Posts Tagged ‘You Say Party! We Say Die!’

Monday, April 19th, 2010

B-Sides Win

Sloan at Sonic Boom and The Tallest Man On Earth at Criminal Records in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere was a stretch a few years ago when it seemed like there was a domino effect with record stores in Toronto closing up shop – a moment of silence for Flash & Crash, Driftwood, CD Exchange, Urban Sound Exchange, Edward’s Record World, CD Replay, Second Spin, Sam The Record Man, Music World and a special tear for Stinky’s (aka Cactus) back in Oakville. This was alarming on so many levels; personally, because I spent more than a few weekends digging through their bins for stuff and if they went away, I’d have to find something new to do with my time, and within the bigger picture because this was a crucial part of the musical ecosystem being clear-cut and no how the digital zealots wanted to spin it, mass extinction of music brick-and-mortar retail is NOT a good thing.

Some cynical types look at events like Record Store Day as last-ditch stunts with no lasting impact on halting the decline of music sales; over the long term, maybe they’re right. But on Saturday, roaming around Toronto, I saw no shortage of people up way early to line up for the exclusive RSD goodies without even worrying about what they’d cost and, throughout the day, wandering the streets with bags that could only contain 12″ discs of vinyl (or linoleum tile samples, I suppose). No doubt some were caught up in the trending topic frenzy and others were unscrupulous speculators, but overall, I can’t imagine people who would bother buying vinyl one day of the year and not at least some of the other 364, and so liked what it said about the health of music retail in the 416 (and the vinyl resurgence) – at least right now.

Besides sales and low-run goodies, there was also the attraction of in-store performances to get folks into their local record shops; up in the Annex, Sonic Boom was running the equivalent of a multi-stage, multi-floor festival and down on Queen West, Criminal Records booked an 11th hour performance from Kristian Matsson, whose show at the El Mocambo that night as The Tallest Man On Earth was sold right out. With word getting out just three hours or so before he took the small stage, but those who did get word were treated to a short but impressive three-song set, demonstrating why so many were so excited about him and his latest record The Wild Hunt. Though clearly worn out from the drive from Montreal, Matsson delivered a surprisingly physical performance, roaming the store’s compact stage, and singing in a voice that was richer-sounding (to these ears, anyways) than on record. It barely ran fifteen minutes but certainly had me listening to his stuff with new ears.

And it was fortunate that it was short because it gave me time to bike up to Sonic Boom for Sloan’s RSD10-closing set. While the former BiWay has the city’s finest in-store space in their vinyl basement, complete with wood paneling, they’d gone to the trouble of erecting a larger and higher stage towards the back of the main floor for the day’s events, allowing everyone a far better view of the performance. This was the first time I’d seen Sloan play since their V Fest showing in August and while that was entertaining in its utter farcicality, this one was a much more solid showing even if I barely recognized any of the material.

That’s a bit odd, considering I’ve been a fan since the Peppermint days – albeit less so in recent years – but the band were really getting into the record collecting spirit of the event by playing only b-sides and rarities. Ironically, the releases that they drew from – the B-Sides Win compilation and Hit & Run EP – are digital-only releases, but they’ve also recently pressed all of their studio albums on vinyl so we’ll call that a draw. Set list obscurity aside, it was still a wholly entertaining 45-minute set thanks to the informal setting and the fun of watching the band try to pull off songs they probably hadn’t played in years and some which they admitted had never been performed live before. It was also good to see Chris Murphy recovered from the broken collarbones which hobbled him at V Fest and able to shoulder his bass guitar again. I expect they’ll break out the fan favourites when they play Yonge-Dundas Square for another free show on the Friday night of NXNE, so it was cool to see such a unique set though I’d point out that B-Sides Win opens with an alternate version of “Underwhelmed”… could they not have slipped that in there and still stayed true to their edict for the evening? Ah well.

Oh, my Record Store Day haul? Not much, really – just The Bird & The Bee’s Interpreting The Masters Hall & Oates cover record and the Fanfarlo 7″. Don’t worry, I have no shortage of music to get through.

NPR has a small feature piece on the start of and importance of record stores and Record Store Day.

Photos: Sloan @ Sonic Boom – April 17, 2010
Photos: The Tallest Man On Earth @ Criminal Records – April 17, 2010
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “King Of Spain”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Burden Of Tomorrow”
Video: Sloan – “Witch’s Wand”
Video: Sloan – “The Rest Of My Life”
Video: Sloan – “The Other Man”
Video: Sloan – “Money City Maniacs”
Video: Sloan – “The Lines You Amend”
Video: Sloan – “The Good In Everyone”
Video: Sloan – “Coax Me”
MySpace: Sloan

Blur’s Record Store Day reunion single “Fool’s Day” is now available to download off of their website in MP3 and WAV formats for free.

A note to anyone headed to tonight’s Specials show at the Sound Academy – you’ve probably been informed via official channels, but if not, tonight’s performance has been postponed due to medical emergency. Tomorrow and Wednesday’s shows in New York are still on, but the Toronto performance will take place the week of August 4 – same venue – at a precise date to be announced this week. Tickets for this show will still be valid for that show, refunds available at point of purchase until June 28. The Toronto Sun has an interview with guitarist Lynval Golding about the reunion.

Billboard talks to Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew about the long road to Forgiveness Rock Record, coming May 4 but streaming right now at NPR. They play the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Stream: Broken Social Scene / Forgiveness Rock Record

Also out May 4 – and sure to help create an unofficial Record Store Day customer surge that day – is Together from The New Pornographers. Carl Newman talks to Pitchfork about the records that have soundtracked his life thus far. They play the Sound Academy on June 15.

Spinner talks to Metric about going the independent route for the release of Fantasies last year.

The National Post talks to Tony Dekker of Juno award nominees Great Lake Swimmers. It’s about the Junos, which is why I mentioned it. Not because they’re important or anything.

Tragic news from You Say Party! We Say Die!, whose drummer Devon Clifford passed away on Saturday night after suffering a brain aneurysm onstage Friday evening. CBC Radio 3 has official statements from the band’s label and Clifford’s family while The Globe & Mail reports on some of his good works in the community. Deepest sympathies go out his friends and family. Update: There’s a beautiful tribute up at the Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver’s Salteens will release their first album in forever (seven years, actually) in Grey Eyes later this Summer – but first will come the Moths EP on May 11; stream the EP at their Bandcamp and download a track now.

MP3: The Salteens – “Hallowed Ways” chats with Dan Mangan, whose April 22 show at the Horseshoe is just about sold out. Hesitate further and lose completely.

June 9 will be the date of a very special benefit concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall. Alli’s Journey is a charity dedicated to providing support and resources for young people battling cancer, and their annual Take My Hand benefit show will take place at the when and where noted above, and with the following who’s: Jully Black, Amanda Martinez, Ohbijou, Dan Mangan, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Aion Clarke and Evening Hymns, with more still to be announced. Floor tickets are on sale now for $99 (scroll down), and cheaper balcony seats will be available come May. It’s great music for a great cause.

And perhaps of interest to folks who like getting paid for stuff – there’s a pretty cool company looking for participants for some live music research. If you live in Toronto, New York, or LA, fill out this survey to apply; if you’re selected, they’ll pay you $25 for half an hour of your time. And if you’re wondering, I do know the people doing this and they’re legit. Their cheques will clear.

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Heart Of Gold

Chromewaves co-presents Paper Bag Records showcase at SXSW 2010

Photo By Todd DuymTodd DuymI can appreciate that relations between Canada and the United States might be a bit strained today, following last night’s Olympic men’s hockey gold medal game – or at least between Canada and the dozen or so Americans who care about hockey – but perhaps this gesture of musical ambassadorship will help ease tensions a little bit.

When I head down to SxSW each year, going to see Canadian acts is usually near the bottom of my list of things to do. Not because it’s not worthy of my attention – far from it – but living in Toronto, I get more than my share of opportunities to see the best of Canadian talent so to fly all the way down to Texas to see those same acts seems… inefficient. But that in no way, shape or form means that I don’t heartily endorse those who aren’t so fortunate as to live in one of the major hubs of Canadian music to take the Sx opportunity to see said acts – so with that in mind, I’m very pleased to be co-presenting the official Paper Bag Records showcase at SxSW this year.

The show will kick off at 8PM with Montreal’s CFCF, though he’ll be handling DJ duties rather than performing pieces from his album Continent. Then it will be the one non-PBR act on the bill, Toronto’s choral-gospel blues choir Bruce Peninsula at 9PM, followed by Montreal electro-pop outfit Winter Gloves at 10PM. Toronto lo-fi rock outfit Little Girls showcases their debut Concepts at 11 and then it’s an all-out electro-rock dance party to wind things out, first with Woodhands and their latest Remorscapade at midnight and Vancouver’s disco-rock heroes You Say Party! We Say Die!, who are finally allowed back into the US following some immigration misunderstandings a few years ago, just in time for them to introduce their latest xxxx to America. Update: Well, my description on how the night will arc won’t be quite right – some set times have moved around, and it will now go: CFCF @ 8, BP @ 9, LG @ 10, WH @ 11, WG @ 12, YSPWSD @ 1. Everything else remains true.

To those headed to Austin in mid-March, the Paper Bag showcase will be taking place on Thursday, March 18 at Speakeasy, located at 412 South Congress Ave at West 5th St. And to those not, some/all of the acts on the bill may be coming to you. YSP!WSD! are making the most of their US visas with dates all over America through March before coming back to Canada including an April 2 date at the Horseshoe. Woodhands are crossing the continent through April, including a hometown show at the Opera House on March 13. Bruce Peninsula are making a couple of US stops en route to Austin and have a handful of Ontario dates in the Spring, including a March 25 show at The Garrison. YSP!WSD! are featured are Blogcritics and Sentimentalist. Uptown and See talk to Woodhands.

MP3: You Say Party! We Say Die! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Factories” (alternate)
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: CFCF – “Monolith”

Also noteworthy on the SxSW front is a day show taking place on Thursday, March 18 at the Flamingo Cantina on East 6th St at Red River and co-presented by Team Clermont and my associates at MBV Music. That show, which kicks off at noon, will feature Venice Is Sinking, Jeremy Jay, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Jookabox, Dengue Fever and Califone. Plus a special guest headliner whom, if it’s who I’ve heard it might be, will be a hell of a finish. So yeah, drop by. Have a drink. It’ll be a good time.

MP3: Califone – “Funeral Singers”
MP3: Dengue Fever – “Sober Driver”
MP3: Jookabox – “You Cried Me”
MP3: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees – “Flocks 1”
MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Breaking The Ice”
MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Compass”

Okay, back to now and not Spring Break. There’s a new video available from Love Is All’s forthcoming Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, out March 23. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 3.

Video: Love Is All – “Kungen”

jj have a new video for the first single from No 3, due out March 9. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4.

Video: jj – “Let Go”

To anyone curious as to what Jonsi has in store for his two night stand at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1, check out this video about the making of his stage set. His solo debut Go is out March 23.

Ca Va Cool interviews Shout Out Louds. They play The Mod Club on May 8.

The Hamilton Spectator has a feature piece on Owen Pallett, who plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Volume 8 of The Line Of Best Fit’s Oh! Canada mixtape series is now up for grabs.