Posts Tagged ‘Those Darlins’

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012


New Order get ready for live return to North America

Photo By Kevin CumminsKevin CumminsThere are two points about New Order that are difficult to dispute.

a) They were one of the greatest bands of the ’80s, whose run of albums from 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies through 1989’s Technique and including 1987’s singles collection Substance templated and led that which we’d call indie, New Wave, post-punk, dance-rock, electronica, and were massively commercially successful at the same time. Their legacy is deep and far-reaching and even after their heyday, when roster changes and internal bickering overshadowed their music, they still managed to include at least one amazing song per otherwise uneven record that reminded you of why they mattered.

b) They were lousy live. Okay, that’s a deliberately polemic statement, especially for someone who’s never seen them live, but any live footage I’ve seen or heard has been some degree of cringe-worthy and in my years of being a fan, that’s always seemed the consensus opinion. Their official BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert album, which captured their 1087 Glastonbury set – which is to say the recording that they deemed good enough to release and sell – shone a bright light on Bernard Sumner’s inability to sing live. His voice is thin, off-key, and on this recording at least, punctuated with whoops and yelps that also manage to be way out of pitch. His shortcomings as a vocalist are evident on the albums as well, but what’s passable in a studio is decidedly less so amplified to stadium levels. Some of this was certainly due to some of the chemical accouterments of the era, but online footage from more recent shows don’t demonstrate much improvement.

So it’s all well and good to focus on point a) with the news yesterday that the band – who were supposed to have broken up for good back in 2009 but who’ve turned a handful of one-off gigs into a proper ongoing concern that now includes a North American tour that wraps in Toronto on October 23 at the Sony Centre, their first time here since Summer 2001, when they were part of Moby’s Area One tour at The Docks. Purists will rightly point out that it’s not really New Order without Peter Hook – he quit the band in decidedly acrimonious fashion in 2007 – but they’ve got keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, who quit circa 2005’s Waiting For The Siren’s Call, back in the fold so they’ve still got three out of four original members – better than many bands out on the nostalgia circuit.

Ticket information is still forthcoming, but considering it won’t be cheap, it may be worth giving some thought to point b) before putting your cash on the barrelhead. But then, of course, you’ll imagine hearing “Blue Monday” live and it’ll be a done deal. That’s fine, nothing wrong with celebrating the songs more than the performance. I’ll probably be there too.

Video: New Order – “Blue Monday”
Video: New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle”
Video: New Order – “Regret”

When Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet mentioned at their Lee’s Palace show a couple weeks ago that they were going to be playing at The Cameron House in August, I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or making a joke. turns out he was serious. Exclaim reports that the band will play a benefit double-header at the tiny Queen West venue on August 12 with proceeds from the early show going to Mindfulness Without Borders and the late show benefitting Hospice Toronto. Tickets are $20 and go on sale July 28 at the Cameron House – and maybe this time they’ll have copies of Savvy Show Stoppers to sell.

MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”

Boston post-rock veterans Caspian will be at The Horseshoe on September 10 in support of their new record Waking Season, out later this Fall. Tickets are $10.50 in advance.

Trailer: Caspian / Waking Season

With a new record in Nocturne out on August 28 and now more a proper band than a pseudonym for Jack Tatum’s solo project, Wild Nothing are teaming up with New York’s DIIV – themselves no strangers to the art of being buzzy – for a Fall tour that brings them to The Great Hall on September 18, tickets $15.50 in advance. Alibi talks to Wild Nothing’s Tatum while Spin talks favourite things with DIIV leader Zachary Cole Smith.

MP3: Wild Nothing – “Nowhere”
MP3: DIIV – “Sometime”

Leeds’ Alt-J will release their debut album An Awesome Wave Stateside on September 18 and as part of their Fall tour to support it, will be in town at Wrongbar on September 19; tickets are $13 in advance. Gigwise has an interview with the band.

MP3: Alt-J – “Tessalate”
MP3: Alt-J – “Matilda”

The Antlers are marking the release today of their new Undersea EP with the announcement of a show at The Great Hall on September 25, tickets $21.50 in advance. It’s almost certainly part of a full tour, but the rest of the dates are still forthcoming. While you wait, you can hear the whole mini-album on their Facebook for the price of a ‘like’.

MP3: The Antlers – “Drift Dive”
Stream: The Antlers / Undersea

Not that they should need any help selling out The Phoenix, but Crocodiles have been announced as support for The Afghan Whigs’ October 3 show at The Phoenix. Their Endless Flowers came out last month. Remaining tickets for the show are $35.

MP3: Crocodiles – “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)”

The powers that be won’t say what or when with regards to head New Pornographer Carl Newman putting his A.C. Newman solo cap back on, but they have confirmed a third solo record exists, will be out this Fall, and he’ll be touring in support. That kicks off October 21 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $16.50.

MP3: A.C. Newman – “Submarines Of Stockholm”

Josh Tillman must like life on the road – having just made his Father John Misty debut here back in May and returning in support of Youth Lagoon last week, he’s announced an extensive Fall tour what brings him back for the third show in five months, hitting Lee’s Palace on October 27 with La Sera opening up. Tickets are $14.50 in advance. There’s a Father John Misty interview and session at The Alternate Side and a short interview at Melbourne Times Weekly.

MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
MP3: La Sera – “Please Be My Third Eye”

Their support duties for Best Coast done with, Those Darlins are free to announce another return to town, hitting The Garrison on October 30, tickets $12.50 in advance. They’re featured in pieces at Miami New Times and The Augusta Chronicle.

MP3: Those Darlins – “Red Light Love”

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Much More Than That

Review of Sharon Van Etten’s Because I Was In Love

Photo By Michael PalmieriMichael PalmieriWhen I wrote up Sharon Van Etten’s debut album Because I Was In Love back in October, I felt a bit bad about giving it just a passing mention as I liked it more than just a sentence or two might have implied. But at the time my web hosting was self-destructing and I wanted to get something out there before her local appearance opening for Rain Machine, so a cursory mention it was.

But with there seeming to be even more attention being paid to Van Etten and her record now than when it was initially released back in May 2009, now’s as good a time as any to revisit the album and, at the very least, elaborate a bit more on why it’s worthy of notice – and in a word, it’s the voice. Slow, rich and seemingly operating at the resonant frequency of melancholy and with the texture of tears, it’s the perfect vehicle for her spare, almost skeletal songs of longing and disappointment, transporting them directly through the ears and into the heart. That might seem a bit flowery a description, but I defy you to listen to the “ooohs” in “Much More Than This” and tell me otherwise. That voice, with the languid, low-key acoustic atmosphere and strategically-placed bits of electric guitar and piano make for a record that’s worth revisiting again not only a few months later, but again and again.

Blurt has a feature piece on Van Etten and Weather Vane Music has a stunning new song recorded for their Shaking Through series available to download. Sharon Van Etten opens up the sold out Great Lake Swimmers show at Trinity-St. Paul’s tomorrow night and returns on April 5 for a show at the Horseshoe with Megafaun.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
Video: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MySpace: Sharon Van Etten

The Skinny discusses Shearwater’s new record The Golden Archipelago with frontman Jonathan Meiburg. The record is out February 23, they play Lee’s Palace on April 1.

Midlake’s Eric Pulido talks to The Quietus about coffee while his bandmates discuss their music with BBC6 and The Independent.

Spoon are using a live studio performance for the first video off Transference. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29.

Video: Spoon – “Written In Reverse”

PitchforkTV has padded out their special video series with Beach House with a few more songs and The Chronicle-Herald and New York Magazine have interviews. They’re at the Opera House on March 30.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow have put out a new video from their forthcoming Nighttime Rainbows EP, out March 2. They play The Garrison on April 2.

Video: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “So Bloody, So Tight”

Beatroute, North County Times and The Georgia Straight talk to St. Vincent, who just released a new video/comedy sketch from Actor, featuring the thespian skills of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, also known as ThunderAnt.

Video: St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”

Paste has got a video session with Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea.

BeatRoute talks to Nels Cline of Wilco.

MusicOmn, The Line Of Best Fit, Montreal Mirror, Montreal Gazette, The Advocate, CBC, eye and NOW have conversations with Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, who are in town at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday night. There’s also an official trailer up for Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt & The Magnetic Fields, the forthcoming documentary film on the band, and an MP3 from the 69 Love Songs vinyl box set, coming out on April 20. And for folks in Toronto looking to pick this up, Criminal Records has got your best deal as far as pre-orders of the limited edition go.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “The Book Of Love”
Trailer: Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt & The Magnetic Fields

Paste gets some info on She & Him’s Volume Two, out March 23, from Zooey Deschanel.

Good news for Toronto roots-rock fans – in addition to their free show at the Horseshoe this coming Tuesday night, Those Darlins have slated a return engagement on April 6 at the same venue with Deer Tick. Bad news is that’s the same night as the Drive-By Truckers’ gig at Lee’s Palace. Good news is that the Truckers are doing a second night at the same venu on the 7th. Unless you were planning on hitting both, in which case I think you break about even.

MP3: Deer Tick – “Easy”
MP3: Those Darlins – “Red Light Live”

Speaking of the Drive-By Truckers, Billboard talks to frontman Patterson Hood about their new record The Big To-Do, which will be out March 16.

The Jon Spencer-powered Heavy Trash have a date at the Horseshoe on April 23. Their latest Midnight Soul Serenade came out last year.

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Spirit Guides

Evening Hymns and The Harbour Coats at The Tranzac in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Bellwoods crew is certainly setting a high standard when it comes to set dressings. Thanks to them, I’ve now attended shows in the heart of a volcano, an exploding library in the sky and as of this past Friday night, a heavily wooded lumberjack camp. In reality, it was the Tranzac and the occasion was the record release party for Evening Hymns’ new album Spirit Guides; a grand and gauzey statement of gospel-inflected folk-rock which is quite highly-regarded around these parts.

Support for the night came from The Harbour Coats, who on most occasions are a miniature Canadian super-group of sorts with members of Constantines, Snailhouse and Evening Hymns principal Jonas Bonnetta but on this night, due to logistical issues, were just frontman Bry Webb and an acoustic guitar and his own And if the oft-repeated reference point for Constantines is a heavier Springsteen, then Harbour Coats is a nod to the Boss’ more stripped-down side. Decked out head to toe in blue Christmas lights, Webb turned in a short set of tunes rich with images of the Canadian north and proving that he was as compelling and charismatic a songwriter a performer outside the Cons as he was with them.

At one point in the set, Jonas Bonnetta mentioned that this was pretty much his first-ever headlining show and for the occasion, he did it up right. Enlisting many/most of the contributors who played on Spirit Guides, Evening Hymns ranged from Bonnetta solo to a stage-filling 10-piece band including members of The Wooden Sky, Ohbijou, The Magic and The D’Urbervilles as well as a couple of his own siblings. And though all the parts were in place to recreate the expansive beauty of Spirit Guides – the stage even looked the part of the record’s rustic aesthetic – it would prove to more a question of chemistry than mathematics.

Though the show began strongly and remained so as the band’s numbers ebbed and flowed, at one point leaving Bonnetta to perform solo for a few numbers from his first record Farewell To Harmony, to my ears they weren’t quite managing to capture the ineffable specialness of the recorded work. And there’s no shame in that – to catch lightning in a bottle once and commit it to tape is a feat, to be able to do it again and on demand is asking a lot. But as the show progressed, it became evident that things were starting to coalesce and by the time the band’s numbers swelled for what was clearly the climax of the show, for which they’d wisely saved the record’s biggest moments, they were sounding like something much greater than the sum of its parts, in the same way that Spirit Guides is much more than the sum of its influences and reference points. As if cued by the bold organ of “Tumultuous Sea”, the show found a new level and through the encore and its gloriously jubilant readings of “Broken Rifle” and “Mtn. Song”, all crashing chords, thundering percussion and choral vocals, it was finally everything it could have been.

With so many of the record’s performers involved with other bands, it’s a bit difficult to envision how they could take this record on the road and do it the same sort of justice they did on this evening. This is not to say it can’t be just as effective and affecting with a different configuration, and I’m sure that however they end up taking it on tour, even if it’s just Bonnetta solo, it will be its own kind of special but I’m pretty pleased to have been able to witness it with the original cast, so to speak.

Soundproof and The Vancouver Sun have interviews with Bonnetta and London Burgeoning Metropolis, another review of the show.

Photos: Evening Hymns, The Harbour Coats @ The Tranzac – December 4, 2009
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Cedars”
MySpace: Evening Hymns

NXEW is offering a free seasonal download from Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

Great Lake Swimmers have posted up a set of live videos entitled The Legion Session. They play Trinity-St. Paul’s on February 6.

Thrasher’s Wheat is hosting a stream of the new Neil Young live record Dreamin’ Man, featuring live performances of all of Harvest Moon, out tomorrow.

Stream: Neil Young / Dreamin’ Man Live ’92

In addition to playing the Constantines’ 10th anniversary shows at Lee’s Palace on December 12, Oneida will play an in-store across the street at Sonic Boom at 4PM with what they’re calling an “improvised set”.

MP3: Oneida – “I Will Haunt You”
MP3: Oneida – “Saturday”
MP3: Oneida – “What’s Up Jackal”

American Songwriter talks to Canadian landed immigrant songwriter Joe Pernice.

Country-rockabilly-bluegrass-punk-whatever trio Those Darlins will bring their debut self-titled album to the Horsesehoe on February 9.

MP3: Those Darlins – “Red Light Love”

Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes talks to Pitchfork about how and where things are going with album number two.

Swear I’m Not Paul interviews Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers and learns they’ll be releasing two new albums in 2010 – a rocker called The Big To Do, presumably out first around February, and a “R&B Murder Ballad album” entitled Go Go Boots due out later in the year. There’s also features at Charleston City Paper and Charleston Daily Mail (I think the band might have just played in Charleston).

Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell talks hometowns with Spinner. They’re currently in Los Angeles working on their third record.

Cat Power tells The Courier-Mail that she’s working on a new record and the one that was reportedly done and ready to go, entitled The Sun, has been shelved.