pop-oriented side. Update: The new track is now available for anyone to disseminate. Yay!

MP3: Buffalo Tom – “Arise, Watch”
MP3: Buffalo Tom – “Three Easy Pieces”

Chunklet interviews Andy Earles, biographer of Husker Du and author of Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock.

Creative Loafing talks to Jon Wurster and City Pages to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk. They’re playing an in-store at Sonic Boom on December 9 at 3PM before hitting up the Sound Academy that evening opening up for Broken Social Scene.

The Vine interviews Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

Rolling Stone reports that in addition to the reissues of Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass on January 18, the same day that a short tour kicks off at The Phoenix in Toronto, The Jayhawks will be releasing a new album under their proper name – previously a stumbling point – in the Spring of next year.

Magnet has gone archive-digging and come up with their 2002 feature piece on Wilco circa Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, arguably the most interesting period of their career.

Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller talks to Spinner about his love of hockey while bassist Murry Hammond chats with Metromix.

Conor Oberst will return to Bright Eyes for the first time since 2007 for The People’s Key, due February 15. Details at American Songwriter.

Interpol heads to Europe and does the press circuit with Metro, The Guardian and Drowned In Sound.

Spoon has collected the demos and alternate takes of songs that were posted to their website over the past couple years and are offering it for sale as the digital compilation Bonus Songs 2008-2009.

Yours Truly has a video session with S. Carey, in town at The Horseshoe on December 19.

The Fly has an acoustic session with Local Natives.

Spinner talks to Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg while the band talks about and performs the song “Warpaint” in session for The Guardian.

The Besnard Lakes have set a date at Lee’s Palace for January 29, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Scots Biffy Clyro will bring their Mercury-shortlisted Only Revolutions to The Garrison on February 16, tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Biffy Clyro – “God and Satan”

Asobi Seksu will hit the road following the the February 11 release of their new record Fluorescence and stop in at The Horseshoe on February 27.

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Trails”

Cold War Kids will be at Lee’s Palace on March 18 in support of their new record Mine Is Yours, out January 25. Tickets $20 in advance. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Spinner and The Hook have features on the band.

The Whig and Edmonton Journal interview Dan Mangan, who just recorded a World Cafe session for NPR.

San Francisco Weekly and Exclaim chat with The Sadies, who will be holding their annual New Year’s Eve throwdown at The Horseshoe on December 31.

Wolf Parade discuss their decision to take an indefinite hiatus with

Exclaim declares Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs as their pop/rock album of the year and talk to Win Butler about it.

The Dears are giving away a track from their forthcoming Degeneration Street over at Dangerbird. The record is out February 15.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Living Is So Easy

British Sea Power set date for Dancehall

Photo By Dan DennisonDan DennisonBritish Sea Power have yet to top the UK charts – their last record, 2008’s Do You Like Rock Music? came closest at #10 – but their next album Valhalla Dancehall certainly had #1 on its mind. It was announced yesterday that it’d have a release date of January 1, 2011 – 1/1/11 for the numerologically-inclined – and as such has the distinction of being the first major new release of next year, at least in my cosmos.

It’s interesting to note that this album finds the lineup officially expanded to a six-piece, bringing their touring viola and keyboard players into the fold (and press photos). One might suppose that the extra personnel would make for a bigger, broader-sounding album, but BSP have never gone small or been blessed with an inordinate amount of focus, even when they numbered just four, so it’s hard to imagine them being even more out there with album number four than they’ve been in the past. Zeus, the taster EP for the new record, is certainly as eclectic over its seven tracks as anything they’ve done before. has an interview with the band and in addition to assembling a little teaser video for the new record, they’ve released a new MP3 from the album to get y’all excited.

MP3: British Sea Power – “Living Is So Easy”
MP3: British Sea Power – “Zeus”

Robyn has rescheduled her show from last Friday, which was cancelled at the 11th hour (or more like 3PM) the day of due to illness. It’ll now take place on January 26, still at the Sound Academy.

Video: Robyn – “Dancing On My Own”

Dum Dum Girls will be making up for their cancelled Fall tour with a Winter jaunt that includes a stop at the El Mocambo on February 26.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “D.A.L.”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Eric Elbogen, aka Say Hi – he stopped directing that at your mom a little while ago – has a new record coming out on January 25 entitled Um, Uh Oh and will be staging a huge tour to promote. Check out the first track courtesy of Spin and see him when he plays the El Mocambo on March 4.

MP3: Say Hi – “Devils”

NPR has got a World Cafe session with Ra Ra Riot, while Pique, The Calgary Sun and The Gauntlet have interviews. The band are at the Mod Club on December 1.

Drowned In Sound talks to Scott Devendorf of The National. The deluxe edition of High Violet comes out November 23.

Spin declares Warpaint to be “breaking out” while The Riverfront Times talks to drummer Stella Mozgawa.

Spoon have put out a new video from Transference.

Video: Spoon – “Nobody Gets Me But You”

Band Of Horses have opted to premiere their latest cinematically-styled video from Infinite Arms at IMBD.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Dilly”

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart talk to Spinner about “Heart In Your Heartbreak”, the lead single from their new record Belong, due out in March.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Matador At 21: The Lost Weekend Day Two

Belle & Sebastian, Spoon, Superchunk and more at Matador at 21

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe generally packed Matador At 21 schedule didn’t allow time for much activity beyond getting rocked and sleeping it off, but on Saturday I still managed to get away from The Palms and over to the strip with Dave Rawkblog and Brad Almanac for some Vegas-style (read: totally excessive) buffet and celebrity-sighting (Pete Rose and Tim Gunn were hanging at Caesar’s Palace while I bought a new mouse), and it’s a good thing that I loaded up before the evening’s festivities, because this day was going to be a long one.

So long that I had to skip out on the first mainstage act of the day – Girls – to take care of some business, and was okay with that. I’d seen them at Pitchfork and that was enough for a while. I did make sure to catch Come, however, seeing as how it was just the Boston quartet’s third show in 15 years. And yeah, it was a good thing I did as they played the role that Chavez had the night before of groundbreaking ’90s act whom if not for the relative misfortune of being ahead of their time, might have found a much greater audience. Led by Thalia Zedek and her worn, emotive voice, their set was heavy and atmospheric with her and Chris Brokaw’s guitars weaving through and around each other overtop the steady and grinding rhythm section. Like Chavez, Come were a band I tried out some time ago and couldn’t quite get into – their performance made me think it might be time to try again.

Photos: Come @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
Video: Come – “Cimarron”
Video: Come – “Submerge”

I figured I’d gotten enough The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion back at Pitchfork, but found I actually enjoyed this performance considerably more. Surely the setting was part of it – the JSBX are far more suited to playing dark, grungy clubs – or fancy theatres masquerading as dark, grungy clubs – than bright, sunlit afternoons at festivals, and being in their element definitely helped their vibe. They sounded jammier and greasier and angrier than they did there, that last one partly thanks to Spencer’s dissatisfaction with the sound onstage – at one point, he smashed his mic and tried (unsuccessfully) to sing through the kick drum mic. They eventually got things fixed in time for their big finish, but the stage crew was clearly unimpressed with Spencer exploding his blues all over their equipment and cut their set off at the earliest opportunity though they probably could have squeezed one more in. This wasn’t well-received by the audience, resulting in one drink thrown and one demonstration of the Pearl security’s lack of tolerance for thrown drinks.

Photos: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
Video: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Dang”
Video: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Flavor”
Video: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Talk About The Blues”

While most of the performers at Matador at 21 were veterans that represented the pinnacle of the label’s roster, there were still a few new acts injected into the lineup, including one of their most recent signees – Perfume Genius. Though the piano duo, playing some songs on separate keyboards and some on the same, took the energy levels down several hundred notches following Jon Spencer’s over-the-top set, the stark beauty of their short set largely and impressively silenced a room that had been absolutely adrenalized minutes earlier. I tend to approach the sensitive, piano-based singer-songwriter thing with some trepidation, but I think Mike Hadreas is the real deal. They’re currently on tour in support of debut album LearningLearning and at the Drake Underground in Toronto tomorrow night. If you’re on the fence, let me nudge you towards yes.

Photos: Perfume Genius @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Learning”

The evening’s timetable had been overly optimistic in thinking that the simplicity of Perfume Genius’ setup would allow them to segue directly into Cat Power’s set, and the changeover and soundcheck ended up taking considerably longer than zero minutes and set things back by at least half an hour. Anyone hopes that the occasion would find Chan Marshall revisiting the days of Moon Pix and You Are Free evaporated when the band setup was clearly that of the Dirty Delta Blues Band that had supported her on the Jukebox tours but when her set finally got underway, there was a nod to those simpler, starker days as Chan offered her version of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” accompanying herself only on electric guitar. But then the guitar went away and the band came out and the rest of the set featured the southern soul diva Cat Power who dazzled on 2006’s The Greatest with a brace of largely unfamiliar songs and covers. I admit to having some reservations of her continuing on in this style as it puts too much focus on Cat Power the voice and that’s not nearly as compelling as Cat Power the songwriter but regardless, she sounded great, looked radiant and seemed pretty together save for some random repositioning of her mic stand.

Photos: Cat Power @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
MP3: Cat Power – “The Greatest”
MP3: Cat Power – “He War”

When 2010 began, high up on my list of bands that I had yet to see (but really wanted to) was North Carolina’s Superchunk. I finally got to check that off thanks to their short but sweet set at SxSW in March, and as energized as they were there I clearly hadn’t seen anything yet. Playing half a year later with a terrific new record in Majesty Shredding and some touring under their belts, Superchunk were a rock revelation. Easily the most energetic performer of the weekend – and that’s saying something – the former Matador signees and current Merge masterminds incited a pogo party in the crowd, pounding out power punk gems from all points in their career, wrapping with an explosive “Precision Auto” and just generally being awesome. Superchunk. Super. Chunk. Can’t wait to make it a three-peat when they play the Sound Academy on December 9 opening up for and inevitably upstaging Broken Social Scene.

Photos: Superchunk @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
MP3: Superchunk – “Digging For Something”
MP3: Superchunk – “Misfits & Mistakes”
MP3: Superchunk – “Never Too Young To Smoke”
MP3: Superchunk – “Rainy Streets”
MP3: Superchunk – “Becoming A Speck”
MP3: Superchunk – “Pink Clouds”
MP3: Superchunk – “Detroit Has A Skyline” (acoustic)
MP3: Superchunk – “Nu Bruises”
MP3: Superchunk – “Skip Steps 1 & 3”

Continuing the Matador-Merge cross-label summit were Spoon, who started their career on the former but found their fame on the latter. And like their label bosses and lead-in act, it’s kind of funny that I’d gone some five years without seeing Spoon live and here this was my third Spoon show in the past six months. This one wasn’t too different from those, with the band tight and taut and embellishing their sound with a locally-recruited horn section and guest percussionist. Their special treats for the occasion were a cover of the late Matador artist Jay Reatard’s “No Time” and a few seriously old-school back catalog selections including fan favourite “Car Radio”. Their set may not have offered a lot of surprises, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Photos: Spoon @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
MP3: Spoon – “The Underdog”
MP3: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
MP3: Spoon – “The Way We Get By”
MP3: Spoon – “This Book Is A Movie”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”
MP3: Spoon – “Chips & Dip”
MP3: Spoon – “Idiot Driver”

Oh, Belle & Sebastian. The only British act on the mainstage this weekend and really, not having a lot in common stylistically with most of the other performers but still big enough and beloved enough to rate closing out the second night’s programming. Their presence at this event was something of a surprise since they had been on an indefinite hiatus since 2006’s The Life Pursuit and Stuart Murdoch was devoting all his energies to last year’s God Help The Girl project. But it apparently doesn’t take long to get the band back together and though most would be happy just to have the band back, they’ve returned with one of their best records in some time with Write About Love, out next Tuesday and currently streaming at NPR. I’ll comment more on the record next week after their Toronto show at Massey Hall also on the 12th – for now, just their Vegas appearance.

And it’s a show that opened with a new song – “I Didn’t See It Coming”, the first track on the new record – and even if it was unfamiliar to most of the audience, the duet between Stuart Murdoch and Sarah Martin was immediate enough to announce that Belle & Sebastian were back and hadn’t lost a step in the time away. And if anyone had forgotten how good they were as a live band, they were well reminded by the Scots’ wonderful hour-fifteen set. In between songs that touched on every one of their albums, going back as far as their debut Tigermilk for “The State I Am In”, Murdoch and guitarist Stevie Jackson tossed off wonderful bits of banter to the audience and each other and Murdoch demonstrated his throwing arm by tossing autographed toy footballs into the crowd and later, audience members were enlisted to clap and dance through “There’s Too Much Love” and “The Boy With The Arab Strap” and rewarded with gold medals. Those of us not so fortunate as to cut a rug with the band had to settle – so to speak – for bobbing up and down to energetic readings of favourites like “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” and “I’m A Cuckoo”. By the time they wrapped up the set with “Sleep The Clock Around”, things had already run almost an hour later than scheduled and it was unclear if we’d be allowed an encore, but clapped and cheered for one anyways. The band returned in short order, saying they’d been given permission for one more song if they made it “fucking quick” and though “Me And The Major” was quick, it was still glorious. And yes, I do feel incredibly fortunate to be seeing them again so soon, particularly since I’ve been so handily reminded of how much I love this band.

Photos: Belle & Sebastian @ Pearl at The Palms – October 2, 2010
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Write About Love”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Funny Little Frog”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Take Your Carriage Clock And Shove It”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Storytelling”

If I had any sense this would have been the end of the night but I’d skipped out on the previous night’s after party festivities and damn it, this was Las Vegas – you don’t go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Instead you go to indie rock karaoke and rush the stage when Matador staff are called on to sing Pavement’s “Summer Babe” and crowd surf Ted Leo. If you’re wondering, it looks something like this. And then at 5AM – 8AM your own time – you go back to your room and pass out.

The Patriot-Ledger and Phoenix have features on the Come reunion. Rolling Stone talks to Cat Power about her plans for her next record, and they include playing all of the instruments herself. If that pans out, then it surely won’t be sounding like The Greatest or Jukebox – colour me intrigued. Interview and NPR have features on Superchunk. The Guardian interviews Belle & Sebastian, who are running a contest wherein a winner gets to spend a day with Stuart Murdoch and co-write a song for a forthcoming 7″.

The AV Club, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Las Vegas Weekly all have further Saturday night recaps.

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

"A(nother) Salty Salute"

Everyone covers Guided By Voices

Photo By Michael LavineMichael LavineWhen Guided By Voices announced they were calling it a day back in Summer of 2004, I marked the occasion with a tribute cover of the week which basically consisted of me scraping together all of the GBV covers I could find and tossing them onto the internet (where they mostly came from in the first place). So it seems appropriate that as Guided By Voices have reunited and will play tonight as the grand finale of Matador at 21 in Las Vegas, I should bust out some/most of those same tracks to, again, mark the occasion.

And interestingly, many of the artists who are represented are also returning to active duty following long breaks. The Strokes, after an extended hiatus and countless solo projects, are back in the studio and Julian Casablancas has announced their fourth album will be released on March 11, 2011 though it’s doubtful anyone will actually try to hold them to that. Spoon have become one of the biggest and most reliable rock acts in indiedom, releasing Transference earlier this year and also appearing at Matador @ 21. For many years, Portastatic was Mac McCaughan’s primary creative outlet but now that Superchunk is back with Majesty Shredding. their first album in a decade – they too are celebrating their tenure on Matador in Vegas this weekend. Vancouver’s Salteens are putting out their first album in seven years in Grey Eyes, due October 12. Jimmy Eat World’s new record Invented is their first in three years; they’re at the Kool Haus in Toronto on October 17. And finally, Jon Auer’ Posies have just released Blood/Candy, their second post-reunion record but still first in five years.

Odds of any more Guided By Voices remain slim to none, but Robert Pollard will surely keep putting out at least a dozen records a year. Give or take.

MP3: The Strokes – “A Salty Salute”
MP3: Spoon – “Melted Pat”
MP3: Portastatic – “Echoes Myron”
MP3: The Salteens – “Motor Away”
MP3: Jimmy Eat World – “Game Of Pricks”
MP3: Jon Auer – “Gold Star For Robot Boy”
Video: Guided By Voices – “A Salty Salute” (live, 2007)
Video: Guided By Voices – “Auditorium/Motor Away”
Video: Guided By Voices – “Game Of Pricks” (live)
Video: Guided By Voices – “Gold Star For Robot Boy” (live)
Stream: Guided By Voices – “Echoes Myron”

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I'll Never Live Up To You

John Vanderslice gives away EP, consolidates status as swell guy

Photo By Elizabeth WeibergElizabeth WeibergA note: I’m presently barely conscious after staying up way too late the other night doing the Polaris post-game, so I’m just going to start tossing up stuff that’s been collecting in the hopper over the last few days until I pass out.

And we’ll kick off with a new batch of fully realized, produced and presented songs from the inimitable John Vanderslice, collected under the title of Green Grow The Rushes. It’s being given away for exactly zero dollars in both high-quality MP3 and uncompressed WAV format over at his website. Why? Because he’s got these songs he wants you to hear and because he’s great. But if you want to thank the ‘Slice in some monetary way, perhaps pick up a copy of his last full-length Romanian Names? It’s not quite as free but still a great record.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Thule Fog”
MP3: John Vanderslice – “I’ll Never Live Up To You”
ZIP: John Vanderslice / Green Grow The Rushes

Exclaim has some details on the new Iron & Wine album, entitled Kiss Each Other Clean and due out in early 2011.

Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis chats with The Washington Post.

The Thermals have released a new single from Personal Life which, in the parlance of our time, means that there’s a new MP3 to download.

MP3: The Thermals – “Never Listen To Me”

The Line Of Best Fit and Spinner talk to Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. Their new record Blood/Candy is out September 28.

The Boston Herald talks to drummer Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. NYC Taper has also got a recording of their Williamsburg show to share.

Clash interviews Local Natives, in town at the Mod Club on October 19.

Spin declares Lissie to be “breaking out”. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spin gets to the root of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s name, while Filter has a track from their new record Buzzard available to download.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic”

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Drive-By Truckers.

R.E.M. has completed work on album number 15 and are targeting a Spring 2011 release for it.

Drowned In Sound talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about working with Roky Erikson on this year’s True Love Casts Out All Evil.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Spoon’s show in the teeny tiny Cake Shop last week.

The new Deerhunter record Halcyon Digest is streaming at NPR in advance of its release next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace the Opera House on October 19.

Stream: Deerhunter / Halcyon Digest

The AV Club, American Songwriter, The Boston Herald, Pinnastorm, The Awl and NPR have interviews with Superchunk. NPR is also streaming their show in Washington DC last week and NYC Taper offering downloads of the Brooklyn show, giving you a taste of what to expect when they return to Toronto to play the Sound Academy on December 9 opening up for Broken Social Scene; you’ll just have to imagine the pogoing.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Interpol.

PitchforkTV has posted a POV session with The Hold Steady.

Clash declares Holly Miranda “One To Watch”.

New York Magazine talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

Spin gets a live preview of Nicole Atkins’ new record Mondo Amore, due out on January 25 of next year, and you can download a new track from the record over at Nicole’s website.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Ra Ra Riot, who have made good on their promise to come back to town in December – they’ll be at the Mod Club on the first of that month, tickets $16.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”