Tuesday, November 30, 2004

All Possibilities

  • concert review: Badly Drawn Boy w/ Adem @ Palais Royale(Toronto, Ontario), November 26, 2004

    Badly Drawn Boy @ Palais Royale: photo by Mike LigonLast Friday night was spent at the spectacular Badly Drawn Boy show at Palais Royale. Palais Royale is one of those venues I've rarely had the opportunity to visit since it doesn't book many shows. The Rolling Stones played a secret show their once, and Sloan's live album "4 Nights at Palais Royale" was recorded their. I'm sure there's been other artists that have played their but on the whole the venue's booking is pretty scarce. The change of venue for the show from the Phoenix Concert Theatre to Palais Royale was a welcome surprise. I've read about it's historical significance as a ballroom in the 1920's which showcased a number of swing greats; it has a sprung cantilever hardwood floor, supposedly the only one of its kind in Canada(although My Mean Magpie had dropped a comment my way a week or so ago informing me that The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver has a similar sort of floor). How strange that all those times I've spent bike riding down at the Waterfront Trail(near Sunnyside Beach) I had unknowningly passed Palais Royale on numerous occasions. The exterior was somewhat unassuming. The interior had an unfinished feel to it but it had a beautiful hardwood floor and a view out to the lake on one side. There was a raised stage at one end of the club and the lighting effects were decent. On the whole, it had a great atmosphere.

    Adem @ Palais Royale: photo by Mike LigonUp first were Domino Records artist Adem, two sort of unassuming Brit lads. Not knowing anything about them, I was fairly receptive from the get-go to their brand of pastoral folk-pop. I kept on hearing traces of Coldplay's Chris Martin in the vocals, although I'm sure that's more of a coincidence rather than imitation. I picked up a postcard at the merch table promoting Adem's CD which expressed comparisons to Nick Drake and while listening to their set, the Nick Drake comparisons really rang true, mostly in the pastoral nature of the music. Although quite mellow, a combination of beautiful melodies, emotive vocals and unique instrumentation kept the audience interested. Instrumentation was based primarily on one member playing acoustic guitar while the other member of the group on several unique instruments. Chatter at the back of the club was somewhat annoying but didn't seem to phase the band at all. Those of us near the front attentive enough to listen were rewarded with a beautiful set.

    As an aside, the evening wasn't all peachy. The doors to the venue which were scheduled to open at 7 pm didn't open until around 7:30 which meant waiting outside in the cold in the lineup to get into the venue. Then, once they started letting people in, the security check at the door was excrutiatingly slow. ...And I don't want to even mention the washrooms.

    Badly Drawn Boy @ Palais Royale: photo by Mike LigonBut back to the show. Adem was a more than appropriate opener for Badly Drawn Boy, in some respects reflecting the folk-pop side of Badly Drawn Boy. I remember reading a review of a Badly Drawn Boy show in Toronto a couple of years back; I think it was at Lee's Palace or the Phoenix, and apparently he had played an almost gruelling two hour show. I was more than prepared for a marathon music session this time. After what seemed like an eternity, Damon and the band made their way onto stage. The band consisted of guitar, bass, drums, flute, violin, cello and keyboards. The guitarist(and also Badly Drawn Boy's tour manager) doubled on keyboards; Damon also alternated between guitar and keyboards. The drums were off to the left side of the stage[interesting location for the drums] and the string section was to the right side of the stage while the keyboards took center stage.

    Damon took an interesting approach to the set; he introduced the set to be comprised of, first, the "One Plus One is One" album in its entirety, then a short intermission, and then the band coming back to play some old favourites. I haven't check out the recent album but from the show I liked what I heard. The album sounded a little more consistent than "Have You Fed The Fish?" which had its share of stinkers. Alternating between orch-pop standards, jazzy instrumentals and folky troubadour-ing, the live version of "One Plus One is One" was extremely satisfying. Damon was quite the storyteller, showing himself to be quite the sentimentalist. Damon told a story about meeting Bruce Springsteen about 5 years ago, how his song "Thunder Road" meant so much to him, how he gave his son Oscar the middle name 'Bruce', how he met up with Bruce several years later, how Bruce during one concert dedicated a song to Damon and his son Oscar, and how that moment was one of the most important points in his life. Great story, and Damon even apologized to the heckler[who Damon called a wanker or such] who had interrupted him during his story. If only, Damon had played "Thunder Road", that would have been perfect. Instead, I believe he played "Life Turned Upside Down".

    When Damon and the band returned after the short intermission, they played a bunch of old favourites including "A Minor Incident", "Silent Sigh", "Have You Fed The Fish?", "The Shining", and "You Were Right", although no "All Possibilities" which I was deeply disappointed in not hearing. Towards the end of the show, Damon took on the persona of a soul singer, spewing out a series of non-sensical, stream-of-consciousness lyrics about everything and nothing, which lead into him introducing the band with the most creative(and funny) descriptions EVER. I could go on gushing about the show ad nauseum: how the lighting effects were spectacular and colourful, how wonderful the string section and flute arrangements sounded, how enjoyable Damon's stage banter and stories were, and how everyone on stage seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. It's a night I'll remember for a long time. I didn't think anything could beat the PJ Harvey show this year at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, but the Badly Drawn Boy show at Palais Royale comes close. At one point in the night, Damon said that Toronto was one of the best stops on the tour so far; and yes it definitely felt like it.

    [photos from the show]

  • Monday, November 29, 2004

    This Monkey's Gone To Heaven

  • concert review: Pixies w/ The Datsuns, The Marble Index @ Arrow Hall(Mississauga, Ontario), November 25, 2004

    Joey Santiago of the Pixies @ Arrow Hall(Mississauga, Ontario), November 25, 2004: photo by Mike LigonI thought Kool Haus was big. Damn, Arrow Hall is like a freakin' airplane hangar; it's cavernous. I thought the Pixies were one band that I'd never get to see live when they broke up originally in the early 90's, but lucky me got to see them TWICE this year. My friend and I went to Coachella back in May and the Pixies played the first of the two nights, preceding Radiohead's headlining set. I wasn't nearly as close to the stage for that show at that show as I was for the Arrow Hall show, but I enjoyed the Pixies' Coachella set nonetheless. Us lucky Southern Ontarians got the Pixies for two nights, and my friend and I attended the second of the two nights. From my impression(after reading Frank's account of the first night), it seems that the second night may have possibly been the better night[at least I'd like to think so]. Firstly, on the night of the second show, my friend and I escaped relatively unscathed weather-wise; it was a bit cold but otherwise we didn't have any of rain/freezing rain that occurred the night before. Secondly, the second night wasn't sold out and I'd assume that in a venue as large as Arrow Hall, that would have drastically improved the odds of getting a half-decent view of the stage.

    My friend and I showed up during The Marble Index's set, during which many people were hanging out at the beer area near the back while a throng of interested fans were near the stage watching The Marble Index's set; my friend and I passed on the beer because of the lineup and decided to watch The Marble Index. The Marble Index are a trio, from Hamilton, Ontario as I was told by my friend. I expected not to like them for whatever reason but actually started to enjoy some of their songs. On some songs, like on their current Edge 102.1-played singled "I Believe", they had a slight garage rock sound. They reminded me of The Strokes on some of their melodic rough-hewn songs and the lead singer had vocals reminiscent of the Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli. In the end, they weren't as interesting as either of those bands, and maybe the trio dynamic wasn't cutting it for me for the music they do, but otherwise I'd be interested in what they do next.

    The Datsuns, with their brand of riff-heavy, guitar-solo, ear-pounding rock music, were on next. I'd already rolled up tissue and put them in my ears during The Marble Index's set and I DEFINITELY needed the ear protection for The Datsuns. They are really LOUD. Combining the best elements of AC DC, Led Zepplin, Motorhead and folkier terrain like Neil Young, I enjoyed them for what they were. Their brand of cock-rock is usually not my thing but the music definitely has a place in my collection when I get tired of listening to Belle and Sebastian for the umpteenth time.

    And then the Pixies! The members of the band took the stage and at that point, the previously-subdued crowd burst out into frenzied excitement. The band looked surprisingly refreshed considering the gruelling tour they've been on for the past year. The gentlemen of the band were all donning the newly shaved/bald look, Mr. Frank Black in his dark sunglasses, and Kim Deal was looking healthier, youthful, and cuter than ever(despite the occasional cigarrete). The Pixies ploughed through a spectacular set of songs(with nary a nod to the audience) alternating between their hits("Wave of Mutiliation", "This Monkey's Gone To Heaven", "Here Comes Your Man", etc...) and their punk-rock freakouts. So despite the lack of stage banter, the band seemed very chipper and happy to be playing for us Canadians, and Kim Deal, at least once, made the effort to say 'thanks' to the audience. Frank Black was quite laid back , with a demeanor of coolness, but showed his eccentric, schizophrenic side, especially during his lyrical Spanish ramblings on certain songs. Later on in the show Joey Santiago played out his guitar-god fantasies when he unstrapped his guitar strap and created a feedback loop with his guitar and amp. When the feedback loop was fairly consistent, Mr. Santiago pulled out the drumstick and rhythmically started to tap the guitar strings to wicked effect. This normally could have been taken as self-indulgent meanderings but was actually a rather enjoyable interruption in the set. Take it as the Pixies' version of jamming. I waited the entire evening to hear Kim Deal sing "Gigantic" and was rewarded with the band closing the set with the song. I can't remember a time when I was more disappointed that a band's set had ended, even given the fact that my legs were tired from standing on the hard, concrete floor. However, given the adrenalin-rush of the Pixies' set, I was definitely ready to hear more and so were the rest of the fans. Frank, Joey, Kim and David came together on stage to say their final goodbyes it seemed, staring out into the audience, smiling and absorbing all the good vibes emanating from the audience. In certain respects, it felt like they had played their last show and I was feeling sorta choked up. Maybe it was the last time I'd see them and I wanted an encore. So as the band continued to stand on stage, look into the audience and wave at the fans, we continued to clap, shout and scream. At one point, David Lowering was shaking his wrist, motioning to the audience that he was hurting. The band looked at each other and at David and then with an encouraging look into the audience, motioned to us that they'd play one more song, despite his hurt wrist. ;-) This whole scene could have easily been set up as such from the get-go, but it all seemed sincere, and we were glad to get our encore. From the opening acoustic guitar strains, to Kim Deal's familiar background vocals, the Pixies closed the evening with a stirring rendition of "Where Is My Mind?". Although slightly heavier, and some a little balder, the Pixies proved they still got it. And if the rumours of a new album are true, who said dreams can't come true?

    [photos from the show]

  • Largehearted Boy points us to some Arcade Fire torrents while More Cowbell has some photos(as well as related links to other New York Area Bloggers) of a recent Arcade Fire show in New York City. And More Cowbell says that there'll soon be an Arcade Fire fan site at www.arcadefire.net.

  • More Cowbell also says that current-Jayhawks front man, Gary Louris, and ex-member, Mark Olson, are reuniting for some duo shows in February and that Golden Smog will also be recording an album(hopefully with Jeff Tweedy) also in February.

  • chartattack reports that The Organ has lost its bassist Ashley Webber, who has left the band.

  • And if waiting for Death Cab For Cutie to return to Toronto seems like an eternity, well you can always buy a t-shirt. The DCFC Store has reopened!

  • Sunday, November 28, 2004

    Mellow Down Easy

    Holly Golightly: photo from http://www.athensnewspapers.com/stories/100903/roc_20031009027.shtmlSo lately I haven't had a chance to keep up with the reviews of shows I've been to over the last week...so I'm still planning to post comments and photos of the Pixies show at Arrow Hall in Mississauga this past Thursday as well as the Badly Drawn Boy show in Toronto at Palais Royale on Friday. Stay tuned please.

    Spent the the afternoon today with a friend checking out the new Vaughn Mills Centre just north of Toronto. What a monstrosity of a mall. I guess the folks up that way need somewhere to shop too. It did have one store called One's which I found interesting; it seemed to be a Japanese-based store with a lot of household items, gifts, toys and a variety of different do-dads. Basically, stuff you'd normally have to go to a Japanese gift shop for.

    Now, I'm pondering going down to the Horseshoe Tavern to check out the Holly Golightly show tonight. I picked up her CD "Up The Empire" a couple of months ago. I've read she even made a cameo on The White Stripes "Elephant". She reminds me of a garage-y, bluesier version of Neko Case, although if anything Neko Case could have been influenced by Holly Golightly since Holly's been in the music scene for a good fifteen years. And man, does she know how to belt out a mean sinister blues vocal. Eye has a brief interview with the talented Ms. Golightly.

    I have a day off work tomorrow which'll be spent relaxing and finishing(well actually starting and finishing) an assignment for my Dreamweaver course. Oh, procrastination.

    Thursday, November 25, 2004


    This'll be short and sweet:

    The Pixies rocked tonight at Arrow Hall in my hometown of Mississauga! Just had to get that out of my system. Maybe I'll have more to say tomorrow.

    And if you're interested in mp3's of 'fine girl pop', check out blowupdoll. [via cha cha charming]

    Good night and sleep tight. ...and tomorrow Badly Drawn Boy @ Palais Royale!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    Thank You Good Night Sold Out

    The Dears: photo from http://www.undertheradarmag.com/issue4/dears.htmlTiny Mix Tapes reports that The Dears are going on tour in North America in December, starting in San Francisco on December 1st and working it's way eastward, ending in Buffalo on December 18th. And according to The Dears' message board, the band'll be hitting the road for a UK tour starting on January 23rd of next year and continuing on into February. ...So maybe between December 18th and January 23rd, they'll be able to squeeze in a Toronto date. We can only hope. [photo credit(left): Aaron Seligman]

    controller.controller have started recording for their new album and will be taking some time off from touring for a couple of months after next month. During the month of December, the band'll be playing some select shows including one in New York City on the 9th, and four more in Ontario, ending a monumental 2004 with a New Year's Eve gig in Toronto at El Mocambo! [info from the band's site]

    Unfortunately, I missed both of The Secret's Toronto gigs[Sneaky Dees earlier in the month and their show at Rancho Relaxo on Monday night]. I guess it wasn't meant to be. I've been living vicariously through Dave's photos of the girls' show in Halifax on November 17, 2004 at Ginger's Tavern. [via Plumtree Yahoo! Group]

    The Trashcan Sinatras are going on a radio promo and acoustic shows tour in December playing select U.S. cities. The band heads to the UK/Ireland in January 2005, then hopefully go to Japan in February/March. The band's planning to come back to North America soon thereafter, including a stop at SXSW(March 16-19). The guys are targeting the UK and Europe music festival circuit for the spring and summer of 2005. Phew! And finally, the band's working through the video footage filmed during this year's tour and plans to release a tour dvd in early 2005. [from e-mail update from www.trashcansinatras.com]

    Toronto psych-pop outfit The Old Soul play a CD release at the Rivoli in Toronto Friday evening. Eye gives the band's debut 4 stars. I caught part of their set earlier in the month, and damn, were they impressive considering I only heard 3 or 4 songs. Fans of the Elephant 6 collective will want to take note.

    And finally the Pixies @ Arrow Hall in Mississauga tomorrow! Can't wait!

    Monday, November 22, 2004

    Gimme The Fever

  • concert review: The Fever w/ The Uncut, From Fiction @ El Mocambo(Toronto, Ontario), November 19, 2004

    Last Friday I caught the show at the El Mocambo featuring The Fever with The Uncut and From Fiction. I'm not a big El Mocambo fan which is surprising considering it's clean and has a nice atmosphere. However, I think I've realized why I usually don't like the El Mocambo. During quieter shows, the spectators at the tables are sitting down and persons left standing[like myself] are usually relegated off to the sides. At least the times I've gone there, people are so laid back that no one ventures up to the front of the stage to watch the band. The show this past Friday was in all respects a much louder and more energetic show than anything I've seen at the El Mocambo, so myself and a bunch of others staked out our spots at the front of the stage to watch the show.

    From Fiction at El Mocambo(Toronto, Ontario), November 19, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon
    First up were From Fiction who are four young gentlemen from Hamilton, Ontario. I actually walked in midway through their set, but by golly, were they loud. I made a beeline to the bar, grabbed a beer, rolled up some tissue paper and put them in my ears. Their music had a great start-stop dynamic with angular guitar arrangements and rhythms with a invigorating math-rock influence. I actually was quite impressed when the band played instrumentally and I felt that the vocals sometimes were a distraction. The drummer's proficiency was apparent, with his intense rhythmic style. The two guitarists and bassist were exciting to watch on stage as they contorted their bodies and sauntered about on stage amidst the angular guitar sounds. Vocally, I was reminded of the Archers of Loaf's Eric Bachmann, sort-of rough-hewn and scratchy. The band members were younger than I anticipated but definitely had the skills. And they know how to bring the rock.

    The Uncut at El Mocambo(Toronto, Ontario), November 19, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon
    The Uncut were up next. So when did they add the 'The' in front of their name? I'm a fan of their Joy Division/New Order-esque guitar-rock sound. That night the vocals seemed rougher than I remembered the first time I saw them. Maybe the guys were a bit tired from all the touring they've been doing recently. As usual, the music's backed with solid drumming and meaty basslines. Co-vocalist Ian Worang got into Slipknot-mode as he slung his guitar low and hunched over his body as he played his guitar. Other co-vocalist Sam Goldberg sang vocals on a couple of songs including an interesting tune which he introduced as a waltz; interestingly enough, it had a waltz-like feel and was a definite departure from their usual guitar-rock sound. And did I mention that Mr. Goldberg reminds me of a young Liam Gallagher, although not nearly enough that I'd want to kick his ass. ;-) The band played selections from their debut CD, including "Taken In Sleep" which just gets me everytime! Nothing mind-shattering, but a thoroughly enjoyable set nonetheless.

    The Fever at El Mocambo(Toronto, Ontario), November 19, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon
    The Fever were basically unknown to me musically. I've read their name in all the music mags and particularly New York-oriented blogs and managed to check out a song sample or two on the 'net. I anticipated a sound that would fit into the [almost-played out, although I still like it]dance-punk genre. The gentlemen have the New York/Strokes-ish look that I guess is in vogue nowadays. And musically, I'd say they're not too far off from the dance-punk genre, albeit with less of an art-punk/'The Rapture' sound and more of a new-wave sound. I kept on thinking they reminded me of a more intense, male-vocal based Blondie. Definitely, more accessible than The Rapture and had The Fever capitalized on the dance-punk sound that was all in vogue last year, well who knows. The Fever's lead vocalist did his best to play up the rock star poses, staring into the eyes of one girl as he sang on one song, and laying his hand on the head of an energetic fan, seemingly drawing upon the fan's energy into his own body. The lead guitarist impressed me with his creative guitar arrangements and the drummer laid down some funky rhythms. The bassist and keyboardist rounded out the sound, providing a solid foundation for the new-wave, dance-punk songs. All in all, good music to sweat a few pints of perspiration to.

    [photos from the show]

  • Sunday, November 21, 2004

    In Exile Deo

    Juliana Hatfield: photo from http://publicity.rounder.com/artistpages/jhatfield.htmlJuliana Hatfield's touring in December along the northern U.S. east coast and upper midwest, and I would think Toronto'll make the cut for a date sometime early next year, hopefully. Her most recent album "In Exile Deo" came out in May of this year. [photo credit(left): Danny Clinch]

    Just a reminder, but the Badly Drawn Boy show originally scheduled for November 26 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre will now be held at the Palais Royale. I've never been there. I've read that it used to feature alot of swing greats back in the 1920's and it has the only sprung, cantilever hardwood floor in the country. [I heard the floor has a bounce to it!] Parking shouldn't be an issue because the lots along Sunnyside Beach are free. This show should be great!

    Esthero's site[on one of the introductory splash pages] is streaming her new song "We R In Need of a Musical Revolution". It's quite a departure from her trip-hop, downtempo roots. It still has soul but is slightly more rock-oriented than I would have expected. It's a good song though. Also, according to the news update yesterday, her "We R In Need of a Musical Revolution" EP release date has been pushed back indefinitely.

    Saturday, November 20, 2004

    Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes

    Clementine and JoelI did make it out to The Fever/The Uncut/From Fiction show at the El Mocambo in Toronto yesterday, but I'll have to save the review for tomorrow. Also watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" yesterday. I started watching the movie before said show, ended up talking on the phone with a friend for about an hour, then headed down to the show, came back home, and decided to finish off the rest of the movie. [I had to return the movie the next day because I was only borrowing it from my friend and it was due.] Overall, an imaginative, poignant, and at times gut-wrenching film. I'm gonna have to buy this and watch it again.

    BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe has the lowdown on why Gene split. Basically, what Gene's Martin Rossiter said was that the response to their last album "Libertine" was "beyond underwhelming... it just didn't sell", even though he considers it their best album. He continues that he did not want to undervalue those songs by touring every six months and playing the same songs. And he'd rather not turn the band into a nostalgia thing. So in the end, I think the band made the right decision although I hope this isn't necessarily the last we've heard of the band. Gene's last gig will be at the Astoria in London on December 16...I'll be looking for the torrent soonafter.

    Torontoist shows how to get a free CD sampler from Absolutely Kosher. Well, I'm game. I've just sent my e-mail. Dum, dum, dum, dum, dummm...

    The melee at the end of the Pacers/Pistons game yesterday was sure UGLY. The players in question[Artest, O'neal, Jackson] should have shown restraint and'll likely face some sort of fine, but I say, ban the asshole fans who threw stuff onto the court, from coming to NBA games for at least 2 years. [read the details at NBA.com and check out pop(all love) for more links on the story] Update: 4 players have been suspended indefinitely. [from Yahoo! Sports]

    Georgina at Splendid confesses to 13 CDs she's owned but never listened to. ...oh, how I can relate.

    Thursday, November 18, 2004

    Overcome By Happiness

    Pernice BrothersThe Pernice Brothers' news update[dated November 19th, 2004] has everything you'd want to know about their new live 2-disc set(one CD and one DVD) being released next month. As well, the new Pernice Brothers album will likely be coming out in March 2005 rather than February, what with Joe Pernice moving up to Canada with wife Laura. Or as the news update puts it: "move to Canada" = "new record later than expected"

    Sarah Liss of NOW reviews the Devendra Banhart show in Toronto last week at the Music Gallery. Damn, I didn't know there was only 200 people at the show. Now, I feel special for being there. Although, if my little ol' review seems a tad too positive, I could add that the extended jam that Devendra and band performed to end their encore went on a tad too long. ...Or maybe, it's just that my ingrown toenail was fucking killing me that night.

    Guided By Voices on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, December 2, 2004. [from Matador Records news]

    My Indie World makes a case for Annie. And I for one am convinced.

    Eye has its annual Holiday Record Guide and NOW has its annual Disc Guide as well. Hopefully making my Christmas shopping this year easier.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    Speak To Me Someone

    To See The LightsThe rumours have been confirmed...Gene are calling it quits. :-( I'm so sad to see 'em go, but glad that I caught them live at least once, a couple of years ago at Lee's Palace in Toronto. ..."Martin Rossiter has confirmed that Gene's upcoming live show at the London Astoria will be their last, following over 10 years of writing and performing alongside Steve Mason, Kevin Miles and Matt James. No more live shows, and no more new material." ...[News from the You'll Never Walk Again Yahoo! Group.]

    The Ted Leo site has gone through a redesign! [from The Big Ticket]...And if you haven't check his music out yet, what better place than to start with the 14 MP3's Ted Leo has posted on his site[under the audio section]

    Bright Eyes are[is?] going on tour and will be making a stop-over in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on January 21, 2005. [news from More Cowbell...oh, and Frank also reported this at 20hz]...This is the dude who went out with Winona Ryder for a bit. I heard his version of "Blue Christmas"; it was good, in a acoustic, country-ish sort of way, but I'm wondering what all the fuss is about?

    There are some surprisingly good indie/alternative mp3 downloads at Abercrombie & Fitch. Who'd have thought? [from Soviet Panda]

    Hamilton's From Fiction will be recording with Steve Albini at the end of February 2005 [from 20hz] Based on their mp3 of "Car Thief" available at their website which I'd heard during the summer, I've been meaning to pick up their E.P.....oh, and according to 20hz, From Fiction will be playing their last show in Toronto for 2004, with Uncut and The Fever[from NYC] at the El Mocambo on November 19th, which is this Friday. I'm so there... Well, at least I hope so.

    ...oh, and go see The Incredibles...because, well it's, umm...fantastic! You thought I was going to say 'incredible', didn't you?

    Monday, November 15, 2004

    Together In Electric Dreams

  • concert review: Lali Puna w/ Styrofoam, The Go Find @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), November 15, 2004

    On the day of the show, I discovered that the bands on the bill were all label-mates having released music on the Morr Music label out of Berlin, Germany. The label's Yahoo! match description describes the label as progenitors of IDM[which I've come to realize means 'Intelligent Dance Music'] and electronica. Morr Music's site currently has a tour schedule that promises "to treat audiences all over the U.S. and Canada to a night full of proper indie-pop and live electronics" and the Styrofoam sound sample[on the Morr Music site] even credited Ben Gibbard. With all this info in mind I was totally psyched to catch the whole show.

    The Go Find or Styrofoam?: photo by Mike LigonHad I not been famished and stopped to grab a bite before the show, I would probably been able to make it for the beginning of The Go Find's set. Unfortunately, I missed about the first 20 minutes of their set. The band is comprised of 3 gents on keyboards, guitar, and bass. And to make things more confusing, the same guys who were on stage as The Go Find later come on stage as Styrofoam. I came to realize[after reading an article in NOW]that Styrofoam is Arne Van Petegem's project while Dieter Sermeus is the brains behind The Go Find. And the other dude...well I guest he just plays guitar. Hey, combining band members is efficiency at its best! Although considering I had never heard either of those bands, it was hard to tell the difference[if there was one at all] between the two. Given the fact that I had ducked out of Lee's Palace after The Go Find's set for a bit then came back just as Styrofoam were taking the stage, it all seemed like one set to me. So forgive me for not distinguishing between the two. I can say that both bands to varying degrees had a way of achieving a balance within their respective sets between indie-rock thrash and electropop-isms. And yes, when Deter sang especially[and no, he did not have a German accent], Styrofoam/The Go Find sounded alot like The Postal Service.

    Lali Puna @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), November 13, 2004: photo by Mike LigonEver since hearing Lali Puna's subtle yet lovely take on the Moroder/Oakley 80's hit "Together In Electric Dreams", with its whispered girl-ish vocals, modest electronic beats and blips, and soothings synth sounds, I've been really intrigued to check 'em out further. Having missed Lali Puna on their last jaunt through Toronto(either last year or the year before), I was really glad that the band decided to come back to the city. Of course, most bands that create good music AND are fronted by an attractive female singer, will always get my attention. Lali Puna is fronted by the lovely Valerie Trebeljahr on vocals and keyboards, and is rounded out by a trio of gentlemen on keyboards/samplers, drums and guitar. The Stereolab tshirt that Valerie was wearing notwithstanding, Lali Puna's music had an obvious affinity with Stereolab's pop-meets-drone sensibility. The electronic aspects[keyboards, samples, beats] were tasteful but never overpowered the organic elements[drums and guitars] and the overall pop sensibility of the music. I was really enamored with Valerie's girl-ish vocals which on a mellower tune like "Faking The Books" seemed to float in and of my subconscious, alongside the subtle electronic sounds and gentle strum of a guitar. Lali Puna are really a dichotomy, on one side quite laidback and sweet, but on the other side urgent and rhythmic. Such a dichotomy kept things interesting. The only technical problem I could recall was not being able to hear her vocals on one song, which did get resolved a minute or two into the song. Sporadically throughout the evening, Valerie humbly said her 'thank-yous', but not much else. But she did smile several times, which spoke a thousand words. Modesty was really the best policy that evening, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

    [photos here]

  • Sunday, November 14, 2004

    Oh Me Oh My

  • concert review: Devendra Banhart w/ Six Organs of Admittance [part of the Pop Avant series] @ Music Gallery(Toronto, Ontario), November 12, 2004

    Where else would a music fanatic such as myself be this past Friday night in Toronto but the Devendra Banhart show. Originally, I hadn't planned on going because I thought the show was sold out but then I picked up a copy of the Wavelength zine a couple of days before the show and it advertised Devendra's show as being sold out of ADVANCED tickets and tickets would be $15 at the door. Eye advertised the show as still having 'limited rush seating'. With that in mind, on the night of the show, I headed down to the Music Gallery a couple of hours before the show to hopefully buy a ticket at the door. After a little bit of a delay due to misjudging my shortcuts to get to the venue(which I had never been to before), I eventually found the place tucked away in a neighbourhood off John St., just north of Queen St. I was surprised it was actually a church. Well, the short of it is, I was lucky to get a ticket at the door because I overheard the ticket girl saying that they only had 10 more tickets to sell at the door. Woohoo! Although, considering I had really only heard a couple of Devendra's songs, you'd wonder why I'd be so excited. Well, let's just say that my intuition is pretty good about what I think I'll like and won't like, and I've been reading all the fawning praise over Devendra in the music press.

    The Music Gallery was an interesting choice of a venue. It's a church first of all. It's not a cathedral or anything but it is rather a small and fairly intimate environment. The pews were few and a little bit back from the stage area so I decided to grab a spot on the wood floor up near the front where some people already congregated. The religious imagery in the church was so subtle that it almost didn't feel like a church at times.

    Six Organs of Admittance [Ben Chasny] @ The Music Gallery in Toronto: photo by Mike LigonFirst up was Six Organs of Admittance, who is actually Ben Chasny. With just a guitar and his emotive singing, he sort of reminded me of Jeff Buckley. However, Ben has quite a more classical guitar technique, as he traversed his fret board in bursts of lightning fast speed. There was a folky influence combined with an almost avant-garde quality to his songs. Moments of awkward silence interrupted songs which by the expressions on Ben's face seemed to indicate that these silent passages were planned. I'm not quite sure of his intentions with regards to those moments of silence but in the end there was something very dramatic about hearing a hushness over the crowd so quiet that you could literally hear a pin drop. At other times, Ben's songs were a bit more conventional sounding. I won't necessarily classify him in the singer/songwriter-with-a-guitar category because for Six Organs of Admittance, the instrumentation was as important as the vocals, where for so many singer/songwriters with a guitar, the guitar playing is usually an afterthought.

    Devendra Banhart @ The Music Gallery in Toronto: photo by Mike LigonI was half expecting Devendra Banhart to be some sort of hippie, bohemian, poet eccentric after reading he'd been homeless for a time, and some of those publicity shots of his looked totally freaky, at least in my opinion. Ok, so maybe he was a bit of a bohemian eccentric, but in person he was much less weird than I thought he would be. He did encourage the same sort of love-in vibe that you've probably heard from the likes Anthony Keidis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Musically, Devendra and his band touched on a variety of influences, from appalchian folk, roots, church hymns, and reggae. The acoustics in the venue were really good, giving the music a warm rich tone that invaded every nook and cranny of the environment. Although, Devendra started out his set solo, and would later on perform a mini acoustic set later on in the evening, Devendra really succeeded with the full band versions of his songs. Devendra has a great singing style, his every utterance delivered with such a caress of his voice. As well, his bandmates, particularly the gent on guitar who sat directly to his right for most of the evening, displayed some great harmonizing. Devendra and band came back for one encore, performing a song that had a great Doors "Light My Fire" soft-loud dynamic, which towards the end got the audience into a frenzy. I'll have to delve into his catalogue and explore his music more closely but I was really impressed with him that evening. And I'm not the only one who was impressed. Zoilus and the missus were also there. ...and how could you not like Devendra, especially when he said he was impressed with Toronto's Wavelength zine!
    ...and ending a marathon(phew!) couple of weeks of going to shows, I went to the Lali Puna/Styrofoam/The Go Find show at Lee's Palace yesterday, so I'll hopefully post a review and some pics tomorrow.

  • Friday, November 12, 2004

    The clanking of crystal, explosions off in the distance

  • Death Cab For Cutie hit the big time!Death Cab for Cutie have hit the big time and signed with major label, Atlantic Records! Depending on your perspective, the exclamation mark at the end of that last sentence is entirely optional. I'm pretty happy for the band. I've been getting into the band over the last year or so and still haven't purchased any of their CD's because they're so expensive. I guess being on an indie sometimes means paying high prices for CD's because the label somehow has to break even with regards to the costs of manufacturing, distribution and promotion. My biggest concern actually is that the band's music is so damn good and they definitely should be compensated accordingly. I've never been an indie snob and I'm hoping everything works out well for the guys on the major label for years to come. [photo credit: Andrew Shapter]

  • Some concert announcements:
    -> controller.controller in Hamilton @ The Casbah on December 18 [from 20hz]...please note, this info has not been updated on the band's website yet.
    -> Matt Pond PA in Hamilton at The Casbah, December 6th [from 20hz]...so why aren't they playing the Toronto Ted Leo date in December? A shame because they have some nice tunes[check out the song samples at their site].
    -> The Killers at Kool Haus in Toronto on December 1, part of the Edge Electric Xmas series
    -> Fishbone at Lee's Palace on December 2...it's been too long, and I've never seen 'em live

  • Zero 7 is running a contest for budding remixers to remix their song "Warm Sound". The winner will be awarded a vinyl release through Atlantic Records, and also receive 25 vinyl copies of their remix. Download the vocal parts at the band's official web site. [from The Beat Surrender]

  • The Who will release a new album or originals hopefully next spring. Guys, please do no let us down. [from Billboard]

  • "As for the Pixies, the band is currently being followed around by a camera crew for an eventual DVD release. Black hints a possible summer 2005 street date for the set, documenting the reunion tour, as well as backstage interaction between band members." [from Billboard]

  • There's an article on The Secret and their current Canadian tour over at chartattack.

  • Well, I'm glad I picked up Jill Scott's "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2" as part of HMV's '2 for $25' CD sale. [BTW, that sale's pretty good and I've purchased a bunch of good CD's over the last several months's although I still wish they'd add more titles more often.] My first choice was Paul Weller's "Studio 150", which for some strange reason was only available at the sale price at the Yonge and Eglinton HMV location. I wanted to take advantage of the sale and the only other CD's that caught my attention were the Jill Scott CD[which I already had sampled at a listening booth at Futureshop one afternoon] and the Dogs Die In Hot Cars CD whose name I kept hearing about but who I hadn't had a chance to sample until today on the 'net...let's just say I think I made the right choice by getting the Jill Scott CD[listen to "Golden"]...Dogs Die In Hot Cars didn't do anything for me, unfortunately....they aren't bad, but compared to Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads, well...I still think I'd want to go see them live, but Ticketmaster says their upcoming show in Toronto @ Lee's Palace is cancelled...I was at Rotate This yesterday picking up a couple of Pixies tickets[finally] and overheard a dude ask one of the staff if tickets for the Dogs Die In Hot Cars show were on sale but the staff person at Rotate This didn't have any info about the show at all.

  • Thursday, November 11, 2004

    20cc's of D5W

  • concert review: Microbunny w/ LAL, The Empires @ The 360(Toronto, Ontario), November 10, 2004

    Microbunny: photo from http://www.newmusiccanada.com/genres/artist.cfm?Band_Id=6521I decided to check out the show at The 360 yesterday. I've never been there considering it's just down the street from the Horseshoe Tavern and the Rivoli, two venues I've been to many times. It's probably due to the fact that it's got a reputation as being a 'rock' club; I've seen listings for the club before but for the most part, the bands were either unknown to me or didn't appeal to me. So it was strange to see that Microbunny and LAL were going to play the venue. I'm not quite up to speed with Microbunny; I just bought their most recent CD "Dead Stars" recently but haven't listened to it much, although my impressions of it are good. They have a trip-hop, downtempo vibe with some dub/rock similarities to King Cobb Steelie, of which Microbunny's Al Okada used to belong to. LAL are trip-hop, downtempo as well but with a little more emphasis on electronic beats and jazz tendencies, with a slight South Asian influence(considering the ethnicity of LAL's primary members). The opening band was The Empires who I'd never heard of but was thoroughly interested in checking out after hearing their mp3's at their site.

    The Empires' music definitely has British influences, which if not quite shoegazer-ish, does lean more towards the Catherine Wheel brand of miasmic rock. The addition of keyboards on several songs was an interesting choice. At times, their driving guitars and rhythms reminded of another local band, Uncut. Sorry, I'm at a loss for words for anything else to say about the band, but I was definitely impressed and would guarantee that any of you music anglo-philes out there would dig 'em. I think NME would dig 'em also; the band's already half way there with their 'The' band name. :-)

    For the evening, LAL forgoed the band environment it chose for its Harbourfront gig this past summer, and performed as the duo[Rosina Kazi and Nick Murray] it originally set out as. There appeared to be a general disinterest amongst the sparse crowd of onlookers who for the most part seemed to be there to socialize and drink. Of course, there was the polite applause after each song. It's a shame. It must have been the wrong crowd. I, for one, was quite impressed. It wasn't so much about their stage presence as it was about the music. 'Murr' worked the equipment quite masterfully creating wonderfully sexy loops and beats. Rosina's demure jazzy vocal style, which I found at various times similar to Esthero or Louise Robinson of Lamb, was well suited to the beats laid down by her partner. Apparently there was a technical problem, at which time Rosina chose to improvise her lyrics and sing something along the lines of "I think the computer's crashed". Moments later the equipment was working again and Rosina sang something along the lines of "I'm so glad the computer's working again". Lyrically the band's quite in tune with topics such as their South Asian Heritage and the environment, and for the most part it's quite natural without ever sounding preachy. Set list was as follows from what I remember:

      Brown-eyed Warrior
      ? (something about the environment)

    Microbunny came on after midnight to a dwindling attendance but there was a hardcore group of us that held fort. During LAL's set I had taken up occupancy at a table towards the stage, alongside the wall of the soundbooth which was on the left side of the club. So I was quite comfortable for Microbunny's set. Microbunny took the stage and began their set quite non-chalantly. The band is a four-person set up with Al Okada on keyboards and guitar, Rebecca Campbell[taking over for Tamara Williamson who's apparently in France on tour] on lead vocals, keyboards and various instruments, and a couple of other guys on drums and stand-up bass. Rather than the trip-hop, downtempo vibe that I was expecting, in this live setting, Microbunny were much more varied sounding. I could draw similarities to Death Like Vegas, who like Microbunny, are much more than the sum of their influences. Microbunny have influences ranging from trip-hop, jazz-rock fusion, dub, and lounge. The shift between styles sounded quite natural and was tied together quite nicely by the gorgeous vocals of Rebecca Campbell. Al Okada was quite versatile, switching gears often midset between playing guitar and keyboards. The drumming was fantastic and was especially invigorating on the more dub-influenced rhythms. The stand-up bassist provided some solid basslines which sounded quite a bit more substantial than I usually hear from bass players. I have nothing else to say but I suggest letting the music speak for itself. I bought their self-titled CD at the show yesterday and have been digging it all day!

    I didn't take any photos from the night, but don't let that be any indication that the bands above are not worthy of your attention.

  • In other news, Rufus Wainwright will be at The Mod Club in Toronto on December 9th. [from foxymoron]

  • Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    I Got A Secret and I Can't Explain

  • Catriona (w/ Plumtree): photo from http://www.endearing.com/artists/plumtree/plumtree.htmlThe Secret[featuring ex-Plumtree member Catriona Sturton] are touring Canada. In actuality, Catriona used to be part of the band when she was living in Japan. So this is a reunion tour of sorts. Check out some mp3's here. Tour dates this month are as follows:

    Thu. 11 London, ON @ Grooves (afternoon in-store)
    Fri. 12 Hamilton, ON @ The Casbah
    Sat. 13 Windsor, ON @ The Carhole w/From Bubblegum To
    Sky, Low Tones
    Sun. 14 Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dees w/Uncut (Wavelength)
    Mon. 15 Guelph, ON @ The Ebar w/Whitebelt Octopus
    Tue. 16 Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange w/Quinzy
    Wed. 17 Halifax, NS @ Ginger's w/Al Tuck, Ashley
    Fri. 19 Sherbrooke, QC @ Le Magog
    Sat. 20 Ottawa, ON @ Zaphod Beeblebrox w/The Parkas
    Sun. 21 London, ON @ London Music Club w/Grassy Knoll
    Mon. 22 Toronto, ON @ Rancho Relaxo w/Spitfires &
    Mayflowers, The Bicycles

    [the original e-mail from Catriona can be read at the Plumtree Yahoo! Group]

  • Microbunny will be playing a show tonight @ the Rivoli in Toronto, with guests LAL and The Empires. Tickets $8. According to the Microbunny website, Rebecca Campbell will be taking over vocal duties from long-time collaborator Tamara Williamson. Update[3:57 pm]: The show appears to be at The 360 Club NOT the Rivoli. ...at least they're in spitting distance of each other.

  • Rumours of Gene breaking up[please no!] at the You'll Never Walk Again Yahoo! Group[Gene fan group]...on a related note, the Gideon Coe 6music[BBC] session originally broadcast on November 8, 2004, can be downloaded here

  • Teenbeat's Unrest will be reforming, as part of Teenbeat's 20th anniversary, for some shows in Washington D.C. on February 23rd, 24th and 25th of 2005. [from copacetic]

  • Just a reminder that Lederhosen Lucil is going on a Ontario fall tour starting today in Ottawa, and will be in Toronto on November 28th @ The Gladstone Ballroom.

  • The Londonist, part of the Gothamist ring, made it's unofficial launch yesterday. And Gothamist will also be launching in Toronto. [from daily refill dot com]

  • Amazon.ca has posted its editors' picks as well as customers' picks for the best of 2004, in categories ranging from music, DVD's, books, and so on.

  • Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar

    Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins @ Lula Lounge (Toronto, Ontario), November 8, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon

    concert review: Jonathan Richman w/ Jesse DeNatale @ Lula Lounge (Toronto, Ontario), November 8, 2004

    I'll keep this one brief as I only caught about 75% of Jonathan's set yesterday. He's playing Lula Lounge tonight and tomorrow also so I may just go down again to catch his full set. Considering all the shows I've been going to recently, I passed on going to the Matthew Sweet/Velvet Crush show yesterday, but at the last minute I decided to head down to see Jonathan Richman. It was a cheaper ticket and also, never having gone to Lula Lounge, I was curious to check it out. It would have helped if I wrote down the address for one thing, because for a good 15 minutes I was driving around Bloor St. when in reality it was on Dundas St. Even when I was on Dundas, I couldn't find it right away and had to visually scan the addresses going down the street. Eventually, my eyes landed upon Lula Lounge and I luckily found a parking spot just down the street from the venue. I unfortunately walked into the venue about 3 songs into his set already but the woman at the entrance did me a favoour charging me only $15.00 cover rather than the usual $20.00 at-the-door ticket price. Lula Lounge is quite a swanky place with beautiful wood floors and fixtures. There's a stage at the front with a floor area leading up to the stage. On either side of the floor area are dinner tables elevated just a step up from the floor area, separated from the floor area by beautiful wood banisters. Towards the back of the floor area on the left side was a swanky bar. For all its swankiness, Lula Lounge's web site says it doesn't have a dress code which was most apparent by the mixture of people there that night, from indie hipsters, to suburban couples and everything else in between.

    I missed Jesse DeNatale's set but walked in on Jonathan's set as he was playing "I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar". There were people in the audience that were obvious fans of his, especially those who I could audibly hear singing along to his songs. My knowledge of his music is pretty much limited to his album "You Must Ask The Heart" and unfortunately I didn't recognize any songs from the album that night. Otherwise, Jonathan sang and performed on guitar, accompanied with drummer Tommy Larkins, a set of quaint and playful pop ditties. Jonathan would often times between verses bust out into some spazz-tastic dance moves which drew a postively giddy response from the crowd. Between songs, Jonathan would often go into a stream-of-consciousness rambling in French or Spanish, that would get people laughing either because he actually said something funny in the language or, in my case, it just sounded funny. A highlight of the night was his performance of his song "Vincent Van Gogh" during which he performed a 'guitar solo'; well not 'solo' in the traditional sense, but he has a unique sense of chord progressions and finding interesting melodies. During these 'solos', instrumental breakdowns, or whatever you might call it, Tommy Larkin kept a solid backbeat while Jonathan often gazed hypnotically into the audience as he played his guitar. From where I was standing, I was hardly given the opportunity to take any decent pictures except for the one above which I had to airbrush some dude's head out of. In any case, I enjoyed Jonathan's all-too-brief set[it started around 10 pm and was over by 11 pm, and there wasn't an encore] . ...And I guarantee that you'll leave his show with a big grin on your face. :-)

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    Fuzzy Wuzzy

  • concert review: Luna w/ Wayne Omaha @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), November 7, 2004

    It couldn't have been a better band than Luna to drag my butt out to Lee's Palace on a Sunday Night, and thankfully, Luna was scheduled to come on at 10:15. Before them however were Toronto locals, Wayne Omaha. I've been hearing Wayne Omaha's name floating around for a few years now but never got around to seeing 'em. Although, I'm not sure it's entirely my fault for not seeing 'em live since I don't seem to remember seeing their band name much in the local Toronto music listings. Either the band chooses to perform infrequently, or, and this would be a shame, they have trouble getting booked. I choose to think the former. Sonically, Wayne Omaha has hints of Neil Young and Wilco, with solid drumming, tasty guitar playing, and invigorating melodies. I only caught about half of their set but was quite impressed and hope to catch them again live soon.

    Dean Wareham of Luna @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), November 7, 2004: photo by Mike LigonThinking back to at least two previous times over the last 5 years at which I could have caught Luna live, I can't fathom why I didn't make an effort to see them live before. I know they've headlined their own Toronto show before, and I also recall Luna opened for Yo La Tengo. [ok that second show, I actually TRIED to go to but it was sold out!] I mean, I've known about Luna for a while, first hearing a cassette of their album "Luna Park" from the public library back in the mid-90's, with such pop nuggets as "Anesthesia" and "Slash Your Tires". I quickly made a dubbed copy for myself and played the shit out of it. Then, of all places, at Walmart, in the cut-out bin, I found a cassette copy of "Bewitched" with tasty songs like "California(All The Way)", "Tiger Lily" and "Into The Fold". With their Toronto farewell show yesterday, I'm only realizing now how truly great this band was. The current and final incarnation of Luna, with Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall, took the stage at Lee's Palace to an unabashedly jubilant Toronto audience. I managed to snag a tasty spot up front near the stage to watch the show. The Dean Wareham in front of me at the time was definitely a demystification of the enigmatic figure I thought he would be. During the show he appeared positively approachable and if given the chance, I would have made an effort to compliment him on the wonderful show the band put on. Sean Eden, playing upon his Canadian origins at one point, was very chipper and playful. Britta and Lee were more laidback but then, they can't all be jokers. On record, Luna's tunes can be somewhat sleepy, but their live performance at Lee's Palace proved their versality and energy. The band played a pristine set of their 'hits' including "Chinatown" and "Tiger Lily", with such beautiful melodies that would make your knees buckle. Luna veered off into a flurry of instrumental noise at the end of one song, showing that they aren't the sleepy band they might be pegged as. Surprisingly, the band had an energy that had me bopping my head and almost dancing at times. The complexity of the guitar work on several songs was something I've never noticed before, and added a dimension to the music that made it much more interesting. Had I been more of a fan of the band before the show, I could have probably given you a song-by-song rundown of the show, but unfortunately I wasn't familiar with a majority of the songs. Nevertheless, the show has shown me the err of my ways, and I'll definitely be giving my Luna Cd's a more thorough listen. With the demise of Luna, I'm thankful that at least Dean and Britta are around to continue the family traditions. ...For another perspective, Frank was also at the show and has some fond things to say about it.

    [check out my photos]

  • Sunday, November 07, 2004

    Walking With Thee

  • concert review: Clinic w/ Sons and Daughters, Midnight Movies @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), November 5, 2004

    First band up that night were Midnight Movies who are a 3-piece from Los Angeles. I walked in a quarter ways into their set and made my way towards the stage where a small but interested crowd was watching the band while the majority of onlookers stood around the perimeter of the floor area. The band's crushworthy female drummer took lead vocal duties while the guys in the band took over bass, guitar, keyboard and programming duties. The sticker on their CD[which I bought at the show] describes their music as "sexy, spacey, psychedelic rock" which is an appropriate description. The vocals as well as the more droney aspects of their sound reminded me alot of Stereolab. At times, there was a slight electro-pop sound to their music, especially with the looping programmed sounds from their Mac laptop. I thought the keyboard playing on one song was a little off time signature but otherwise the vocalist's drumming was adequate, if not interesting, and the guitarist was fairly proficient. Some poster at the band's website guestbook was critical of the band, accusing them of playing up the attractive lead female on drums angle, but I say more power to 'em. After all, who necessarily wants ugly rock stars?

    Sons and Daughters: photo by Mike LigonSons and Daughters from Scotland were up next and were damn exciting to watch up close. The previous time I had seen them was opening up for Franz Ferdinand this past summer at the cavernous Kool Haus in Toronto. The guitars were amazingly punchy while the bass and drums seemed to resonate through the wooden fixtures of Lee's Palace. Their music combined some rootsy elements(a country twang, some folky elements like banjo) with a rockier side(the aformentioned guitar sound) and some nice melodies. The co-lead vocalists, male and female, were most successful with their vocal interplay on "La Lune" which sees saw the vocalists exchanging "La La La La La"'s with each other, each exchange growing in intensity from the last. The band played songs off their "Love The Cup" CD which was recently rereleased on Domino Records [the original release being on Ba Da Bing! ]. Speaking to the male vocalist at the merch table after the show, I complimented the band on putting on a marvelous set.

    Clinic: photo by Mike LigonClinic, sporting their usual hospital scrubs and surgical masks, made their way on to stage amongst amidst a rousing sound of applause and cheers from the crowd. Learning from Sons and Daughters' set that me standing near the front in front of the speakers without ear plugs isn't wasn't necessarily a good idea, for Clinic's set I decided to stick some rolled-up tissue paper into my ears. Sons and Daughters were not really that loud of a band except for some punchy guitar arrangements but Clinic were definitely not a band that you would want to stand in front of the speakers without ear protection. The rolled-up tissue substitute for ear plugs helped greatly. With my hearing protected, I watched and enjoyed Clinic's set from from the elevated level just left of the stage. [Actually, I also watched Sons and Daughters' set from that vantage point.] That was probably one of the best unobstructed views I've ever had of a concert ever. Clinic played a set of energetic art-punk tunes that at various times reminded me of The Fall and Public Image Limited. There was a prominent organ sound on tunes like "Walking With Thee"(pretty much the only song of theirs I knew by name) and other songs which I recognized off their CD "Walking With Thee". The lead vocalist also used an interesting instrument that had a keyboard and a tube that one would blow into; it sounded sort of like a mini-accordion. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get more acquainted with their music and I would have loved to been one of those in the audience yelling out each time the band introduced their next song by name. Otherwise, for someone unfamiliar with their music in general, I was quite impressed. The band came back for two one-song encore's that started and stopped with corporate efficiency. With a "good-night Toronto" or whatever the band said after their second encore, the band left the stage like Batman[another masked man ;-)] disappearing into the night.

    [check out my photos here]

  • Friday, November 05, 2004

    Dead Disco

    Emily Haines of Metric: photo from http://www.mcgilldaily.com/view.php?aid=1710Zedtv has Metric's live performance of "Dead Disco" and "Combat Baby" in streaming video! During the "Dead Disco" live performance, Emily goes through a sort-of singing role-call of all the 'cool' Canadian bands/artists she wants to see on TV including The Unicorns, Death From Above, Stars, Broken Social Scene, Feist, The Dears, and The Constantines! [by the way, each video file can be accessed by clicking on the 'collaboration' tab on the appropriate page.] [link from Metric's page; photo credit: Jenna Wakani]

    The Organ will appear as themselves on a video shoot for their song "Brother" for an upcoming episode of "The L Word," "the Showtime dramatic series that revolves around a group of Los Angeles lesbians, and stars Jennifer "Flashdance" Beals, Erin "One Hour Photo"/"House of 100 Corpses" Daniels, Pam "Coffy"/"Jackie Brown"/"Foxy Brown" Grier, Katherine Moennig who appeared in an Our Lady Peace video, and others???" This will premiere on February 27, 2005, but darn it I don't get Showtime. :-( [from Mint Records]

    Producer extraordinaure Stephen Street will guest DJ tonight in London, England where indie pop club night 'How Does It Feel To Be Loved?' will be playing Peel's entire 1986 'Festive Fifty' in order, as a tribute to the late Radio One DJ, and Street is due to play a set of indie and soul classics. [from dotmusic]

    PopMatters offers up quite an 'interesting' argument as to why letting all the Americans(fed up with living under another George W. Bush leadership) emigrate to Canada could be Canada's gain!

    chartattack reviews The Futureheads show at Lee's Palace in Toronto that I went to on Monday. [link from 10:51am Toronto]

    Pitchfork review the new Neko Case live album "The Tigers Have Spoken".

    Wilco will perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday November 8, 2004.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Decent Days and Nights

  • concert review: The Futureheads w/ Stirling @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), November 1, 2004

    The Futureheads: photo by Mike LigonAlmost out of nowhere seemingly, The Futureheads have come and kicked me in the ass. First, the guys have quietly put out one of the best CD's of the year in my opinion. Second, they played a great live show at Lee's Palace in Toronto a couple of days ago, to a smaller-than-expected though exhuberant crowd[yes, I agree with Tbone that I would have expected the Toronto Brit-music-loving fans to be all over this show, but then it was a Monday night mind you.] These guys were touring with Franz Ferdinand recently which was an interesting combination, like two sides of the same coin. I decided to pass on the Franz Ferdinand/The Futureheads show in Toronto recently to go see The Organ/controller.controller/Pony Da Look show instead, and in any case I had already caught Franz Ferdinand live earlier in the year. The four gentlemen came on to the stage at Lee's Palace with a wardrobe that was stylistically similar to the Franz Ferdinand boys, yet a tad more relaxed. Eschewing the dance-rock rhythms of Franz Ferdinand for the most part, The Futureheads, in my opinion, have more of the working-class pop/mod-punk sounds of say The Jam and angry-young-man Elvis Costello. Shit, on certain songs, one of The Futureheads' singers[the shorter one] was vocally a dead ringer for Paul Weller. The band proceeded to play pretty much every song off their debut CD from what I remember. In the live setting, the songs were downright frenetic compared to the album, especially the exhilirating guitar playing between the two co-lead vocalists. There was an amazing interplay between the co-lead vocalists as urgent vocal parts flowed between the two of them in a sort of call and response routine. The guys fared well on such songs like "Robot", "Decent Days and Nights", "Meantime", and "Carnival Kids", maintaining a level of tunefulness but also keeping the instrumentation tough and muscular. Ok, the boys can be slightly fey a la Franz Ferdinand, say on tracks like "Le Garage", which opened up their set. In midset, the band pulled out a cover of a Television Personalities song called "Dorian Gray". There wasn't much banter with the audience, other than the prerequisite 'thank you's', which made their set fly by in no time. By my estimate, the guys played a stellar set that was just under an hour, although at the end of the set it felt like they were just getting warmed up. Of course, as the guys said, they're a young band and they only have one album, so I can't blame 'em for not playing more songs, let alone playing only a one-song encore. Immensely enjoyable show that I'm grateful to have witnessed within the small confines of Lee's Palace. You best check 'em out during their current club tour while you can. If these guys achieve Franz Ferdinand-level popularity[which I feel and hope they can] don't say I didn't warn you. ...shout-out to Mishie who was at the show as well and who I met in person for the first time. "Glad to meet you!" :)

    [check out my photos from the show]

  • In other news, Stylus digs up some past reviews[good and bad] of albums they've reviewed, and gives them a second thought.

  • Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    Go Vote! : part 2

    Bruce Springsteen

  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brings us live election coverage, 10:00 pm EST. There is no substitute!...well except for the start of the NBA season.

  • Death Cab For Cutie, Wilco and Pitchfork want you[Americans] to vote.

  • The U.S. Election: A Canadian perspective. [from CBC News]

  • Read the transcript from this past Friday where General Wesley Clark and actors Kevin Costner and Richard Belzer appeared as part of the pre-election round table on "Real Time with Bill Maher". Or watch the video instead. Apparently, things got a little hot under the collar that night.

  • Billy Bragg sings about The Price Of Oil.

  • DemWatch [a political blog] offers up a free legal mp3 download, for election day only, of Ted Leo's song, "Shake The Streets" as a thank you to everyone going out to vote for John Kerry today, Ted Leo being a supporter himself.

  • Monday, November 01, 2004

    Go Vote!

    Well, even though I'm Canadian, I'm more than a little interested in tomorrow's U.S. election. I won't pretend to know all the issues but I do know that voting is good, and not voting...well, it's bad...very, very bad. Hope to see voter turnout extraordinarily high this time around. Thanks to Songs:Illinois for getting this campaign going. Oh, and this campaign made the news!

    Hey!! Stop what you're doing! You're not going to find that Arcade Fire live bootleg today, nor will you be stumbling across the b-side to "Hand In Glove", and there's no way you'll be finding that unreleased Pixies album. What you need to do is get ready to vote in the most important election of our lives. Figure out where your nearest polling place is and make sure you are registered. Tell your friends to vote, tell your enemies for that matter. But just vote.

    Worried that you're not informed enough to vote? You're on the internet - the information is out there waiting for you. Not a U.S. citizen? Then please call or email all your American friends and make sure they plan on voting. Many artists/organizations are stepping up and helping with the Get Out the Vote campaign, and now so are many of us in the music blogging community. Below are some links but please continue to add your own.


    Get Out And Vote On November 2nd. Regular Blogging Will Commence On November 3rd.


    Music Bloggers For Democracy
    and everyone that has agreed to post
    the big ticket :
    songs:illinois :
    last sound of summer
    Tuwa's Shanty
    Lost Bands Of The New Wave
    Enchilada's Blog
    Bradley's Almanac
    Largehearted Boy
    The Witness Exchange
    Something I Learned
    mystery and misery
    Alternate Tuning
    Republic of Replicants
    Pecados De Nada
    Fat Planet
    Silence Is A Rhythm Too
    10:51 AM Toronto
    For the 'records'
    The For the 'records' audio contribution, a Billy Bragg song feels appropriate at the moment:
  • Waiting for the Great Leap Forward