Posts Tagged ‘White Wires’

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Three A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangHow the day was spent in words.

No Joy
– Montreal-based garage-gaze duo released their debut Ghost Blonde last year.
Photos: No Joy @ The Mohawk – March 18, 2011
MP3: No Joy – “Hawaii”
Video: No Joy – “Hawaii”

Erland & The Carnival
– Pairing ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong with folk singer Erland Cooper has yielded a new album in the just-released Nightingale. Tong fills out a questionnaire for JamBase.
Photos: Erland & The Carnival @ Dirty Dog Bar – March 18, 2011
MP3: Erland & The Carnival – “Nightingale”
MP3: Erland & The Carnival – “Trouble In Mind”
Video: Erland & The Carnival – “Map Of An Englishman”
Video: Erland & The Carnival – “Trouble In Mind”
Video: Erland & The Carnival – “You Don’t Have To Be Lonely”

The White Wires
– Ottawa trio who released their latest blast of pure and simple punk-pop last year in WWII just want to rock out and have a good time.
Photos: The White Wires @ Shangri-La – March 18, 2011
MP3: The White Wires – “Be True To Your School (Until You Get Kicked Out)”
Video: The White Wires – “Let’s Go To The Beach”
Video: The White Wires – “Girly Girly Girly”
Video: The White Wires – “In My Bed”

Edwyn Collins
– legendary new-wave/post-punk pioneer who has recovered from a 2005 cerebral hemorrhage enough to not only record and release a new album in Losing Sleep, but perform it live. Spinner has an interview with Collins.
Photos: Edwyn Collins @ The East Side Drive-In Stage One – March 18, 2011
Video: Edwyn Collins – “Losing Sleep”
Video: Edwyn Collins – “You’ll Never Know”
Video: Edwyn Collins – “A Girl Like You”
Video: Edwyn Collins – “Everything & You”
Video: Orange Juice – “Blue Boy”

Dum Dum Girls
– Smart and sexy Los Angeles retro-rockers who’ve just followed up their 2010 debut I Will Be with the He Gets Me High EP. Pitchfork has a Tunnelvision video session with the band while AV Club Undercover invites them to cover Big Star.
Photos: Dum Dum Girls @ Lustre Pearl – March 18, 2011
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “He Gets Me High”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Bhang Bhang I’m A Burnout”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “D.A.L.”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “He Gets Me High”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Bhang Bhang I’m A Burnout”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Three

Dum Dum Girls, No Joy, Edwyn Collins and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI usually go into SxSW with a “no Canadian bands” mandate, which might seem unpatriotic but considering that most/all of them will come through Toronto on at least a sem-regular basis, I don’t see the logic in flying to Texas to see them perform.

That said, some exceptions are made and Montreal’s No Joy kicking off the day at the Mohawk’s inside stage was one of those special cases. Though only around a little while, it seems they’ve already gotten to the point where their local shows are as support for bigger acts I don’t want to see, so this was the only opportunity I saw in the near term to see what they were about. And what they’re about is loud, fuzzy guitar rock that’s really too abrasive for the “shoegaze” or “dreampop” adjectives that get thrown about to be accurate – they may opt to hide behind their hair but they’re certainly not shy. There’s some real aggressiveness at play but it’s tempered by a melodic sense that’s actually more evident live than on their record Ghost Blonde, and they avoid getting too sludgy-heavy thanks to some nimble drumwork. Extra props to Jasmine White-Gluz for having a cassette 4-track affixed to her pedalboard for the purpose of adding samples and static to the mix. Sure some digital sample would have been easier and more efficient, but certainly not as cool.

Catching Erland & The Carnival at the Dirty Dog Bar was a fortuitously timed and located set, happening directly en route from the Mohawk to the Convention Center for another panel. Their claim to fame is having former Verve, Blur, Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad & The Queen guitarist Simon Tong in their ranks but even though his resume certainly outshines those of his bandmates, he still stayed off to the side and leaving the spotlight to frontman Gawain Erland Cooper. His presence was most definitely felt via his musical contributions, though, adding atmosphere and texture to their distinctly baroque folk-rock. They may be a new act but the sophistication of their material and onstage composure was that of a far more veteran act. I’m pretty sure I’ve got either self-titled debut or their latest album Nightengale kicking around – I need to dig those up.

The purpose of getting to the Convention Center was a panel entitled “Your Guide To Touring In Canada” which, like the festival one I attended the day before, didn’t have any real bearing on my life – my days of piling into a van to bring rock across the great white north were over before they even began – but was certainly interesting from a “how does this work” perspective. And it was interesting, hearing representatives from Six Shooter Records, Collective Concerts, Massey Hall and LiveNation discuss the various concerns and considerations that international acts should take into account when attempting to break into the Canadian market. Unsurprisingly, much of the discussion focused on the border and getting across it, and gave some insight as to why we hear of band members being left behind in Buffalo or why some artists don’t even try to make it up here.

Shifting gears from talking about live music to seeing it, it was time to explore the east end of Austin – well, east of I-35, anyways – which in the past had been a no man’s land with respect to the festival but in the last few years had become home to many of the more and more day shows popping up, mostly in decidedly more ramshackle environs than their west-side counterparts. This certainly described Shangri-La, which was basically a shack with a bar and a backyard with a stage. And on that stage was Ottawa’s White Wires, whom I’d successfully managed to miss seeing in both Halifax and Toronto, and yet connected with deep in the heart of Texas. Not just me, though – arriving a little into their set, I saw the trio had amassed a goodly size of revellers, pogoing and voraciously devouring their punchy and barbed-wire hooky pop-punk. They don’t reinvent the wheel but are quite adept in using it to run you over with good tunes.

Across 6th St was the East Side Drive-In, though I don’t think it had that name when we thew our “Eastbound & Found” party in the same space last year – it was just the big lot north of the Fader Fort. Regardless, this year it had both a name and a new occupant for a couple days, Pitchfork and their #Offline mini-fest and with all respect to the presenter, but we did a much better job of filling the space last year. It was remarkable how empty both stages were considering they had assembled a pretty respectable lineup, but perhaps the problem was that it was a lineup better suited to filling a club with a couple hundred people than a large outdoor space intended to host thousands. But attracting the fickle masses wasn’t my problem this year, and the lean crowd meant that I was able to saunter right up the stage without issue for Edwyn Collins’ set.

I knew that Collins was recovered enough from the strokes that felled him a few years ago to record new records – the latest of which Losing Sleep is out now – but was pleasantly surprised that he was fit enough to travel and perform live. He did it with plenty of support, backed by a big band of veterans and young bucks and spending most of the set singing from his seat on a road case. His set comprised new material as well as reaching back to the Orange Juice catalog for “Falling & Laughing” and “Rip It Up”, all of it sounding like a timeless melange of pop, rock, soul and funk done with style. Though he deferred vocals to his bandmates at a couple points and invited his son William to come out and sing with him on “In Your Eyes”, Collins was up to the task of being front and centre throughout, and for the rousing set finale – “A Girl Like You” with its guitar riff proving still glorious after all these years – he stood up and belted it out. A tremendous return.

It would have been nice if that show momentum had been carried forward with Owen Pallett’s set, but after an extended setup delay – it’s never a good sign when the artist and stage manager are just standing around at the side of the stage talking – Pallett apologetically announced that his set would be a further ten to fifteen minutes late as some of his equipment – like his violin, apparently – had been left at another venue earlier in the day. Calculating my chances of seeing Pallett play again later in the week – quite good – I cut my losses and headed over to Lustre Pearl to wrap up the afternoon.

There they were hosting Los Angeles’ Dum Dum Girls, whom I’d missed when they came through Toronto a few weeks ago due to other show conflicts. I may well like them the best of all the fuzzed-out retro-rock acts kicking around these days, and I’m even reluctant to lump them in with the other “garage rock” bands – the aesthetic might be similar, but I find their songcraft is considerably more sophisticated, able to evoke dark edges around the sunshiny sound, and the presentation? Well let’s just say they’re a very good looking band. A great-sounding one, too, with terrific harmonies and sharp guitar work over top driving rhythms, all delivered with an effortless cool. Or mostly so – even the coolest-looking band wasn’t immune to the Texas heat and by the end of their set, there was sweat and running makeup but even then? Awesome.

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Sleep Patterns

Canadian Musicfest 2011 suggestions that I won’t be taking

Photo By Samantha CardowSamantha CardowWith festivals come hard choices, and for this year’s edition of Canadian Musicfest, getting underway with a handful of events tonight and in earnest as of tomorrow, I am choosing to eschew the club-hopping-ness that typically comes with these sorts of fest and largely plant myself in one place for each evening. Hard choice or lazy choice? A little of both.

But just because I am staying put doesn’t mean that I recommend others do the same. So by way of festival preview, here’s a list of stuff that I almost certainly won’t be going to but that you should, or at least should investigate. As for what I am going to be seeing over the next few nights, well you can wait for the post-mortem for that.

Wednesday, March 9
Snowblink @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – their release party for the beauteous album Long Live this past weekend apparently a carnivalesque success, the Toronto duo have announced their festival showcase. If you missed the Music Gallery show, as I did, you should make this one, as I will not.
MP3: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”

Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – acoustically-inclined pop-rock comprised of Danes who met in Brooklyn will be all over Toronto this week, following this show with a midnight engagement at The Dakota Tavern on Friday night and an 8PM opening slot at The El Mocambo on Saturday night.
MP3: Alcoholic Faith Mission – “Running With Insanity”

Thursday, March 10
Modern Superstitions @ The Horseshoe, 8:30PM – this local quartet delivers scrappy garage rock with a healthy dose of hooks, attitude and not a little sex appeal. Only an EP to their name right now but more and better will come.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

Molly Rankin @ The Horseshoe, 9:20PM – caught a bit of this Nova Scotia native – yes, of those Rankins – during a BBQ at NXNE last year, and her rootsy power-pop made an impression, even over the sound of me eating a tasty burger. She has members of Two Hours Traffic in her band, presumably voluntarily.
MP3: Molly Rankin – “Bombshell”

Heartbeat Hotel @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – rising locals continue to refine their heady brew of psychedelic pop, and hopefully their live show will be as good as their recorded works – maybe it’ll happen this evening!
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”

Memoryhouse @ The Great Hall, 10:45PM – hey, didja hear? The local dreampop duo has signed to Sub Pop. Not that you need the validation of some big American indie label to know that these guys are great and worth seeing. No, you’re smarter than that.
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”

The High Dials @ Hard Luck, 11PM – this venue is pretty new but I’m reasonably certain it’s not a drug front for the mob. The High Dials, on the other hand, have been around for ages and I am certain they’re still putting out some of the sharpest power-pop around.
MP3: The High Dials – “Chinese Boxes”

The Darcys @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – long one of the city’s most bursting-with-potential as well as sort-of snakebit bands, their new – and first? – second album is done and should finally deliver on their immense promise. Appreciate their ubiquitousness on local stages while you can.
MP3: The Darcys – “The House Built Around Your Voice”

Halves @ The Hideout, 12AM – these Dublliners were playing at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin the very same night I was there in 2008. I didn’t go upstairs to see them, drank a Guinness instead. TRUE STORY. They cultivate a gorgeous, post-rock with vocals vibe reminiscent of Early Day Miners and are also playing Friday at The Comfort Zone at 8PM.
Video: Halves – “Medals”

Austra @ Wrongbar, 1AM – the artist formerly known as Private Life formerly known as Stelmanis formerly known as Katie Stelmanis has finally settled on an identity and a sound – dark electro-pop – and is reaping the benefits and buzz from it. Her debut Feel It Break is out in May.
MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”

The Butterfly Explosion @ The Hideout, 2AM – the Irish shoegazers have visited before and broken up and reformed in the interim, and have now drawn an unenviable insomniac/unemployed time slot. If you’re still out and about at that hour and looking for something to see, they won’t disappoint.
MP3: The Butterfly Explosion – “Sophia”

Friday, March 11
Rebekah Higgs @ Supermarket, 9PM – Haligonian songwriter constantly trying to reconcile her folkish roots and electronic inclinations with tuneful results. Her Little Voice EP offers a taste of the new full-length coming soon.
MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Asleep All Winter”

Aidan Knight @ The Rivoli, 10PM – BC singer-songwriter whose debut album Versicolour is an understated gem, and whose live show is charmingly goofy. Also playing a day show out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 4:40PM on Saturday.
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Friendly Fires”

The Jezabels @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – Australian rock act here all the way from Australia. Dark, dramatic, crunchy and Australian. Did I mention they’re Australian?
MP3: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”

Monogrenade @ The El Mocambo, 10:30PM – we all took French in grade school and high school, so language shouldn’t be a barrier to appreciating these rangy Montrealers, who’ve got the acoustic/orchestral smoulder thing down pat. Yeah, that’s a thing.
Video: Monogrenade – “Ce Soir”

Imaginary Cities @ The Garrison, 11:30PM – if an act as legendary as Pixies saw fit to invite these Winnapeggers along for their North American tour and see/hear them every night, then surely they’re worth an hour of your time? They’re also playing on Thursday night at Lee’s Palace at 10:30PM.
MP3: Imaginary Cities – “Hummingbird”

Bombay Bicycle Club @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – every year it seems there’s a token buzzy Brit band who makes a festival appearance – this year it’s Bombay Bicycle Club. But if you’re of the Anglophile persuasion, you’ve probably already decided to be at this show.
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Evening/Morning”

The Meligrove Band @ Sneaky Dee’s 1AM – local power-pop veterans will be showcasing songs from their latest album Shimmering Lights; always a spirited and rollicking good time.
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”

Saturday, March 12
The Balconies @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – local faves have been holed away writing album number two all Winter – surely there’ll be some new songs in the set? And no you don’t have to stay for Electric Six.
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”

Neon Windbreaker @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – at first they weren’t a real band, then not a serious band, and now they’re a band with a work ethic that shames career bands that’s playing all over the place both here and at SxSW with a penchant for covering ’90s Canadian alt-rock standards. So you may as well.
MP3: Neon Windbreaker – “Furniture”

Nadia von Hahn @ The Library Bar 11:30PM – smooth and sassy retro-pop from the west coast with loungey and doo-wop accents. Also doing a Daytime Living Room session for The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 2PM that afternoon.
Video: Nadia von Hahn – “This Holy Night”

Writers’ Strike @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – scrappy and kinda snotty pop-punk from Halifax, not really offering anything new but doing what they do well and with vigor.
MP3: Writers’ Strike – “Bad Time”

The White Wires @ Wrongbar, 2AM – highly regarded new purveyors of old-school garage rock from Ottawa, they may well be worth dealing with Parkdale at 2AM on a Saturday night to see. Seriously.
MP3: White Wires – “Be True To Your School (Until You Get Kicked Out)”

Did you notice the fest is really front-loaded this year? Yeah, me too.

Of course, besides the showcases there’s plenty else going on that doesn’t necessarily require a badge or wristband or even a cover charge – Dorkshelf has rounded some of them up. There’s the three-day in-store mini-fest happening at Sonic Boom, which will feature sets from the likes of The Balconies, The Most Serene Republic, Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis, James Vincent McMorrow and Karkwa, among many many others – the full list and schedule is up at the Sonic Boom website.

Criminal Records will also be hosting an in-store with a west coast flavour on Friday night at 7PM, featuring Aidan Knight – complimented above – and We Are The City.

MP3: We Are The City – “Happy New Year”

There’s also a full list of performers and times for the Living Room Sessions noted a couple times above – all performances are free and all-ages.

Memoryhouse discusses their background and aesthetics with Spinner.

The Toronto Star talks to The Darcys about their near-death and rebirth.

Spinner talks to The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who are opening up Thursday night’s bill at Lee’s Palace as well as playing a Living Room Session at 5:20 on Saturday.

She Does The City asks random questions of Young Galaxy’s Stephen Ramsay. They’re the headliner on the Thursday night Lee’s Palace bill, going on at 11:30PM.

Citeeze talks to Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Little Scream, whose debut album The Golden Record has been released on iTunes as of this week, well ahead of the physical edition’s April 12 street date. A new MP3 from said record is also available to download. She is opening things up at The Opera House on Thursday night at 8:30, and note that she will no longer be supporting Sharon Van Etten at The Drake on April 12.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

The National Post chats with Karkwa, who are at Wrongbar on Friday night with a set time of 10PM.

J Mascis’ new solo record Several Shades Of Why, which you can expect to hear when he headlines The Great Hall on Friday night, is streaming over at Spin ahead of its March 15 release.

Stream: J Mascis / Several Shades Of Why

The Globe & Mail previews Canadian Music Week by chatting with Jenn Grant, Imaginary Cities and Hollerado.

Chad VanGaalen’s next record Diaper Island will be out May 17; details at Chart.

Mumford & Sons might be getting the headlines for their railroad tour through the southwest this Spring, but a similar excursion – though presumably by good old Via Rail rather than some retro-fied locomotive – is happening across Canada and is bringing Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, Magali Meagher of The Phonemes and Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees to 16 station stops from coast to coast. The Toronto date is April 21 at The Tranzac.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: The Mountains & The Trees – “More & More & More”

And if this hasn’t been quite enough Canadian music to get you through the day/week/month, head over to The Line Of Best Fit for another Oh! Canada mix to download.

Whew. Effin’ festivals.