Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Underground’

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

"Oh! Sweet Nuthin'"

Bry Webb & Casey Mecija cover The Velvet Underground

Image via friendsinbellwoods.comfriendsinbellwoods.comI suppose you can be forgiven if the names above are unfamiliar at first glance, but if you don’t recognize either of Bry Webb or Casey Mecija’s day jobs as frontpersons for Constantines and Ohbijou respectively, then you must be new and not from around here. Welcome, sit a spell. The Cons’ white-knuckle, blue-collar rock and Ohbijou’s sweeping orch-pop don’t have much in common, stylistically, but on this Velvet Underground cover, Webb’s hard-living rasp and Mecija’s honeyed voice come together like the most natural thing in the world, turning the last song on the last proper Velvet’s album into a delectable duet.

The track appeared on the first Friends In Bellwoods compilation, released in the early part of 2007 as a fundraising effort for Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank and not only did it succeed admirably in that – over $11,000 has been raised to date – it also served as a time capsule of a period when a new wave of up-and-coming acts based in and around Toronto were set to make their mark on the local, national and for some, international stage. And since that went over so well, they’ve done it again – Friends In Bellwoods 2 will be released this week with an even more stellar lineup of talent collaborating and contributing songs to the double-CD set. The release shows for the collection started last week but the parties go this coming weekend – Friday night at Lee’s Palace with Ohbijou, Bocce, Forest City Lovers and Evening Hymns and then all day Saturday at the Tranzac with many of the artists on the album playing short sets.

A few of the songs from the new comp were previewed last week and Exclaim is streaming Ohbijou’s contribution to the record. Ohbijou talks to Metro about the Friends In Bellwoods project.

MP3: Bry Webb & Casey Mecija – “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'”
Stream: The Velvet Underground – “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'”

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Milk And Honey

Review of Wye Oak's The Knot

Photo By Dan StackDan StackI quite literally swooned when I first heard Baltimore duo Wye Oak via “Warning”, the first promo MP3 from their debut album If Children in January 2008 – for a completely unknown band to hit all the right buttons for me at first listen was a pretty remarkable thing. And yet the album itself failed to build on that excitement for no one particular reason.

Best I can reason is that while the ingredients of their sound – plaintive country-folking hurt mixed with crashing, ‘gazey guitars and droning synth tones, topped with Jenn Wasser’s aching vocals – seem tailor-made to trigger my endorphin receptors, the record seemed too hesitant to really connect. It was like the band felt like a couple of kids suddenly invited to the grown-up’s table, and were a bit overwhelmed by it all. Which, for a pair of musicians barely into their twenties suddenly signed to one of America’s top independent labels, they essentially were.

And so when I heard “Take It In”, the achingly gorgeous promo MP3 from their second album and again swooned, I wasn’t sure whether that would carry over to The Knot, out this week, as a whole. Short answer – it does, and quite heartily. The Knot is a much bigger album than its predecessor. Sonically, the louds are much louder, the quiets much quieter and the textures richer and more varied – and emotionally, the highs more ecstatic and the lows more despairing. The reluctance that permeated If Children has largely been replaced with a greater confidence, and while it may be true that The Knot still drifts in points towards the monochromatic, there’s no question that it marks a big step forward for the band and begins to deliver on their immense promise. Wye Oak are at the grown-ups table because they belong there.

The Baltimore Sun has a feature piece on the band. There’s no local date at the moment but their tour itinerary takes them through the US, across to Europe and back again in the Fall. I saw them >at SxSW last year and while they don’t have immense onstage charisma, it’s amazing to watch Andy Stack work both the drums and keyboards simultaneously. I recommend catching them if they’re in your neck of the woods.

MP3: Wye Oak – “Take It In”
Stream: Wye Oak / The Knot
MySpace: Wye Oak

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, who probably quite sensibly records simply as Mirah, will be at the Mod Club on October 6 in support of her new record (a)spera with ex-Decemberists Norfolk & Western.

Here’s an odd pairing – the stately folk-rock of Grand Archives and the ADD-prog hijinks of The Most Serene Republic. But paired they are for a North American tour that will be at the Mod Club in Toronto on October 15. Grand Archives’ new album Keep In Mind Frankenstein is out September 8, The Most Serene Republic’s …And The Ever-Expanding Universe is out now. The National Post has an interview with Milton’s finest.

MP3: Grand Archives – “Silver Among The Gold”
Video: The Most Serene Republic – “The Old Forever New Things”

Metric have set a live date on October 20 at Massey Hall with The Stills as support. That is a looooong way from their September 2003 show at the Horseshoe where they didn’t even bother with advance tickets.

A Place To Bury Strangers are making their musical manifesto very clear with the title of their second album – Exploding Head is due out October 6 and will be their first for Mute Records. They’ve already lined up a Fall tour to promote, including an October 27 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. They’re changing up dance partners all the while they’re on the road, but that show will feature Dead Confederate and All The Saints as support.

The Phoenix has a feature piece on Wheat, who have released a new video from White Ink Black Ink. I’m still giving a copy of the album away – come and get it.

Video: Wheat – “Changes Is”

Beatroute talks to Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo.

Frank Black tells Music Radar that “As far as any new Pixies records, I’m literally in the dark,” so anyone flocking to Virgin Festival at Burl’s Creek on August 29 had best be prepared to only hear the classics. Try to contain your disappointment.

Magnet does the over-under with The Velvet Underground’s catalog.

And oh yeah, this was news to me so it might be news to you; that free Dears show at Harbourfront this Sunday is a matinee show – they’re on the Sirius Stage at 3PM. And Laura Barrett is on the Redpath Stage at 4:30PM, since you’ll already be there.