Posts Tagged ‘Styrofoam Ones’

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Halifax Pop Explosion 2010 Day One

Ty Segall, Styrofoam Ones and The Modern Men at Halifax Pop Explosion

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne of the perks of being my own boss, as it were, is that no one can tell me what I have to cover when I’m out and about, particularly at a festival like Halifax Pop Explosion. And since I’ve already had and taken the opportunity to see many of the big names playing the festival, I went into this week with the mandate of seeing stuff I hadn’t seen before, be it on recommendations from others, positive MySpace first impressions or just because it’s located nearby and I’m lazy.

The Wednesday night festival programme was bit lighter than the rest of the week, basically offering one show per genre of interest. There was the pop show, the metal show, the electro-dance show, the punk show, the GWAR show. Having seen The New Pornographers not three weeks ago, I skipped the pop-friendly bill at The Forum and headed to the Paragon Theatre – conveniently located around the corner from the hotel – for some synth-driven action, kicked off by Halifax’s The Modern Men. Their online samples implied an ’80s-indebted New Wave/New Romantic-ish outfit, and that’s pretty much what was delivered, though more organic and meaty-sounding than expected. Propelled by two drummers with nary an electronic kit or laptop in sight, they had songs that weren’t especially deep – like their influences – but heavy on hooks and groove. The quality of the tunes made up for the general lack of stage presence and mood-killing stage banter – there’s really no need to introduce each song with the title and the style it’s in.

Photos: The Modern Men @ The Paragon Theatre – October 20, 2010
MySpace: The Modern Men

I’d intended to see the next act, Styrofoam Ones, a number of times back in Toronto but apparently we both had to travel to the east coast for that to happen. And interestingly, their set was the inverse of Modern Men’s, in both the positive and negative sense. Delayed by some technical issues, when the trio finally got underway they seemed a bit out of sorts, audibly out of time with one another and when your MO is tightness, that’s a problem. This, however, was offset to a degree by the fact that they didn’t seem to notice or care and kept playing with enough on-stage attitude and swagger that you almost believed that this was how they meant to sound. Within a few songs they did get it together, though, and from then on their showmanship was working with and not in spite of their tunes – good-time synth-rock that favoured vintage combo organ sounds rather than ’80s square waves and reliant more on punkish energy than sophistication.

Photos: Styrofoam Ones @ The Paragon Theatre – October 20, 2010
MP3: Styrofoam Ones – “Blue Lines”
Video: Styrofoam Ones – “Blue Lines”
MySpace: Styrofoam Ones

I had been advised to check out San Francisco’s Ty Segall – whom I’d never heard a note of – on the basis that his shows in Toronto not long ago were “intense”. After being in the front line (or kill zone) of his show at the Seahorse Tavern last night, I’d say that yeah, that’s pretty accurate. And it’s not because his stuff – garage rock with a goodly amount of pop melodicism injected – is especially aggressive or even his performance. It’s because his fans – jammed into the small underground space – were intent on creating bedlam and he was perfectly happy to soundtrack it, and woe to anyone who was so unfortunate as to be up front innocently trying to take some pictures. But besides being kicked in the head by a crowdsurfer and mashed into the stage ad nauseum, it wasn’t really that bad – I’ve been in worse – and for the most part it was just people having fun. Amidst material that I presume was from his latest record Melted, we got a cover of Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and the kids going nuts somehow managed to find another gear. Fun times, nothing broken, night one finis.

Photos: Ty Segall @ The Seahorse Tavern – October 20, 2010
MP3: Ty Segall – “It #1”
Video: Ty Segall – “Finger”
Video: Ty Segall – “Lovely One”
Video: Ty Segall – “Cents”

Spinner has a profile on the Halifax Pop Explosion.

For Folk’s Sake and Blast interview Dan Mangan. He plays Trinity-St. Paul’s on October 28.

NOW talks to both halves of the Diamond Rings/PS I Love You bill playing the Garrison on Tuesday, while eye features just PS I Love You.

Crystal Castles have a date at the Sound Academy on April 2.

Video: Crystal Castles – “Baptism”

The National have released a video for the version of “Terrible Love” that appears on the deluxe edition of High Violet which is coming November 22.

Video: The National – “Terrible Love” (alternate version)

The Line Of Best Fit talks to The Joy Formidable; their forthcoming debut The Big Roar is out in early 2011 and they kick off a North American tour on November 3 at the Horseshoe.

Laura Marling tells NME that she no longer intends to release a second album in 2010 but will instead finish off new material early next year and release that instead. Which is fine, but one hopes that at least some of the material that was recorded alongside I Speak Because I Can will eventually see the light of day in some form.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Young Believers

Canadian Musicfest 2010 preview and recommendations

Photo By Ryan Edward MillerRyan Edward MillerCanadian Musicfest 2010 is almost upon us, and while some of my blog brethren have offered their suggestions of what to see by way of their own schedules, I’m going to take a more free-form approach because following my own schedule will probably not yield the optimal experience. Logistics and workloads, not to mention still needing to get my act together for SxSW the following week, are keeping my plans relatively limited in scope but if none of that was a concern, then here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what I can endorse or would at least be curious about – above and beyond what I’ve mentioned in past posts – without concern for how you’d get across the city in 15 minutes without aid of a jetpack.

Wednesday: Canadian Musicfest (and Canadian Music Week) have traditionally been Thursday-Friday-Saturday affairs, but this year they’ve done a pretty good job of making Wednesday more than a token addition to the schedule. No, there’s not as much slated to go for hump day, but if you’ve got a wristband and are looking to maximize it, there’s more than a few options.

Spirits (Bread & Circus @ 10PM) – These ’80s-inflected Hamiltonian synth-rockers can legitimately say that they had Pixies open up for them – the alt.rock legends used a Spirits show as a cover for their secret show prior to V Fest last year. And beyond that, they’ve got some pretty slick new wave/new romantic moves of their own.
Video: Spirits – “Forbidden Flame”

Fucked Up (The El Mocambo @ 1AM) – The reigning Polaris winners are much too big to play the El Mo anymore – but they’re gonna do it anyways. Chaos (and nudity) is pretty much guaranteed. Exclaim has an exclusive on where they’re going on their next record.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba (Painted Lady @ 10PM) – This hotly-tipped, harmony-laden folk outfit wins over more and more fans with each performance, so catching them in intimate environs such as this while you can is recommended.
MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Bluebirds”

Styrofoam Ones (The Roosevelt Room @ 9PM) – I used to play in a band with Styrofoam Ones’ drummer. He certainly gets to play louder/faster/harder with these post-punk/dance-rockers than he did with us.
MySpace: Styrofoam Ones

Thursday: Yeah, you’ll have to work in the morning but really – who gets anything done on a Friday? Really? You do? So it’s just me? Huh.

Forest City Lovers (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – One of the cities finest folk-pop bands just finished recording their third record and are about to head off to their first SxSW. To say they’ll be at the very top of their game is an understatement.
Video: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”

The Darcys (The El Mocambo @ 11PM) – Despite some major recent lineup changes, their forthcoming Murray Lightburn-produced album Young Believers should introduce a much larger audience to their unpredictable guitar-laden epics. Also playing at Sneaky Dee’s on Saturday at 3PM. Read an interview at The Brock Press.
MP3: The Darcys – “House Built Around Your Voice”

And So I Watch You From Afar (The Hideout @ 1AM) – Belfast instrumental post-rockers eschew the quiet-quiet-quiet-LOUD-LOUD-LOUD thing for something more lively and melodic than many of their more bombastic peers.
MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

Neon Indian (Lee’s Palace @ 10:30PM) – Okay, mostly this is curiosity as to what all the fuss is about. Chillwave? What? Really? And the kids are into this, you say?
MP3: Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer”

Dinosaur Bones (The Silver Dollar @ 10PM) – These guys have come a long way since I last saw them in August 2008 – or so it would seem, as I’ve done a lousy job of following up on them since them. But people are talking about their grand and moody rock and they’re clearly on the cusp of something.
Video: Dinosaur Bones – “Ice Hotels”

First Rate People (The Garrison @ 9PM) – Mysterious and apparently big in Owen Sound, there’s something undeniably compelling about their synthesis of old school Motown soul, electronic cut-and-paste aesthetic and indie rock earnestness. Plus The National’s Matt Berninger is apparently a fan. Also playing Sneaky Dee’s on Friday at 3AM.
MP3: First Rate People – “Girls’ Night”

Friday: I’ll be camping out the whole night at Lee’s Palace for my co-presented showcase with Billions and would certainly think you wise if you did the same, but if you’re inclined to see what else is out there, maybe add these to your list.

Hannah Georgas (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – Could this Vancouverite be the next in Canada’s long, proud tradition of terrific female singer-songwriters? From what I’ve heard from her and about her, I wouldn’t bet against it.
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Thick Skin”

Old World Vulture (Neutral Lounge @ 11PM) – Despite giving them a thumbs up at the end of last year, I haven’t yet gotten to see/hear/feel their intense post-rock action in a live setting yet. Operative word “yet”.
MP3: Old World Vulture – “Benny”

PS I Love You (The Silver Dollar @ 12AM) – I’d like to say it didn’t take Pitchfork rave to put something from almost by own backyard on my radar… but it did. And as embarrassing as that may be, I thank them for it.
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Phantogram (Supermarket @ 1AM) – The were here just a few weeks ago, but they were awesome and deserve another “hey go see these guys they’re awesome”. So go see these guys they’re awesome.
MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

Saturday: It’s kind of odd that the biggest show happening during Canadian Musicfest isn’t associated with Canadian Musicfest, but the first part of Saturday night will be spent at the Phoenix to see Joanna Newsom. Happily, it’s an early show so after that there’ll still be time to catch some or all of these.

The Brother Kite (Rancho Relaxo @ 10PM) – I’m so very excited that Rhode Island’s finest guitar-pop band are coming back to Toronto and that I’ll finally be here to greet them – their last album Waiting For the Time To Be Right remains one of my favourites of the past decade and the follow-up, Isolation, is finally being prepared for release. If there’s any show this week that I will put the “don’t miss” label on, it’s this one.
Video: The Brother Kite – “I’m Not The Only One”

Yukon Blonde (The Horseshoe @ 8:30PM) – Yeah, the Horseshoe is always jam-packed from the moment doors open and this year will be no different, but at least the first band is definitely worth seeing. Lots of people like to call Yukon Blonde “classic” rock. I prefer to think of it as timeless – big guitars and harmonies never really go out of style.
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”

Gemma Ray (Painted Lady @ 11PM) – This Brit’s swaggering, throwback guitar pop ranges from dark noir to folky light. I think I’ve been meaning to see her live for some time – too bad I’m unlikely to catch either this showcase or her other one at The Silver Dollar on Friday night at 10PM.
MP3: Gemma Ray – “100 mph in 2nd Gear”

Revolvers (The Comfort Zone @ 9PM) – Hazy, vintage-tinged psychedelic garage rock that doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table – almost nothing, actually – but it still done well enough that if you’re into it, you won’t care.
Video: Revolvers – “Rock Y Roll”

Whew. Obviously there’s loads else going on through the weekend, but hopefully if you’re looking for somewhere to start, the above will offer some ideas.

And elsewhere in Canadian music… Spinner has words with The Russian Futurists – they’re playing the aforementioned Billions/Chromewaves show at Lee’s Palace on Friday night.

Chart chats with Amos The Transparent, playing the Horseshoe on Thursday night at 9:20.

Canadian Interviews talks to Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. They play the Horseshoe on March 13.

Spinner catches up with Woodhands, playing the Opera House on March 11 and the Paper Bag/Chromewaves showcase at SxSW on March 18.

Spinner checks in with Holy Fuck.

The Portland Mercury has an interview with Basia Bulat.

Spinner asks Owen Pallett to list off his favourite video games. And no, none of the Final Fantasy titles make the list. Pallett plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.