Posts Tagged ‘Vivian Girls’

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Walking On A Dream

Empire Of The Sun set out to conquer North America

Art by Aaron Hayward & David HomerAaron Hayward & David HomerThough it was only on the calendar for barely two weeks last Spring – it was cancelled almost as soon as it was announced due to scheduling issues with their Lollapalooza appearance – the prospect of an Empire Of The Sun show in Toronto clearly got some people excited. And why not – though not exactly household names in North America, the glam-synth-pop outfit led by Luke Steele, known to some for his other band The Sleepy Jackson, are veritable superstars in their native Australia thanks to their 2009 debut album Walking On A Dream and have a well-deserved reputation for spectacular live shows.

Predictably, the aforementioned cancellation – which would have seen them bring their elaborate show to the Sound Academy a year ago next week – came with many apologies and promises to try and make it up, promises which I didn’t especially expect to be kept. Not because they didn’t sincerely want to, but simply because it’s surely heinously expensive to do so and, as mentioned, they’re not a guaranteed draw over here. But I’m quite happy to have been proven wrong, as a number of US festival appearances are being leveraged into a proper North American tour which brings them to Echo Beach in Toronto on September 13, and really – a big open-air beachfront venue is a much more appropriate venue than the much-maligned shoebox on the docklands isn’t it? We haven’t had many festivals in Toronto this Summer, but if any show can help create that sort of grandiose spectacle, I’d say it’s this one. Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale Friday at 10AM.

Perth Now reports that Steele’s creative partner Nick Littlemore, who abruptly left the band a couple of years ago to join Cirque de Soleil, is back in the fold and will be touring with the band and in conversation with In THe Mix, Littlemore confirms that work has begun on album number two.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Half Mast”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Without You”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Walking On A Dream”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “We Are The People”

Also announced yesterday and pretty much at the complete opposite end of every possible spectrum from Empire Of The Sun, yet just as exciting for me, is the news that London’s Still Corners would be in town at the Drake Underground on October 25 as part of a tour in support of their debut album Creatures Of An Hour, due out October 11. I saw them at SXSW and even though they prefer to play in the dark or bathed projected vintage film images, their Broadcast-ish dreamy retro-gaze is delicious.

MP3: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”

Vivian Girls bring their third record Share The Joy to The Shop at Parts & Labour on September 16; they just released a new video from the album and Spoonfed has an interview.

MP3: Vivian Girls – “I Heard You Say”
Video: Vivian Girls – “Take It As It Comes”

As The Drums prep their second album Portamento for September 13 release, they’ve put together a North American tour that brings them to the Mod Club on October 1, tickets $16. They’ve just put out the first video from the new record.

MP3: The Drums – “Down By The Water”
Video: The Drums – “Money”

I’d been wondering when Austra would be staging a triumphant homecoming show, what with their last Toronto appearance being a record release party for Feel It Break, pre-Polaris shortlisting and worldwide praise. Well the answer is December 1 and it’ll happen at The Phoenix. Sentimentalist has an interview with Katie Stelmanis and the third and final performance of Austra’s video session for Room 205 is now up.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”

Supporting Austra on that show will be Tasseomancy, also known as the Lightman twins, better known as Austra’s backing singers and formerly known as Ghost Bees; their debut full-lenght Ulalume is out August 30. Romy Lightman talks to Spinner about their new video from said album.

MP3: Tasseomancy – “Healthy Hands”
MP3: Tasseomancy – “The Darkest Of Things”
Video: Tasseomancy – “Heavy Sleep”

Timber Timbre, who worked on the aforementioned Tasseomancy record, have premiered a new video from Creep On Creepin’ On at IFC.

Video: Timber Timbre – “Bad Ritual”

BlogTO talks to Evening Hymns’ Jonas Bonetta about their next record Spectral Dusk, which is due out this Fall. They play the ALL CAPS fest out on Toronto Islands on August 13.

Also with a new video are Young Galaxy, taken from this year’s Shapeshifting.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Blown Minded”

And finally, the tease really didn’t last that long – Feist has announced her new album Metals will be out on October 4. Pitchfork has details and Spin has already had a sneak preview and is sharing their thoughts.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


Review of The Radio Dept.’s Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 and giveaway

Photo By Aylin Güngör DedeogluAylin Güngör DedeogluReally, I’ve only myself to blame. Upon hearing The Radio Dept. and the deliciously forlorn and fuzz pop of their 2003 debut Lesser Matters, I did what any good music obsessive would do after hearing what would become one of their favourite bands of the century (so far) and scoured the eBay for any and all of their releases. In their case this amounted to a number of singles and EPs which offered a good amount of non-album tracks – most as wonderful as the songs that did make the long-players – to pad out the collection.

So when it was announced that the band would follow their breakout third album, 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme with a double-compilation of rarities, one couldn’t help but hope that meant that a heretofore untapped vault of musical goodness would be let loose onto the world, a sort of reward for the faithful who’d evangelized the band for years until the rest of the world caught on. This, of course, was bunk. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 is exactly what the title implies – a collection of the band’s singles over the course of their existence arranged chronologically with a the second disc collecting b-sides and compilation tracks from over that same time period. In other words, mostly everything I’d already bought.

But as I said, that’s my own fault; for everyone else, Passive Aggressive is pretty much essential. There are no deep cuts from their three records, only the singles – and just one song from the sublime second record Pet Grief – so for newcomers to the band using the collection as an introduction, the incentive to buy those studio records remains and for those who’ve already made their acquaintance but not gone all trainspotting on their back catalog, there’s over 20 tracks that are likely to be new to their ears. Pretty much the definition of win-win. And any way you come at it, the set is a testament to just how superb, consistent and unique the band has been over the course of their career, filtering the confluence of synth-pop, shoegaze, and C86 tweeness through a distinctly Swedish melancholy for irresistible results.

So while Passive Aggressive doesn’t provide me hours of new Radio Dept. listening, it does save me the trouble of swapping out all those CDEPs and most importantly, remind me in the most enjoyable way possible what an amazing band they are. And there’s nothing disappointing about that.

Spinner talks to Martin Carlberg about the band’s vault of unreleased songs – which clearly DOES exist – although there’s no plans to mine it for release anytime soon. The band’s North American tour kicks off tonight in Washington DC and hits Toronto on February 7. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of The Musebox, I’ve got a grand prize to consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Passive Aggressive on CD to give away and a second prize of just the CD. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join The Radio Dept” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to be eligible for the passes and CD, say so and if you’re just a resident of Canada looking for the CD, say that as well. Contest closes at midnight, February 3.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The One”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Freddie & The Trojan Horse”

The artist anointed by the BBC as “The Sound of 2010”Ellie Goulding – will be releasing her debut album Lights Stateside on March 8 and follow it up with dates that include a March 27 stop at The Great Hall in Toronto. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Ellie Goulding – “Starry Eyed”

The Raveonettes have slated a Spring tour in support of their fifth album Raven In The Grave, which according to this interview with Sune Rose Wagner at The San Francisco Examiner is due out on March 22. The itinerary includes an April 2 date at The Phoenix, tickets for which are $20, and there are still plans to release a compilation of b-sides and rarities at some point this year.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Last Dance”

The Black Angels return for an April 14 date at Lee’s Palace, tickets $18.50, as part of a tour in support of last year’s Phosphene Dream. Montreal’s Suuns will support.

MP3: The Black Angels – “Telephone Blues”
MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Pixies have added a second Doolittle show at Massey Hall for April 19. Tickets $44.50 and $64.50 in advance.

Video: Pixies – “Monkey Gone To Heaven”

Fleet Foxes have announced their second album Helplessness Blues will be out on May 3 and the title track is available to download.

MP3: Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Vivian Girls’ new record Share The Joy has been given an April 12 release date, just days before they hit The Phoenix with The Black Lips on April 16. Pitchfork has details and the first MP3 is up for grabs.

MP3: Vivian Girls – “I Heard You Say”

NPR is streaming Bright Eyes’ new album The People’s Key in advance of its February 15 release and Spinner has got an MP3 available to download in exchange for your email. Bright Eyes plays The Sound Academy on March 13.

Stream: Bright Eyes / The People’s Key

Also streaming at NPR and out February 15 is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the new album from Telekinesis. They play The Horseshoe on March 6 and Pepper Rabbit appear to have replaced The Love Language as support.

Stream: Telekinesis / 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Thursday, January 27th, 2011


Wilco go off on their own, Jeff Tweedy goes it alone

Photo via FacebookFacebookThere’s been no news to report on with regards to the new Wilco album proper besides that it will be out in 2011, but there still a few very noteworthy items to surface lately. Firstly, what with their deal with Nonesuch expiring with 2009’s Wilco (The Album), the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the band have done what pretty much everyone expected and started their own label to release their next album. The marque will be called dBpm Records and will be distributed by the folks at Anti Records, so the band will be in control of their own destiny yet remain in good hands.

More immediately and of interest to those in the general northeast/midwest of North America, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is striking out for a handful of solo shows starting on March 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto. This will be the first time Tweedy has come here alone since an appearance at Trinity-St. Paul’s in 2001, a show I missed in favour of seeing the Toronto debuts of Doves and some flash-in-the-pans called The Strokes at The Opera House; a decision I simultaneously regret enormously and not at all. And whether I’ll be able to see this one is up in the air as I might still be in Austin post-SxSW on work when it goes down. Alas. Ticket info on the show is still forthcoming, stay tuned.

And of course a few weeks back it was confirmed that the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival would be returning for a second year at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts from June 24 to 26. No word on performers yet, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Wilco will be playing.

Wilco – doing it for themselves, yo.

MP3: Wilco – “What Light”

A slew more show announcements over the last few days – the latest addition to Sub Pop’s burgeoning stable of sensitive folk-pop artists from the Pacific northwest are Seattle’s The Head & The Heart, who released their self-titled debut last year and had it reissued digitally by the label earlier this year with physical re-release coming for April 16. They will be at The Horseshoe on February 24, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”

Jessica Lea Mayfield will be at the Drake Underground with Daniel Martin Moore on April 4, tickets $15.50. Her new record Tell Me is out February 11 and his latest In The Cool Of The Day came out last week. Full tour dates at Pitchfork. Mayfield was declared “New band of the day” by The Guardian a couple weeks back if you need a primer.

MP3: Daniel Martin Moore – “In The Cool Of The Day”

Lou Barlow’s got to hold some sort of record for active ongoing projects or reunions – in addition to his solo work and Dinosaur Jr – and you know The Folk Implosion would be back if he could find John Davis – he’s also reconvened Sebadoh what with the impending reissues of Bakesale and Harmacy and will be hitting the road this Spring. Exclaim reports that Bakesale will be out on April 4 in the UK with Harmacy following in the Summer, but North American release details are still unclear. What is clear is that the band will be at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and that tickets will run you $23.50. Gimme indie rock… reunions.

MP3: Sebadoh – “Dreams”
MP3: Sebadoh – “On Fire”

The Old 97’s will make up that cancelled show with Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond at the ElMo back in November by bringing the rest of the band along for a date at The Horseshoe on April 6. Teddy Thompson supports and tickets are $23.50 in advance. Denver Westword talks to frontman Rhett Miller.

Video: The Old 97’s – “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” (live)

Toronto’s Timber Timbre will release their second fourth record in the terrifically-titled Creep On Creepin’ On on April 5 and follow that up posthaste with a show at Trinity St. Paul’s on April 8, tickets $20. Details and further tour dates at Chart.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Demon Ghost”

The Phoenix will be doubling as some kind of garage on April 16 when The Black Lips and Vivian Girls come to town. Tickets will be $18.50 and Pitchfork has the full tour itinerary. Black Lips have a new record due out this Summer while Vivian Girls’ third album Share The Joy is due out this Spring.

MP3: The Black Lips – “Short Fuse”
MP3: Vivian Girls – “Where Do You Run To?”

Oakland, Californians Hunx & HIs Punx will release their new album Too Young To Be In Love on March 29 and hit The Horseshoe on April 27; details at Exclaim.

MP3: Hunx & HIs Punkx – “Lover’s Lane”

French dance-pop queen Yelle will release her second record Safari Disco Club on March 29 and will be touring North America post-Coachella, including a May 4 date at The Opera House.

Video: Yelle – “Je Veux Te Voir”

New York’s Sleigh Bells and Brazil’s CSS are teaming up for a Spring tour that includes two nights in Toronto, May 16 and 17 at The Mod Club. The Prague Post interviews Sleigh Bells.

MP3: Sleigh Bells – “Infinity Guitars”
MP3: CSS – “Rat Is Dead”

With a new album complete and presumably out sometime this Summer, Australia’s Architecture In Helsinki are coming to town for a date at The Mod Club on June 11.

MP3: Architecture In Helsinki – “Heart It Races”

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Have One On Me

Joanna Newsom prepares new album; will at least drive through Toronto

Photo By Paul O'VallePaul O’ValleBefore the passing of Jay Reatard on Wednesday – condolences to his friends, family and fans – the topic du jour in the indie nation was what was up with Joanna Newsom. Everyone’s favourite harpist hadn’t released any new music since 2007’s Joanna Newsom & The Ys Street Band EP, itself a chaser for the epic Ys, and while anyone is entitled to a break after putting something like that together, fans were certainly getting anxious for some new material, or even news of new material.

Which finally came this week, first in the form of a cryptic comic strip at her North American label Drag City and then as a confirmation from her Australian handlers at Spunk Records which has since been removed, but too late – the word was out that Newsom’s third album will be entitled Have One On Me and be released on February 23 in North America.

And that timing makes sense, considering the previously-announced tour dates that will take her around North America in March. And while I had previously suggested that the days off between her Grand Rapids date on the 12th and Montreal’s on the 15th were enough that a Toronto show would be a virtual certainty, that window of opportunity has since gotten smaller with the addition of a second Montreal date on the 14th. Which essentially means that if there is going to be a local date for Ms Newsom, it’s going to have to be on March 13 – which happens to be the final day of Canadian Musicfest. So one theory is that the announcement of the show is being held back to coincide with a festival press release. Another is the show is happening independently of the festival and the announcement is just being delayed for one reason or another. Or it’s possible that she’s skipping us entirely and any Torontonians hoping to get a glimpse of her first visit to the 416 since October 2006 will have to do so from a 401 overpass, assuming she travels by car and not on the back of a flying unicorn.

I’ll obviously keep you posted if anything further emerges about either the album or tour. Until then, enjoy the one available piece of official media available online – a video from her 2004 debut The Milk-Eyed Mender.

Video: Joanna Newsom – “The Sprout & The Bean”

Dirty Projectors are giving away both sides of a new 7″ as free MP3 downloads from their website right now.

Muzzle Of Bees asks five questions of Sharon Van Etten, in town on February 6 at Trinity-St. Paul’s opening up for Great Lake Swimmers.

Black Cab Sessions has a session in a cab with Alela Diane, circa SxSW 2009.

Department For Sound interviews Dean & Britta on the occasion of their playing the WOMAD festival in Australia in March.

The Dumbing Of America talks to Lauren Larson of Ume while declaring them, “your new favourite band”.

Check out the first MP3 from The Morning Benders’ new album Big Echo, due out March 9. They play the Drake Underground on April 14. The Fader has an interview.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”

Magnet solicits an interview from Centro-Matic’s Will Johnson, who is playing guest editor on their site this week.

ABC News has a video interview with Richard Balayut and Fontaine Toups of Versus, who are back together and working on a new record.

Pitchfork reports that Okkervil River’s next recorded appearance will be as psych-rock legend Roky Erickson’s band on his new record True Love Cast Out All Evil,, out April 20.

Stereogum has the first taste of Miles Kurosky’s solo debut The Desert Of Shallow Effects, out March 9. There’s also some tour dates set, though nothing up this way. Hope that’s rectified soon – as I recall, Beulah’s final show here at Lee’s Palace in October 2003 was epic.

Soundproof talks to Dinosaur Jr drummer Murph as the trio finally makes it to Toronto, with a date at the Phoenix next Thursday night, January 21.

Baeble Music has a full concert video from Thao with The Get Down Stay Down at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

Luxury Wafers has a video and downloadable session and an interview with The Dutchess & The Duke.

Record Store Day (which is April 17 this year write it down) has an interview with Britt Daniel of Spoon. Transference is out on Tuesday and they play the Sound Academy on March 29.

Vivian Girls have set a North American tour this Spring in support of last year’s Everything Goes Wrong. The Toronto date is at Wrongbar on March 10, tickets $14.

Video: Vivian Girls – “When I’m Gone”

Dr. Dog’s new record Shame, Shame is out April 6 and they will kick off their North American tour at Lee’s Palace on April 14.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s April 1 show at the Phoenix has been moved from the Phoenix to the Sound Academy.

Dose reports that the Blur documentary No Distance Left To Run will be getting a one-day engagement across Canada next Thursday, January 21. The Toronto showing will be at 7PM at the Scotiabank Theatre – advance tickets go on sale Friday. Since the reunion is apparently done for the foreseeable future, this is as close to Blur in 2010 as we’re going to get. I’ll have to wait for the DVD, though, since that evening is reserved for another reunion – Dinosaur Jr.

Trailer: Blur: No Distance Left To Run

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Rockers East Vancouver

Japandroids have ulcer, cancel tour, make up tour

Photo By Leigh RightonLeigh RightonVancouver fuzz-merchant duo Japandroids chose an interesting way to celebrate the release of their new album Post-Nothing and the attendant “Best New Music” laurels bestowed upon it by Pitchfork – they cancelled nearly their entire scheduled Spring tour.

Okay “chose” is probably the wrong word, as singer-guitarist Brian King probably didn’t decide this was the perfect time to suffer a perforated ulcer and go in for emergency surgery. But that’s what happened, and so nearly a month’s worth of dates were scrapped but almost immediately rescheduled – Pitchfork has the new dates, including a July 16 date at the El Mocambo in Toronto to make up for the nixed May 9 date.

In the meantime, they can try and keep up with the increased media interest that this record is sure to generate – witness them already on the cover of the latest Exclaim. There’s also interviews with them at JAM and View, while Metro talks to them in the context of what it identifies as a new trend of “lo-fi” bands.

MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
Video: Japandroids – “Heart Sweats”
MySpace: Japandroids

Exclaim! and Chart talk to Dog Day about new album Concentration. They’re at Lee’s on May 28.

Metric week continues at Drowned In Sound as the band plays tour guide – bassist Josh Winstead relates his favourite things about New York City and guitarist Jimmy Shaw does the same for Toronto.

NOW features The Dears, kicking of their North American tour at the Mod Club tonight.

Fucked Up will be hosting a night of what’s sure to be musical mayhem at the Phoenix on July 16 with a bill that will include Women and Vivian Girls amongst others still to be announced. There’s features on the band at Vue and Uptown.

MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany” (No Age remix)
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Twice Born”

The Los Angeles Record gets the boys from No Age to interview Bob Mould. No Age will be in town in June for NxNE – specifics still forthcoming.

Aquarium Drunkard interviews James McNew of Condo Fucks.

NPR has a World Cafe session with School Of Seven Bells.

The Guardian profiles St Vincent’s Annie Clark. Her new record Actor is out next week.

John Vanderslice has let loose another MP3 from Romanian Names, out May 19.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time”

M Ward stops by MPR for a session. Metro also offers up an interview.

Magnet offers an over/under analysis of The Hold Steady’s five most over- and underrated songs. Some of those songs make an appearance in the band’s session recorded for Daytrotter during SxSW, which is now available to download (or will be later today – will link when it’s up). Update: There we go.

Paste goes Bob Dylan-crazy on the occasion of his new album’s release. Together Through Life came out earlier this week and is streaming at Spinner.

Stream: Bob Dylan / Together Through Life

Metromix talks to Stephin Merritt about his score for the stage version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

I like how much I’ve been able to swear in today’s post, and none if it was me being profane.