Posts Tagged ‘Suckers’

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011


Mates Of State proclaim cuteness from Mountaintops

Photo via FacebookFacebookSometimes I wonder if Mates Of State get tired of being described with various synonyms for “adorable”, but if so they’ve no one to blame but themselves. Rather than release the black metal opus we all know they have in them, the husband-and-wife duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel continue releasing records of irresistibly sweet and catchy drum-and-organ power pop, a trend that seems set to continue with the September 13 release of Mountaintops, their first album of original material since 2008’s Re-Arrange Us; last year’s Crushes was a more than satisfying stopgap of cover versions.

The band have just released a video for the first single from Mountaintops and surprise surprise, both the tune and the clip are totes adorbs, and they’ve also announced a North American tour that rather ably covers the eastern half of the continent. The Toronto date, their first visit since kicking off the final V Fest in 2009, comes September 28 at The Phoenix with Suckers and Yawn as support – tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Mates Of State – “Maracas”

Ra Ra Riot will make their pretty much annual Fall visit to Toronto on October 6 with a show at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.50 in advance. They’re also featured in a Bandstand Busking session doing their thing on London’s South Bank.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

The Wooden Birds have released a new video for the title track of their second album Two Matchsticks. Revue and College Times talk to frontman Andrew Kenny, who leads the band into the Drake Underground on July 10.

Video: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”

Also with a new video is Justin Townes Earle, taken from Harlem River Blues. Interview, The Calgary Herald and Reno Gazette-Journal have interviews with Earle, who will be at The Horseshoe on August 26.

Video: Justin Townes Earle – “Slippin’ & Slidin'”

The Kills have a new clip from Blood Pressures.

Video: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”

NPR has premiered the new video taken from DeVotchKa’s latest 100 Lovers.

Video: DeVotchKa – “The Man From San Sebastian”

Explosions In The Sky have released their first-ever video, taken from this year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. They play the Sound Academy on October 7.

Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Last Known Surroundings”

Wye Oak, who are opening up that EITS show, are featured in an acoustic video session at The Fly. There’s also interviews over at Glasswerk and Spoonfed.

The Santa Barbara Independent talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR, Exclaim and JAM have feature pieces on Bon Iver, in town at The Sound Academy on August 8.

In the wake of their second Solid Sound Festival, Wilco have given their next album a name – The Whole Love – and both sides of their new 7″ comprising a new tune and a Nick Lowe cover are streaming around the internet, like at Exclaim. No release date more specific than this Fall has been announced yet. Update: And now it has – album out September 27, North American tour starts a couple weeks earlier with two nights at Massey Hall September 16 and 17. Details and album art at Exclaim.

Amy Klein of Titus Andronicus interviews tourmate Lauren Gurgiolo of Okkervil River for her own blog. The Georgia Straight and San Jose Mercury News chat with Okkervil frontman Will Sheff. catches up with Lauren Larseon of Ume, who release their new album Phantoms, due out August 30.

Blurt and NPR have interviews with Will Johnson of Centro-Matic about their new record Candidate Waltz. You can hear one of the new songs below and head over to IFC for an interview and the premiere of their new video.

MP3: Centro-Matic – “Only In My Double Mind”
Video: Centro-Matic – “Iso-Residue”

The Quietus has a stream and track-by-track annotation of Memory Tapes’ new record Player Piano, due out July 5. They play Wrongbar on August 13.

Writers On Process gets into the songwriting head of Interpol frontman Paul Banks.

Wayne Coyne discusses the many ongoing projects in Flaming Lips-land with The Quietus.

The Phoenix and Spinner talk Bug with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. PhillyBurbs gets a word with Lou Barlow.

The AV Club and New York Magazine interview Bob Mould. Which makes this as good a time to mention that Sugar’s Copper Blue was just reissued on 180g vinyl. This record is essential, people.

NYC Taper is getting their old-school indie rock on, offering recordings of recent New York shows from Guided By Voices and Archers Of Loaf.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Percussion Gun

White Rabbits, Suckers and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhite Rabbits have got it covered in the name-dropping department. Via TBD Records, they’re labelmates with a little British outfit called Radiohead and their critically-hailed second album It’s Frightening was produced by Britt Daniel, who sometimes moonlights in a band popular in some circles called Spoon. Yeah, the Brooklyn sextet have got plenty of ammo for cocktail parties, but it doesn’t necessarily tell you much about their actual music, does it.

Well the Britt Daniel part does, somewhat. It’s Frightening certainly borrows from Spoon’s dry, lean and punchy aesthetic and frontman Stephen Patterson’s voice does have a familiarly hoarse, wound-up quality, but dismiss them as Spoon-alikes at your peril. Not, like, “mortal danger” peril but “you’re missing out on a pretty great record” peril. Frightening kicks off with “Percussion Gun”, an intense bit of truth in advertising powered by the thundering tribal attack of the band’s dual drummers – one on a conventional kit, the other tasked with exponentially increasing the impact via big-ass toms. Add in Patterson’s aggressive piano (piano can indeed be aggressive) and howling vox and you’ve got not only one of the best opening tracks on any album this year, but maybe one of the best singles and videos. Translation, it’s impossible to not want to hear more of the record after that first salvo. And while It’s Frightening never quite reaches those heights again, it takes those same elements that make “Percussion Gun” such a blast and turns it into an undeniably solid record that crackles with energy that you just know would translate fantastically on stage. Toronto finally got a chance to find out if that was true on Saturday night when the band made their Hogtown debut at the Horseshoe with fellow Brooklyners Suckers in tow.

Rounding out the bill and providing the local flavour were recent The Balconies, recently transplanted from Ottawa and already becoming live fixtures and certainly one of the better/best new bands in the city. They again proved this to be true with their opening set, showcasing their terrific energy, razor-wire hooky tunes and the dueling sibling vocals of Jacqui and Steve Neville. Though there were a couple technical and performance flubs, I’d still put this performance as even better than when I saw them in August in terms of delivery and charisma, implying that as good as they already are they’re just going to get better. And that’s a scary thing. Find out for yourself at their next local gig on November 5, again at the Horseshoe, opening up for Dog Day and Immaculate Machine.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Suckers for months – mostly in a breathless, “oh my god, have you heard?” context – but had managed to not familiarize myself with them right up until the quartet took the stage. And after they left, I wasn’t grabbing people around me at random, breathlessly asking, “oh my god have you heard Suckers?” because, well, if they were right there then they would have, but I was pretty impressed. To say they have a lot going on is an understatement – all four are multi-instrumentalists, changing up instruments between guitars, electronics, percussion and brass, often in the same song, and taking turns with their distinct vocals or harmonizing in a way that probably shouldn’t work but sounds fantastic regardless. And that sentiment largely applied to their music at large – a collision of sounds and styles ranging from rock to soul to pyschedelia to gospel that by rights, should be a multi-car pileup but instead becomes a ballet. Not everything they did tickled my ear, but it did make a unique impression.

To answer the earlier posed question, yes indeed, the energy of It’s Frightening does indeed come to life on stage – and then some. Their set was pretty much a non-stop barrel ride through their two records, delivered with ferocious energy and no small amount of sweat. The band’s precision and rhythmic power was astonishing and watching them perform gave an even greater appreciation for the band’s musicianship. In particular, guitarist Gregory Roberts should get more credit for his vocal contributions (or maybe he already does, just not from me) and his ability to double Patterson’s leads or harmonize, depending on what’s needed – it may seem like just another cog in a complex musical machine, but it’s really a crucial element. And Patterson, even seated at an electric travel upright piano (not just a keyboard) as he was for most of the set, managed to inject a lot of physicality in his performance and while unable to match his bandmates’ stage wanderings, did get to partake in some instrument swapping in strapping a guitar on for a couple of tunes. As expected, “Percussion Gun” closed out the main set was the highlight of the night, putting the crowd into mosh mode for a few minutes. I wouldn’t even say that it was a conscious decision, but as most were already in a constant state of dancing/bobbing from the insistent rhythms, when hit with the big song, there was only one place to go – into the people around them. The band returned for a couple more songs and called it a night, closing out a tremendously solid night of rock. Add the band’s first show in Toronto to the list of things they can brag about t their next cocktail party., Fazer, St. Louis Today and Seizure Chicken have interviews with White Rabbits.

Photos: White Rabbits, Suckers, The Balconies @ The Horsesehoe – October 24, 2009
MP3: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
MP3: White Rabbits – “Kid On My Shoulders”
MP3: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun” (live on MySpace Transmissions)
MP3: White Rabbits – “Rudie Fails” (live on MySpace Transmissions)
MP3: Suckers – “It Gets Your Body Movin'”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
Video: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
Video: Suckers – “Easy Chairs”
MySpace: White Rabbits

Thanks go out to The Indie Files and Hero Hill for bringing to my attention Worauf wartest du?, a collaboration between Albertan folk singer Rae Spoon and German electronic artist Alexandre Decoupigny which is available to download – presumably with artists approval – over here. And also exciting is the news that Rae Spoon is undertaking a tour of eastern Canada starting in November with a stop at the Rivoli on November 11. You may recall I was quite taken with Spoon’s latest Superioryouareinferior – quite looking forward to seeing him live.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Come On Forest Fire Burn The Disco Down”

More dispatches in song form from Woodpigeon, currently in the middle of their residency at the Banff Centre. Die Stadt Muzikanten is due out January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Under, Behind & Between”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Whole Body Shakes”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Summer Side Of Life” (Gordon Lightfoot cover)

Gentleman Reg is putting out a new EP this Fall entitled Heavy Head. The six songs will be released digitally, two at a a time grouped by theme (covers, b-sides, remixes), starting on November 10 and be available as a complete package as of December 1. The Ontarion has an interview with Reg, who plays the Opera House in support of The Hidden Cameras on December 5.

Great Lake Swimmers will play a special benefit show for War Child on November 5 at the Dakota Tavern, the very thing Sloan did at the same venue just last week. Tickets are $35 and available at Maple Music. They play a regular show at Trinity-St Paul’s on February 6 of next year.

NPR, Cleveland Scene and The San Francisco Chronicle talk to Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard about their Kerouac project One Fast Move or I’m Gone, which is streaming at NPR.

Stream: Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard / One Fast Move or I’m Gone

Billboard talks to Gibbard’s Death Cab For Cutie bandmate Chris Walla about their contribution to the New Moon soundtrack.

Paste and Entertainment Weekly have interviews with The Swell Season. Strict Joy is out tomorrow and they play Massey Hall on November 2.

Apparently having still not paid off their ridiculous stage setup, U2 are extending their world tour and will be hitting Toronto for the third time in less than a year on July 3 at the Rogers Centre. Tickets on sale November 2.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

NY-San Anton

Cinema Red & Blue and The Ladybug Transistor at The Cake Shop in New York

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust to be clear: I had absolutely no intention of going to any shows this past weekend whilst in New York City. Yes, I checked to see what was playing over the long weekend and certainly would have hit something up if it were appealing, but taking a break from standing around in Toronto clubs till the wee hours of the morning by standing around in New York clubs till the wee hours of the morning is not my idea of a vacation. However, a chat with Soundbites on Saturday afternoon and the lack of anything more interesting to do on Saturday night found me – wait for it – standing around in a Lower East Side club till the wee hours of the morning.

The club was The Cake Shop, a venue I’d heard tale of for years but had not set foot in – and which like other fabled NYC clubs of which I’ve recently made the acquaintance of, was much smaller, darker and sweatier than I’d imagined. But they did indeed sell cake. So there’s that. The bill was four deep, the first half of which I missed, but I did arrive in time to see The Ladybug Transistor – a band not all that familiar to me but who came with a pedigree containing the keywords Elephant 6 (a scene with whom they were originally associated), Merge (the label to which they’re signed) and The Essex Green (the band with which they’ve shared many a member). And so while not being familiar with their material, per se, that was more than enough to make me confident that I’d enjoy what they had to offer and indeed I did – sharp, singalong-worthy and handclap-happy retro-styled indie-pop will never go out of style. With a big, lush sound that seemed a bit at odds with the decidedly non-lush environs, The Ladybug Transistor’s set certainly made for a better evening than watching basic cable back at the apartment where I was staying, which probably would have been the evening’s fallback activity.

The night’s headliner was an outfit called Cinema Red & Blue, an offshoot of UK indie cult heroes The Comet Gain involving members of The Ladybug Transistor – for any more detail than that, I refer you to this preview piece at BrooklynVegan. I think I’d heard Comet Gain before and recall being generally unimpressed with their shambolic aesthetic, so it was probably too much to hope that a one-off gig from an under-rehearsed and probably drunk side-project would offer much in the revelation department. And no, it really didn’t. A late start due to a malfunctioning keyboard (always a good idea to wait until show time to discover that the power cord doesn’t work) pretty much set the tone and by the time they got started, they were as sloppy and wobbly as you’d expect. But while that wasn’t my thing, it seemed to be precisely what the fans in attendance wanted and so they all seemed pretty pleased. I stuck around for a little while and quietly excused myself. Sleep beckoned.

Photos: Cinema Red & Blue, The Ladybug Transistor @ The Cake Shop, New York – September 5, 2009
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Three Days From Now”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Splendor In The Grass”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “The Reclusive Hero”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “A Burial At Sea”
MySpace: The Ladybug Transistor

As for the rest of the trip, it was intended to be a little bit shopping excursion, a little bit get the hell out of Toronto and it was a success on both counts. Some clothes and probably unnecessary photo gear to the former, some exploration of Brooklyn, culture at the MoMA and AMNH, excellent eating and hanging out with friends made it a great long weekend and a small but necessary act of salvaging a tiny bit of the Summer. Some photos are up at Flickr if you’re curious.

Apologies to anyone who stopped by Sunday to check out this week’s G’N’R cover only to find, instead of twee-ified Axel, a googly-eyed cat – in my rush to get posts written up and queued for my absence, I forgot to upload the MP3 file. So it’s live now and as a bit of mea culpa, also help yourself to this radio session version of Luna doing the same tune. Also check out the Taken By Trees features at Paste and The Guardian and stream the new album East Of Eden – out today – at Drowned In Sound.

MP3: Taken By Trees – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
MP3: Luna – “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (live)
Stream: Taken By Trees / East Of Eden

Anyone faced with a Joe Pernice-or-The Antlers dilemma for the evening of September 24, rejoice – The Antlers will be playing an in-store at Criminal Records that evening, time TBA. So you – and by “you” I mean “I” – can hit up the in-store first then trek over to the Dakota later that night to see Joe. Unless you had tickets for the Antlers’ show at the Horseshoe that night, in which case you’re on your own with a double-serving of Antlers. There’s a video session with them at LiveDaily while Pernice talks to Spinner about his new record.

Suckers have been added as support for the just-announced White Rabbits gig at the Drake on October 24. I’ve heard almost as many good things about them as I have the headliners – which is a considerable amount – so that gig is probably one not to miss. Check out an MP3 and video and also their Daytrotter session from earlier this Summer.

MP3: Suckers – “It Gets Your Body Movin'”
Video: Suckers – “Easy Chairs”

Former 13th Floor Elevators frontman and general psych-rock legend Roky Erickson has set a rare live date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto for October 28 – tickets $29.50. There’s an interview with Erickson at The Quietus.

Video: The 13th Floor Elevators – “You’re Gonna Miss Me”

The Swell Season, who continue on despite the end of Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s real-life romance, will release their second album Strict Joy on October 27 and follow it up with a Fall tour that includes a date at Massey Hall in Toronto on November 3 – tickets $29.50 to $42.50. Check out a new song from the record courtesy of Spinner and also a few more at a Tiny Desk Concert recorded for NPR.

MP3: The Swell Season – “In These Arms”

If you were wondering if/when The Wooden Sky would play a proper hometown gig rather than rooftop soirees or subterranean in-stores, wonder no longer – they’ll present their excellent new record If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone on a proper stage on November 13 at Lee’s Palace. Tickets $12.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”

And if you’ve been wondering – as I have – what TV is worth downloading this Fall, it’s The AV Club to the rescue. They’ve listed off all the shows they’re going to be covering as the traditional new television season kicks off in the coming weeks, and not a moment too soon. With Weeds over last week and True Blood done this Sunday, I needs new stuff to watch. Though a closer look at their picks shows that our tastes align a little too closely – most of them I already watch or have decided not to watch. Will be following Glee and Bored To Death – anyone have any other suggestions that don’t require catching up on four or five past seasons worth of eps?