Posts Tagged ‘Wintersleep’

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Singers And The Endless Song

Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff

Photo By Craig KiefCraig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.

Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.

MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”

Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.

MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.

MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.

MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”

There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”

With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.

Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”

Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”

FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.

MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”

Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.

Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.

Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

CONTEST – Wintersleep @ The Danforth Music Hall – October 21, 2012

Photo By Scott MunnScott MunnWho: Wintersleep
What: Haligonian-bred rock outfit whom no less than The Junos declared to be Canada’s best new artist in 2008. Don’t hold that against them.
Why: They’ve been through town a few times in support of this year’s Hello Hum, but each time is in a bigger room so clearly, more and more people want to see them.
When: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Where: The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: The cross-Canada tour is a co-headline with Elliott Brood
How: Tickets for the show are $25.50 in advance but courtesy of Webster Media Consulting, I’ve got prize pack consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a complete Wintersleep discography – Wintersleep, Untitled, Welcome To The Night Sky, New Inheritors, and Hello Hum – on CD, with their latest coming autographed by the band. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Wintersleep” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and have that to me before midnight, October 17.
What else: PopMatters has an interview with the band, and they’ve just made a new b-side entitled “Martyr” available for download from their website.

MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Side By Side

Cuff The Duke, Jenn Grant, Wintersleep, and Elliott Brood embrace double-feature touring

Photo By Zuzana HudackovaZuzana HudackovaIt’s shaping up to be an Autumn of Can-rock double bills high on value. Folks thought that it was a pretty impressive pairing of talent when it was announced last month that Dan Mangan and The Rural Alberta Advantage were teaming up to cross the country in October, or the June announcement that Metric and Stars were hitting the country’s arenas together, but that were just the first of a number of impressive double-bills looking to share driving duties across Canada this Fall.

First, you’ve got Toronto’s Cuff The Duke teaming up with Halifax’s Jenn Grant teaming up for a tour that stretches from BC out to Montreal, and while the Toronto venue isn’t officially announced, the date is confirmed as November 24 and the rumoured venue is the fancy-pants Winter Garden Theatre. Both artists have new records coming out, hence the road trip. Cuff The Duke will release Union October 2 and from the first taste of the new material via a live Paper Bag Session, it sounds like it’ll be more tuneful country-rock of the sort that they’ve built their following on. Grant, on the other hand, looks to be shifting gears again with The Beautiful Wild, out September 25. Following the effervescent pop of Honeymoon Punch, Exclaim reports that Wild will pursue a more mature and musically adventurous direction. The first single from said record is streamable below. Update: Winter Garden Theatre is confirmed, tickets on sale August 20.

Cuff The Duke have a couple of local shows before the Grant tour – there’s a free show at Yonge-Dundas Square the evening of August 31 and they’re part of the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: Jenn Grant – “In The Belly Of A Dragon”
Video: Cuff The Duke – “Side By Side” (Paper Bag Sessions)

Elliott Brood are also playing that PBR10 show on September 27, but will be back on a Toronto stage on October 21 at The Danforth Music Hall as part of their Marvel Team-Up almost cross-Canada tour – no BC dates at the moment – with Halifax’s Wintersleep; tickets for that one are $25.50. Both released new records earlier this year – Days Into Years for the Brood, Hello Hum for the ‘Sleep. Chronicle Herald and The Montreal Gazette have Wintersleep features.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Norther Air”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

METZ will celebrate the release of the debut self-titled album with a hometown show at The Horseshoe on October 12, ticket $12 in advance.

MP3: METZ – “Headache”

After a couple visits in a supporting role, Cadence Weapon has scheduled a headlining gig of his own in support of the Polaris shortlisted Hope In Dirt City at Wrongbar for October 12, tickets $12.

MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”

CBC Music talked to The Magic ahead of their Summerworks record release show for Ragged Gold this past weekend. Counteract also has a short feature piece.

Evening Hymns have released the first official video from Spectral Dusk, which is out next Tuesday but gets its live public unveiling this Friday night at Summerworks. The album, however, is unveiled as of right now courtesy of the stream at The Line Of Best Fit, which also comes with song-by-song annotations from Jonas Bonnetta.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”
Stream: Evening Hymns / Spectral Dusk

Bry Webb talks to NOW about his plans for his own Summerworks show on August 18.

Exclaim and Stereogum talk to Dan Boeckner about his new outfit Divine Fits, while Britt Daniel does the same for Mountain X-Press. A Thing Called Divine Fits is out August 28 – though it’s available to stream now – and they play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Stream: Divine Fits / A Thing Called Divine Fits

And Boeckner’s former bandmate Spencer Krug talks to The Quietus about his current project, Moonface.

Two Hours Traffic have announced a new EP Siren Spell, due out September 11, which not only offers a sneak preview of what their new lineup sounds like, but also gives the band a chance to indulge in their favourite pastime – touring across the country. Dates are coming this week but in the meantime, check out a track from the new EP.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Amour Than Amis”

After a couple of non-album teases, The Wilderness Of Manitoba have finally offered an official first taste of their second album Island Of Echoes. It’s out September 18.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Morning Sun”

NPR is streaming a new song from the forthcoming Stars album The North. It’s out September 4 and they support Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24. But I think I already said that.

Stream: Stars – “Backlines”

Hot on the heels of her Feistodon interactive clip, Feist has released a more conventional, less metal video from Metals.

Video: Feist – “Anti-Pioneer”

The Luyas have released a preview track from their new record Animator, out October 18. They’re at The Great Hall on September 29 for the PBR10 show.

MP3: The Luyas – “Fifty Fifty”

The AV Club welcomes Destroyer to AV Undercover and they choose to cover Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Of course.

DIY interviews Purity Ring.

NOW and The Montreal Gazette talk to Al Spx of Cold Specks.

John O’Regan talks to Spin about the new Diamond Rings record Free Dimensional, due out October 23.

Sloan have announced their super-fancy Twice Removed 20th anniversary package will be out on September 4; Exclaim has rounded up exactly what your $90 plus shipping gets you besides a public declaration that you really like “Pen Pals”.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan drummer Alaska B lists her favourite albums of the last 20 years for CBC Music.

Beatroute checks in with Black Mountain.

Ben and Jonah of Fucked Up give Exclaim a progress report on their next album. They play Fort York on September 9 as part of Riot Fest.

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

SxSW 2009 A/V – Wintersleep

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWintersleep
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Successful Haligonian rock band whose last release was 2007’s Welcome To The Night Sky
Show review
– interviews at The Gauntlet and LAist

Photos: Wintersleep @ Rusty Spurs – March 21, 2009
MP3: Wintersleep – “Weighty Ghost”
Video: Wintersleep – “Weighty Ghost”
Video: Wintersleep – “Oblivion”
Video: Wintersleep – “Jaws Of Life”
Video: Wintersleep – “Lipstick”
Video: Wintersleep – “Fog”
Video: Wintersleep – “Insomnia”
Video: Wintersleep – “Faithful Guide”
Video: Wintersleep – “Sore”
Video: Wintersleep – “Danse Macabre”
Video: Wintersleep – “Caliber”
MySpace: Wintersleep

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

SxSW 2009 Night Four

Echo & The Bunnymen, Theoretical Girl, Wintersleep and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last night of SxSW began not on 6th St, where it normally does, but down at the Auditorium Shores amphitheatre where the festival puts on large-scale free shows for the locals by way of thanks for putting up with the massive influx of visitors each year. Some friends wanted to unwind down there, away from the chaos of downtown, to the narcoleptic tones of Beach House. The last time I’d seen them they were lulling a dozen or so people to sleep beside a roaring fire in the front room of the Tranzac, so to see them on a massive stage in front of thousands in broad daylight was different, to say the least. But their sleepy spell was the same, just exponentially louder, so it was nice to just kick back with a beer and unwind for a bit.

But just a bit. Within an hour, I was in a cab back downtown, trying to meet up with a university friend with whom I’d been playing text-tag with for a couple days. We arranged to meet up at Brush Square Park, where as luck would have it Little Boots was getting ready to play a label party. I had hoped that this set might provide an opportunity for better photos than the Emo’s Annex show a couple nights back, but this time instead of red floodlights there were simply no lights. Terrific. Show-wise, notes from Thursday night’s to-do still apply – I watched the first bit of her set then went off to commiserate.

Heading into the heart of the bedlam that was 6th St, I wound my way to the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 for a set by Theoretical Girl. Fronted by Amy Eleanor Turnnidge – the namesake of the band – and backed by players dubbed The Equations, they delivered archly charming and clever pop with a distinctly retro-mod vibe. The material all displayed a consistent level of goodness but not much really stood out as a single that would sweep the nation (whichever nation). That said, there’s enough appeal that I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the near future, if her hooks become as sharp as her wit, success for the Theoretical Girl could became a reality.

At this point, plan “see Echo & The Bunnymen in small club” went into effect. The gist of the plan, essentially, was to show up at Rusty Spurs a couple hours early and just wait it out until their scheduled midnight set. The fact that there wasn’t an awful lot of interest going on elsewhere on Saturday night made it an easier decision to make. As chance would have it, the two lead-in acts weren’t entirely unfamiliar, both hailing from Canada. The first, Halifax’s Wintersleep, were largely unknown to me though I was aware they were one of the more successful new acts on the Can-rock scene of the last few years. Cursory listens hadn’t impressed, but seeing them live was, if not a revelation, a definite eye-opener. Their grand, atmospheric rock was much nimbler than I’d expected and they displayed a significant amount of on-stage presence and charisma. I understand why they’re of the stature they are back home, and from the enthusiasm of the crowd – presuming they’re not all Canuck ex-pats – their appeal seems to be translating abroad as well.

It was about now that the post-Hot Freaks adrenaline wore off and the weight of the week hit me like two tonnes of bricks. I actually almost spontaneously fell down during Wintersleep’s set, so that’s my excuse for not having a whole lot to say about the set from Montreal’s High Dials. What I found most surprising about their show was that the band still existed – I hadn’t seen or heard them in some six years, though to be fair, I wasn’t really paying attention. But here they were, still turning out high-energy but not especially distinctive mod-inflected guitar rock. And seeing as how the show was running some 30 minutes late, I just wanted them to be gone and the Bunnymen to arrive.

And 30 minutes behind turned into more than 45 before the Liverpool legends finally appeared. Now the whole “big band/little club” thing can be taken two ways – as an opportunity for superstars to re-connect on an intimate level with their fans, or as the manifestation of the proverbial, “see you on the way down”. This Echo & The Bunnymen show fell somewhere in-between. Having already played some three or four shows during the festival, there wasn’t quite the sense of occasion around this last gig – especially not with PJ Harvey wowing them at Stubb’s down the street – but the room, which by my estimation held around 400 tops, was still packed with fans from the surprisingly young to the unsurprisingly old.

Though a natural conclusion to make given the recent surge in ’80s/’90s-vintage reunions, it’s unfair to Echo & The Bunnymen in with those. Although down to only half the original membership, they got back together over a decade ago and continue to produce decent new works, if not nearly as seminal as their older material. And it’s almost unfortunate that they’re still a creatively active band, because that’s not what those in attendance wanted to hear. They wanted to hear the classics, dammit.

And not at all grudgingly, the band complied, kicking off with “Lips Like Sugar” and delivering pretty much a greatest hits set. Of the only two remaining original members, guitar god Will Sergeant looked decidedly his age but singer Ian McCulloch, improbably decked out in a woolen pea coat despite the sweltering heat, was almost eerily ageless. McCulloch was surprisingly gracious, given his irascibile reputation, going so far as to crack some jokes and even a smile or two over the course of the night, though his temper did flare up at a couple points in the evening. Vocally, he was also in pretty good form – any time you thought that his voice might be showing its age, he’d find another gear and belt out the most crucial part of the song the way it was meant to be. Similarly, Sergeant was inspiring on guitar, as much for reminding you of all the brilliant parts he’d written over the years as for what he was actually playing.

But somehow it didn’t feel like they were big stars playing a special, tiny show. For the greatness of their repertoire, their charisma didn’t feel stadium-sized and set to blow the club to pieces, but simply club-sized. Whatever presence McCulloch once had that allowed him to perform without moving but still mesmerizing isn’t really there anymore – see Liam Gallagher for an example of that talent in action. That, however, didn’t keep me from enjoying the show any less, though. I was perfectly happy to take them for what they were and enjoy hearing the likes of “Bring On The Dancing Horses”, “Back Of Love” and – most crucially – “The Killing Moon” live. A completely satisfactory way to close out SxSW 2009 as far as I was concerned.

And, save for another, oh, 40 or so of those little A/V posts – bear with me, please – that’s it for South-by coverage for this year. Final tallies were 46 performances by 44 different acts, 20GB of photos and one kick-ass time. I suspect there’s an inversely proportional relation between my perception of the quality of the festival’s lineup and how good a time I have. A couple months ago, I called the assembled talent “weaksauce” – meant partly in jest and only relative to the acts that I’d hoped would be in attendance – but I still nearly killed myself running around downtown Austin trying to catch all the bands I wanted to see and the last thing I needed was more choices to agonize over. And so to all bands and friends new and old who made the trip one of the best weeks I’ve had in recent memory, I thank you and will see y’all next year.