Posts Tagged ‘Venus 3’

Monday, February 16th, 2009

A Balloon Called Moaning

An introduction to The Joy Formidable

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo even though I’ve got a mighty backlog of stuff to cover and even though this has been a long weekend (or maybe because), I’ve still not had time to get to any of it properly. So coverage of the past few days worth of showgoing will start tomorrow. For today, you get this. A free album. Which is probably better than my concert reviews.

Welsh trio The Joy Formidable know how to get media attention. Last Summer, they had a video for debut single “Austere” banned from YouTube on account of it being comprised of video clips of people… well, I’d rather not have my site indexed for THOSE particular keywords but even though it was just a fan-made clip, the band gave it their seal of approval by posting it on their own website. And it’s probably NSFW. The band also made an official clip, but it’s far less controversial. And now, they’ve opted to take their debut album A Balloon Called Moaning and give the whole thing away for frees via NME. It was already released in a limited edition box set which sold out in a heartbeat and will be out in physical form tomorrow, but you can have it digitally now.

Now both of these might seem like gimmicky ways to get people talking about the band, but fact is that even without these talking points, The Joy Formidable would be more than worthy of your attention. Its eight tracks veer from dreamy to wide-awake and in-your-face but always maintain a gleeful enthusiasm, propelled on a wave of fuzzy, barbed hooks and snarlingly saccharine vocals. It sounds like a being hit in the face with a sack of sugar. When anyone asks me next week what I did over the long weekend, I’m going to say (and truthfully) that I listened to this record ad nauseum and didn’t tire of it at all. Is that sufficient endorsement to get you to go download and listen? It’s free for goodness sake. Just go get and listen. Thank me later.

Uncensored has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
MySpace: The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable had been listed as one of the acts heading to SxSW next month and surely would have been one of my highlights, but with the release of the official schedule last week, they’re nowhere to be found. Actually, instead of heading to Texas, they’ve opted to go out on a UK tour as support for Howling Bells, another band I was hoping was going to be in Austin. In fact, the entire Sx lineup is looking pretty weak. I know I said the same thing last year around this time and ended up having the best time ever anyways, but there’s going to be a lot of digging to find acts that will get my attention. But on the plus side, I already know how my Saturday night is ending – seeing Echo & The Bunnymen play a gay Texan cowboy bar.

If you missed the numerous edits to last week’s post about Polly Scattergood, allow me to sum up – rather than her debut album being entitled Other Too Endless and being released on March 9, it will now be self-titled and be coming out on May 19. But there’s a new video for the next single, which would have been the title track but is now just a song. A great song.

Video: Polly Scattergood – “Other Too Endless”

Emmy The Great week at Drowned In Sound wrapped up with another set of interviews conducted by Emmy. First off, she talks with Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap and who’s just released a new album in How To Get To Heaven From Scotland. There’s also a piece with Darren Hayman, formerly of Hefner and also with a new solo record in Pram Town, a talk with Mica Levi of Micachu. And to wrap up, a heart-to-heart with Dev Hynes, aka Lightspeed Champion, about the genius of Steve Martin. She also lets Metro have a look at her iPod (though they evidently look at her as they’ve run a picture of Los Campesinos with the piece, and helpfully identify the one of them as Emmy) and gives an interview to Virgin Music.

BBC profile Saint Etienne.

This Is Nottingham talks to Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong. They have two dates at the Kool Haus on March 13 and 14.

The Boston Globe, Boston Music Spotlight, Metro and The Village Voice have interviews with various member of Los Campesinos!, in town at the Opera House on April 1.

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 may be saying Goodnight Oslo on their new album, out tomorrow, but they’ll be saying “hello Mod Club” when they come to town on April 16. Tickets $20.

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

You Are Watching A Programme For Exactly An Hour

Emmy The Great preps First Love, celebrates Hour Of Bauer

Photo By Laine HurleyLaine HurleySo after long, long last we’re less than a month out from the release of Emmy The Great’s debut album First Love. Longtime readers (or anyone who’s been here for the past year) know that I’ve been anxiously awaiting this record for what seems like forever, making do with a makeshift compilation of singles, compilation tracks, demos and live recordings.

But the February 2 release is locked in – it’s already available to pre-order via Rough Trade (with bonus live disc!) and the final tracklisting was recently announced – and I’m pleased that I’m only familiar with six of the 13 tracks, so more than half the record will still be new to me. And I’m also pleased that “24” made the cut – it’s one of my favourite Emmy songs, using the television show as a launching point for a poignant and pointed farewell to a dysfunctional relationship. It’s Emmy at her most mesmerizing, an opinion that puts me completely at odds with this otherwise mostly positive Gigwise review of the album. What can I say, besides that I’m right and he’s wrong.

The MP3 is an audio rip of a videotaped performance from the online program Welcome To Our TV Show, which appeared to be just documents of living room concerts from English artists – watch the Emmy clip (starts at around 1:10) but there’s lots of good stuff to enjoy in the archives.

The Daily Growl has also declared this an Emmy day, and is offering audio rips of a recent BBC session to add to the collection. Which will also bring my percentage of the album’s songs heard up a tad.

MP3: Emmy The Great – “24” (live on Welcome To Our Show, January 2008)
Video: Emmy The Great – “24” (live on Welcome To Our Show, January 2008)

As for the show from which the song draws its inspiration, I justifiably washed my hands of the whole thing after the abominable sixth season but was still persuaded to check out the 24: Redemption TV movie that ran a couple months ago… and it wasn’t bad. Stuck with a two-hour timeline, it was lean and focused and actually pretty engrossing, so I’ll be giving it one more chance when the new season starts up this Sunday night – but it’s on a very, very short leash. The fact that this season is set in DC rather than LA gives hope that the useless mooks from CTU won’t show up too much, but there’s plenty of time for things to go horribly, horribly wrong.

Trailer: 24 season seven

NME lists off their top 10 new acts to look out for in 2009, led by Florence & The Machine, who I’ve already told you to look out for. BBC also thinks she’ll do well this year, placing her third in their “Sound of 2009” new music list.

Pre-orders of Sky Larkin’s debut The Golden Spike will get you the album in MP3 form immediately, as well as a live recording of the album to go along with it. It’s out February 9.

Rumour is now fact – Glasvegas will make their Toronto debut on April 3 at the Mod Club. Tickets are $21 and go on sale this Saturday, January 10. There’s interviews with the band at The San Jose Mercury News and Kansas City Star.

Filter has a typically entertaining interview with Oasis’ Noel Gallagher.

XLR8R gets nostalgic about shoegaze, gets in touch with members of Ride, Chapterhouse, Lush and Slowdive amongst others and charts the scene’s rise, fall, and recent resurrection.

The Guardian checks in on former Long Blondes guitarist Dorian Cox, still recovering from the stroke that felled him last Summer and led to the band’s dissolution.

Electroqueer talks to Patrick Wolf about forthcoming album Battle and getting beaten up by security at a Madonna show.

Robyn Hitchcock discusses the new Venus 3 album Goodnight Oslo, due February 17, with Chart.