Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Great Rock Discography

The Great Rock DiscographyI'm always on the lookout for music reference books and while at Chapters today I picked up a good one called "The Great Rock Discography". At an affordable $24.99 CDN it's a good deal. It's a pretty hefty sized book and it contains comprehensive discographies of over 1200 artists. It also contains band histories, lineup changes, US and UK chart positions, and album ratings. There's a great cross-section of artists included, everyone from indie, alternative, hip hop, classic rock, heavy metal, punk and so on. If you're interested in completing your collection of Fall, Stereolab, or Sonic Youth releases, you couldn't go wrong by starting with this book. Of course, there are some glaring omissions. No Guided by Voices entry, for example. Well, I didn't say it was perfect. There's a foreword by John Peel who acknowledges the monstrosity of the work and that alot of the info will be useless, although he does infer there's alot of interesting info to be read. He does suggest that however we approach the book, we use it for something. As Mr. Peel expresses "If nothing else, you'll know the answer the next time someone stops you on the street and asks, 'Whatever happened to Fred Neil?'". Just what I need, a resource to add more to my level of music geekdom. ;-)

Trashcan Sinatras have a new set of North American tour dates for April/May including a Toronto date at Lee's Palace on April 28th. I attended their Toronto show at Lee's Palace this past September 2004[read my review] which had been their first show in Toronto since 1993. It was a wonderful show. And now the guys'll be back in April. Who said lightning never strikes twice? In related news, the band will release a 21 track acoustic cd "Fez". It is now available for pre-order through the Trashcan Sinatras' website and it will start shipping no later than March 22nd. For now, the band plan to make the CD available at upcoming concerts.

First Lady of rock n' roll, Wanda Jackson, will be at Cadillac Lounge in Toronto on May 27th. A Flash intro at Ms. Jackson's website has an endorsement from Neko Case declaring Wanda Jackson to be "the coolest". Anyone know where I can get a poster of this photo of her? She was one hot lady.

Here's a torrent of a Neko Case show from yesterday(February 26, 2005) at Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA. Wow, someone didn't waste any time posting this show. [link from Largehearted Boy]

Death From Above 1979 will perform on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on March 11th.

Iron and Wine will perform on Last Call With Carson Daly tomorrow.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Whip It On

The RaveonettesI think this bit of news is new. I knew The Raveonettes were going on tour but I hadn't come across a Toronto date until reading over at Soul Shine Magazine that they'll be in Toronto on June 4th at Lee's Palace. They'll also be in Vancouver on May 5th at Richard's On Richards and June 3rd in Montreal at Petit Campus. [photo from http://../]

A new website design is in the works for Feist. See it here. [link from the Feist forum]

Also in the works is a new website design for Tahiti 80. No information is currently available on the site so far. It does seem now that it appears the band may no longer be on the bill for the Export France & Austrade CMW showcase on Friday March 4th at The Reverb. I hope this isn't true but I no longer see Tahiti 80's name on the schedule over at CMW's web site. Although Ben Lee has been added to The Reverb showcase on March 4th and is scheduled to go on at 10:00 pm. Ben Lee's website indicates that he'll be back in Canada soon for some proper tour dates including March 28th in Vancouver at Richard's On Richards, April 15th in Montreal at Main Hall, and April 16th in Toronto at Lee's Palace.

Jason Collett(of Broken Social Scene) will be reviving his weekly series called Radio Mondays during the month of March. It will take place each week at Supermarket in Toronto's Kensington Market. The schedule over at chartattack shows a good lineup of artists, lesser known as well as bigger name. The March 14th date looks amazing, although apparently showing up early is a must. [info from chartattack]

There doesn't seem to be any concrete news about a Jesus and Mary Chain reformation according to Some Candy Talking, but to tide you over here's a torrent of a couple of JAMC shows.[torrent link from Largehearted Boy]

Thursday, February 24, 2005

One More Song The Radio Won't Like

concert review: Kathleen Edwards @ The Casbah(Hamilton, Ontario), February 23, 2005

Kathleen Edwards: photo by Mike LigonI did end up driving down to Hamilton yesterday to check out Kathleen Edwards' show at The Casbah. It was really dumb luck I even found the venue(I ended up picking up a free copy of View Magazine from a newspaper box and getting the location of the venue from there). When I got to the venue, I was surprised by how small it was. It was quaint and maybe a nice place to go with friends for a drink but there was a sea of tables and chairs set up right in front of the stage which ruined my chances of getting up close. Regardless, I stood just at the edge of where the tables ended and still had a decent view. It seemed like an older crowd as well; alot of 40 and 50 year olds in the crowd. Who'd have thought this was the demographic of Ms. Edwards' fans? Either that or they were all there for a night of drinking. Apparently I had missed the opener but Ms. Edwards and her bandmates came on promptly around a quarter to 10, which pretty much guaranteed that I get out of the place at a decent time.

As Kathleen had expressed, she and her band decided on playing in Hamilton as a warm-up rehearsal show(before they went out on tour). Kathleen and her band will be heading over to Europe for a series of dates and there aren't any Canadian dates so far on the horizon. I was glad then to have caught Kathleen in this live and intimate setting. Kathleen was pretty loose and casual, for example, even deciding to stop a song partway through to restart the song from the beginning because she had screwed it up. After all she said, "this is a fuckin' rehearsal gig". The band included Jim Bryson on keyboards, guitar and xylophone, Kathleen's husband, "The Crippler" as she called him, Mr. Colin Cripps, plus her bandmates on bass guitar and drums. One highlight of the evening was the tune that Jim and Kathleen performed together with Kathleen on vocals and guitar and Jim on keyboards and background vocals. It was really a lovely song which only got better at that one point in the song when the instruments faded out and Jim's background vocals blended together so nicely with Kathleen's. The should-have-been-a-hit country-rock of "Six O'Clock News" was excellent and drove a bunch of girls to get up and dance. "One More Song The Radio Won't Like" featured Kathleen's wonderfully soulful vocals. There was some great guitar playing from Colin including some nice slide guitar arrangements on some of the newer songs off the new album. Jim showed himself to be a multi-talented musician, contributing some great guitar and keyboard arrangements as well as some nice xylophone playing and great background vocals. I'm going to have to check out some of his own solo material some time. Ms. Edwards was tough as nails and really stood strong exuding a confidence that I was really impressed with. With her guitar slung over her shoulder, she stood sideways to the audience, tilted her head to the microphone, and sung fiercely as anyone I've ever seen. Man, she rocks. And she's damn sexy also. It's criminal how unnoticed she goes in her own country and I suggest everyone go check her music out. [lighting was less than optimal, but here's some (dark) photos]

eye gives Kathleen Edward's new disc "Back To Me"(released on March 1st) a solid 4 stars.

And a reminder, Kathleen will be performing on Late Show with David Letterman on March 1st.

I picked up the new issue of Exclaim! today.(The website has not been updated yet.) Actually, the following information was from the recent issue of eye. The new issue does advertise that A Girl Called Eddy will perform an in-store at Soundscapes in Toronto at 4pm on March 6th(which is the afternoon before the show). I'm already going to the show at the Horseshoe that evening but I'm considering going to the in-store as well. And considering the smallness of the store and the gentleness of her music, this performance could be really intimate.

Yes, I managed to snag a ticket to The Arcade Fire show at Danforth Musical Hall on April 27th. I ended up buying my ticket over the phone through Ticketmaster around 10 am this morning. Did anyone try going to this morning around 10 am only to find that the site was showing that tickets had not yet gone on sale? I tried for 2-3 minutes before giving up on ordering online and then I furiously dialed Ticketmaster's phone number. I'm happy I got a ticket because the show's now sold out although I just heard on Edge 102.1 this evening that a second show has been added for April 28th. shows that tickets for that show are on sale right NOW, so hurry before that show's sold out as well. And as BlogTO has pointed out, these shows are for charity. So there, I hope the complainers about the $20 ticket price are happy now. Fucking cheapskates. But even if these shows weren't for charity, I'd still happily pay $20 bucks to see The Arcade Fire perform at Danforth Music Hall.

Esthero is featured on the cover of eye, with accompanying cover story. She'll be playing with controller.controller at The Phoenix as part of the eye Canadian Music Week Showcase on March 2, 2005.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Statement of Intent

Bis90's disco-punks, Bis, are reforming under the moniker Data Panik. Funny, I've been finding some of their[Bis'] albums and e.p.'s in the cutout bin lately which I decided to purchase but I haven't even gotten around to listening to them yet. I've heard a song or two before and thought the vocals were a little cutesy at times but the music was quite spunky. And I've heard their live shows were really energetic. I never caught them live back in the 90's(funny how that sounds like so long ago already) so I hope they tour again. Update: For more info on the reformation, go to [info from] [photo from http://../]

Hamilton's seeming more and more like a worthwhile trip down from Mississauga to catch shows. I think I'll be heading down to The Casbah to catch Kathleen Edwards tonight(that is if I don't change my mind at the last minute). The Hamilton board at 20hz also lists a bunch of worthwhile April shows that I'd consider attending including The Hidden Cameras at The Casbah on April 21st and The New Deal at The Casbah on April 29th(which at the respective artists' web sites do not indicate any Toronto dates).

Watch high quality streaming video for Feist's music video for "Inside and Out". I previously posted a similar link for the same video from a link through muso's guide but that link wasn't working properly afterward(and still isn't). The new link above seems to be working well, although it does still require some pesky registration in order to view the video. But it is totally worth it.

See You In The Pit is a relatively new-ish MP3 blog, it's mandate being to post mp3's of bands/artists who'll be at this year's SXSW. Quite a good selection of mp3's so far. Alot of buzzworthy artists, and you know we're(myself included) are all about the hype machine. ;-) Be forewarned, as the web site states, the blog will "self-destruct on March 22nd". Part of me is hoping that the mp3 blog will continue in one form after the end of SXSW.

Another Constantines/Weakerthans 19+ show has been added for April 7th at Lee's Palace, according to Rotate This.

Build your own Uptown Lights mix tape! Uptown Lights are an r'n'b cover band featuring Greg Dulli, ex of The Afghan Whigs.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Baby, You're In Luck

concert review: Apostle of Hustle w/ Peter Elkas @ The Drake Hotel(Toronto, Ontario), February 18, 2005(early show)

Apostle of Hustle: photo by Mike LigonDiscovered through eye that an early show had bee added for Apostle of Hustle at The Drake Hotel this past Friday so I decided to go after work to check it out. Peter Elkas(solo) opened the show with tunes from his debut "Party of One". Following the themes of relationships, love, and loss, Pete performed each song as an extension of the previous one, with an almost storytelling approach to the evening. Pete performed primarily on electrical guitar, but ended the evening with a couple of keyboard-accompanied tunes. I was more a fan of Mr. Elkas back in his Local Rabbits days, and as much as I enjoyed Pete's songs I would have preferred to hear them in a band setting.

Apostle of Hustle came on around 9 pm or so and played an impressive hour long set. My only point of reference is that I thought they sounded like the more atmospheric side of Broken Social Scene, with bits of latin rhythms(courtesy of Apostle Of Hustle's keyboardist's latin dancing on a mic'd wooden board) thrown in. There were surprise guest appearances from Stars' Amy Millan on vocals and Evan Cranley on trombone, who both initially were just watching the show, then at different times, sauntered up onto the stage to perform. Exchanging the indie-rock directness of Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle went for a more textured rock sound full of interesting rhythms and guitar arrangements. Maybe I'm just getting bored with amateurism but I've been favouring richly textured rock sounds lately, having purchased recently Doves' "Lost Souls" and Sigur Ros' "()". I purchased Apostle of Hustle's album "Folkloric Feel" at the show and I'm still in the process of absorbing it, but it's quite good. [photos]

The Toronto Star had an article on Apostle of Hustle last week, so go read it.

The Futureheads' self-titled debut CD will be released as a limited edition CD/DVD package on March 7th. The CD will contain the original CD's tracklisting plus radio versions of "Hounds of Love" and "Decent Days and Nights". The DVD will contain music videos of "First Day", "A To B", "Decent Days and Nights", "Meantime" and "Hounds Of Love", plus live videos of "Robot", "First Day", "Man Ray", and "Piece of Crap". The DVD will also contain an interview as well as the making of the music video for "Hounds Of Love". [info from the band's site] Note: I'm not sure if this is just a UK release because there aren't any listings for this release on either or

There are an unusually good number of interesting musical acts on late night tallk shows this week. Late Night With Conan O'Brien will have musical guests Rufus Wainwright(Tues 2/22), Ian Brown with Noel Gallagher(Wed 2/23), and The Futureheads(Thurs 2/24). Jimmy Kimmel Live will have musical guest Joanna Newsom(Thurs 2/24) making her American television debut.

BBC 6Music's Gideon Coe had a live acoustic session with Doves today[February 21, 2005]. Listen[around 20:39:50 mark].

Issue #17 of Comes With A Smile is out now!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Quiet Is The New Loud

concert review: Kings of Convenience @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), February 17, 2005

Kings of Convenience: photo by Mike LigonLet's just get this factoid out of the way: Feist wasn't there. :-( (If you weren't already in the know, Feist contributed vocals to two KoC tracks, "Know How" and "The Build Up", off their most recent CD "Riot On An Empty Street".) However disappointed I was with Feist not being there, the show was still mighty fine. Considering that I'm pretty new to King of Convenience's music, I was surprised how fast I warmed up to their music. The 'folk' tag I keep reading about doesn't really ring true for me. Their music's primarily acoustic guitar based but their music's much more of a pure pop form(albeit, very hush and gentle) than anything else. In my opinion, the 'folk' tag is just pure laziness. Actually, Kings of Convenience are quite akin to fellow Norwegian, Sondre Lerche. During the show, there were bits of bossa nova rhythms, exquisite guitar playing(with a stab or two at keyboards), and lovely melodies strewn throughout. However, rather than the crooner-esque vocal style of Mr. Lerche, the Kings of Convenience boys had a quiter vocal style akin to say Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch. With Erlend Øye feeling a bit under the weather, he ended up walking off stage several times leaving partner Eirik Glambæk Bøe to continue some songs solo. Eirik took up an audience member's spontaneous request for "Norweigan Wood", taking a minute to figure out the guitar chords, before launching into an impromptu(and quite good at that, save for some forgotten lyrics) version of the Beatles' classic. Erlend did eventually return to the stage much to the relief of the crowd. As the evening went along, Erlend's nerdy charm came out. Erlend busted out the dance moves(like Napoleon Dynamite getting funky), picked up the microphone for some crooner-esque vocal technique and goofily gazed out into the audience. Erlend charmed the crowd with some funny comments, including a request for the audience to not buy drinks during their set because the clinking glasses were noticably audible. Eirik humourously added that if we had to buy drinks, then at least to get drinks without ice cubes. Har de har, har. Some audience participation added flavour to the evening, most notably when Feist's vocal parts of "Know How" came up. (I was towards the front of the stage, and I'd like to compliment whomever that girl was near me who was enthusiastically singing along to several of the songs; you have a really nice voice.) Overall, an impressive show. And if "Quiet Is the New Loud" , then this one's still ringing in my ears. [photos]

For more on the show, check out SHOT.

I decided to check out the early show of Apostle of Hustle, with opener Peter Elkas, this past Friday at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. If I have anything interesting to say about the show, it'll have to be tomorrow. Mental block, you know. For now, here are some photos.

Apparently, the webcast quality was shitty but impressions of Portishead's performance at the Crisis In Asia benefit gig in Bristol, England over the weekend have been mostly good. A second show was added tonight[February 20]. I'm hoping a torrent(audio and/or audio/video) of one or both of their performances turns up sooner or later.

Ben Lee will be on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic on February 28th for a full band performance. Morning Becomes Eclectic airs 9am-Noon Pacific Time. He will also appear on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on March 2nd to perform "Catch My Disease".

Couple of Arcade Fire-related goodies:

- Quicktime clip of the band performing on children's show Pancake Mountain [link from Largehearted Boy]

- Bradleys Almanac has a fan video(set to studio version of song) for Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" [link from chromewaves]

And maybe I'm going to regret this if I don't end up getting a ticket because of a mad rush for tickets, but I thought I'd share that Arcade Fire will be at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on April 27th. Tickets on sale February 24th at 10 am. [news from 20hz and confirms this!]

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I Predict A Riot

concert review: Kaiser Chiefs w/ Uncut, The High Dials, The Golden Dogs @ El Mocambo (Toronto, Ontario), February 15, 2005

Kaiser Chiefs: photo by Mike LigonI've found that the number of good shows at the El Mocambo over the last several years have been few and far between. Not that I ever went to the El Mocambo that much, even in its heyday, but I do remember when it used to host a more consistent level of good bands(or more specifically, bands I'd be interested in seeing). It turned out that the the Kaiser Chiefs show, which I decided to buy tickets for a few days before, would be one of the better shows the El Mo has had in the last little while. Also on the upside was that there was a good lineup of opening bands. I was aware that the High Dials were one of the openers but only found out when I reached the venue the night of the show that Uncut and The Golden Dogs were on the bill.

The Golden Dogs were up first and I was surprised how good they were. Reminding me alot of By Divine Right, The Golden Dogs were just very unpretentious sounding. Their music hovered in that general pop-rock territory but rather than tread any of those musical waters that are currently in vogue these days(and I guess I'm pointing mainly to the headliners of the night, the Kaiser Chiefs), The Golden Dogs have a sound that seems to have more classic influences. The Rolling Stones-sounding set-opener was terrific. I liked the breezy pop of "Don't Make A Sound" with the lovely female vocals and tasteful keyboard arrangements of Jessica Grassia as well as the cool brushed drumming of Beau Stocker. Lead vocalist Dave Azzolini's impromptu song at the end of the night(which lyrically thanked the crowd for coming to the show and other charming ramblings), which Jessica also joined in on, was funny but sweet and reminded me a bit of Jonathan Richman. There was an energetic streak that ran throughout the set, no better example than when Dave jumped onto the floor during his guitar solo. Normally, guitar solos aren't my thing, but it was actually kinda cool to see Dave get spastic (and I realize that I've been using the word 'spastic' alot lately).

Not much I can say about the next two bands, The High Dials and Uncut. Don't get me wrong, they are both good bands. However, I've seen Uncut three times before. Although, this was one of their better shows in recent memory as Ian Worang's vocals weren't quite road-weary sounding as when I saw the band play in Hamilton in December 2004 or when they opened for The Fever in November 2004. That one spotlight off to the left side of the stage, which cast the band in half light and shadow was cool also. I think they played a new song or two although it was the songs from their debut "Those Who Were Hung Hang Here" which rocked the crowd the most. "Taken In Sleep" was, of course, wicked. The High Dials got that whole sixties guitar-pop sound going on, albeit with more of modern flavour. There were alot of good melodies, some cool background vocals and energetic beat-influenced guitar arrangements. A song or two sort of treaded more 'prog-rock' territory(maybe a little of The Verve) and maybe dragged on a tad longer than I hoped. The band did experience some technical difficulties with a blown amp which fucked up the momemtum of their set as it probably took a long 3-4 minutes to get things going again. Other than that slight setback, they played a good set overall. In all honesty though, I wasn't quite in the mood for their music that night for some reason.

And that brings us to Kaiser Chiefs. One of my favourite singles of the last 2 months has been their song "I Predict A Riot". It's a great punk-mod-pop tune along the lines of The Jam which just bristles with energy and has a killer chorus. Yes, they remind me alot of The Futureheads, maybe a little of Franz Ferdinand. It's like a whole new Brit-pop invasion! Smartly dressed in Brit-mod-influenced attire, they looked quite stylish but fortunately had some musical chops to back it up. There was alot of energetic prouncing around the stage by lead singer Ricky Wilson, who just could not stay still. That was alot of fun to watch. Maybe it was just because the songs, other than the first single, were unknown to me but I wasn't quite as engaged with the songs as I was hoping for. Yes, I bobbed my head for the majority of the songs but the hooks weren't always there. I won't write 'em off but I'm hoping that an eventual listening of their debut CD will give me a change of heart. That said, the crowd(myself included) were pleased overall with the band's performance. The name, 'The Kaiser Chiefs' well that's another story, but at this point having seen them live, I couldn't imagine them changing it, nor do I think I'd want them to anymore. [photos from the show]

For the life of me I can't find a full length mp3(legal or otherwise) of "I Predict A Riot" on the 'net anywhere. You can hear a sample from the band's website. Or else, check out the oh so quiet show which has links to streaming video of the song.

20hz'ers comment on the show. Yes, that line of chairs and tables in front of the stage was just plain annoying. Fucking lazy bastards.

brooklynvegan went to the recent Kaiser Chiefs show in New York City and he has some photos.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Can I Get A Witness?

concert review: The Constantines, The Creeping Nobodies, Masia One, part of the Wavelength fifth anniversary series @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), February 11, 2005

The Creeping Nobodies: photo by Mike LigonWell, I was thinking about the Wavelength show I went to last Friday at Lee's Palace and I thought it'd be only fair if I mention some things about the show. I won't bother commenting too much on The Constantines other than that they're one of the most consistently enjoyable bands to watch live that I can think of. A Constantines show is a wholely interactive affair. As usual with every Constantines show, there was the audience singalong of "Can I Get A Witness??". I loved when the band got the crowd to raise their arms in their air and hold it there while the band did the same thing, gazing into the audience for a good 15 to 20 seconds before slipping back into the song they were performing. [photos]

Preceding The Constantines were several other acts of which I only caught the peformances of Masia One and The Creeping Nobodies. Masia One performed an enthusiastic set of hip-hop, funk influenced numbers, never shy to shake a little boot-ay! A short set overall, but she showed herself to be a competent MC. And she's from Mississauga! Represent! [photos]

The gems of the evening in my opinion were local Toronto act The Creeping Nobodies. Their name conjured images of possibly some murky, swampy, psychobilly act but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. Quite a 'nice' looking bunch of individuals, the band consisted of 3 young gents on lead vocals/guitar, bass guitar and drums and 2 young ladies on guitar and keyboards. Based on their appearance, I would have imagined their music something along the lines of Stereolab or melodic indiepop/indierock. So it was quite a surprise that their music was quite more abrasive than I expected, with nods to The Fall, Clinic and Sonic Youth. The lead singer was bubbling with spastic gestures and vocal inflections and at times guitar arrangements would boil over into Sonic Youth dissonance. I don't want to give the wrong impression that the music was all noise. On the contrary, there were tasteful keyboard, guitar, and bass guitar arrangements contributed to the fold along with great Nico-ish female vocals courtesy of the band's female guitarist. The crowd seemed to like them and for good reason. Good stuff. Watch out for them. The band has a few releases including a CD entitled "Stop Movement Stop Loss"(which I purchased at the show) which is released on Blocks Recording Club. Check out some mp3's. (And I just realized that all Blocks Recording Club CD's have that cool funky origami-influenced CD packaging!) [photos]

The Organ have announced a bunch of new Australian, American and Canadian tour dates. The gals will be back in Toronto at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on April 14th!

brooklynvegan has links to the new video for The Stills' "Love and Death" which features a cameo by Emily Haines of Metric.

Ever since seeing Toronto band The Two Koreas open for Metric at The Mod Club last month, I've been itching to pick up a CD from the band. Unfortunately, I didn't see any merch for them at the Metric show. SHOT says that the band's released a CD now called "Main Plates & Classic Pies". ...I'm just a sucker for Mark E. Smith-influenced vocals.

Monday, February 14, 2005


concert review: Bettie Serveert w/ Walker's Line, The Petit Project @ Horseshoe Tavern (Toronto, Ontario), February 10, 2005

Carol van Dijk of Bettie Serveert: photo by Mike LigonIf not the triumphant return I was hoping for, Bettie Serveert peformed a good-to-great show last Thursday at the Horseshoe in Toronto. As lead singer Carol van Dijk had mentioned, it had been 9 years since the group was in Toronto and that was just way too fucking long. I was one of those fans who latched onto the band when they released their debut "Palomine" way back when, was slightly disappointed initially with their followup "Lamprey"(although I've had a substantial change of heart since then), thought "Dust Bunnies" was spectacular...then, well, I lost track of the band. I guess since Matador Records let them go, it's been harder to keep track of 'em(as well as more expensive to invest in their subsequent CD's). Getting nostalgic for 90's indie rock seems a little silly, but seriously it seems like so long ago. So I was somewhat disappointed when Bettie Serveert chose to perform a lot of new material off their new CD "AttaGirl" which I haven't heard yet, but which I've read is more keyboard driven. I was even more disappointed that they didn't play song favourites like "Palomine" or ANYTHING off "Lamprey" or "Dust Bunnies". Guitarist Peter Visser, with undeniably the most energy on stage, constantly shuffled back and forth on stage with a modest level of guitar theatrics that I wouldn't have pegged him for. There was a decent level of energy and enthusiasm from supporting players on bass guitar, keyboards, and drums. Everything was quite nicely pulled together with Carol's engaging vocals which were affectingly imperfect, raspy and sexy. And as mentioned by chromewaves who was also there, the stage was really colourful to watch, what with Carol wearing a lovely pink top and Peter wearing a bright blue shirt. The show wasn't the shot of 90's indie-rock nostalgia I was hoping for but it was great nonetheless. Maybe next time(and I hope there is a next time) they will have a set list which is a better cross-section of ALL their albums. [photos]

I was also able to catch the Wavelength show at Lee's Palace this past Friday. See the photos of The Constantines[photos], The Creeping Nobodies[photos] and Masia One[photos]. Whether I'll actually post any formal thoughts/review on the show is entirely whether I can gather up the strength to think of what to write about it. The short version is that it was a fantastic show, and The Creeping Nobodies are my new favourite local band, seriously.

And if I could rant for a moment, if you ever get invited to a Valentine's dance, try to find out what the single-to-attached quotient is. I did happen to attend a Valentines dance this evening with a friend, his girlfriend, and a single friend of hers. While I did have the pleasure of their company(and was even more thankful to have someone to pair up with), the evening festivities were primarily focussed on the married couples. One of the games played involved spouses being asked a question and having to match each others' answers in order to score a point; questions such as "When was the last time you made love'?" or "What country or place will be your next vacation destination?". Do I really want to hear this? The fact of the matter is that being a single person at a Valentines dance full of married couples is like being a single person at a wedding reception sitting at a table full of married couples. It ain't necessarily fun. Although tonight, the company of friends made it a little more bearable.

Anyone in the mood for "Valentines Day is Over" by Billy Bragg? Check out some live show downloads here and here.

Friday, February 11, 2005


BeckI wanted to post this yesterday. Some of this may be old news, some of this may be new news, but it's all you're getting. (BTW, just came back from a good-to-great Bettie Serveert show at the Horseshoe in Toronto. Photos and a review to follow likely this weekend. I'm exhausted.)

As reported by filter magazine, Beck will be releasing 3(that's right, 3) versions of his new album "Guero": standard CD format; as an expanded LP containing four remixes by the likes of Boards Of Canada, Octet, Dizzee Rascal and Royksopp, and as a two-disc collection featuring music videos for the tracks "E-Pro" and "Black Tambourine" and a 5.1 audio mix. [Beck photo from http://../]

Yet another Arcade Fire torrent, this time of their recent show in Philadelphia on January 31, 2005.[link from Largehearted Boy]

If you have 5 minutes(maybe 10 minutes) to spare, take the music nerd test! On the scale of 'music-nerdiness', I scored 44.92754%, which classifies me as a Major Music Nerd. Hmmmm, I actually thought I'd score higher. [link from melodynelson]

More Cowbell's posted the dates for the upcoming Josh Rouse tour which includes a stop in Toronto on April 5th @ Lee's Palace.

Canadian electronic artists, Caribou and Junior Boys are going on tour together through the U.S. and Canada in the spring which'll bring them to the Toronto neck o' of the woods for a show at the Horseshoe on April 28th. The tour will wrap up in Hamilton, ON at The Casbah on June 10th. [from Pitchfork]

The Bloc Party gig in Toronto on April 2nd has now been moved to The Opera House, according to Rotate This. Originally, planned for The Mod Club, then moved to Lee's Palace, and now The Opera House. This show's gonna be big.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Secret Heart

concert review: Ron Sexsmith w/ Bob Wiseman, Jim Guthrie, The Heritage Theatre(Brampton, Ontario), part of the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival, February 6, 2005

Although I was exhausted the evening before(after a day of skiing), I did muster enough strength the next evening to attend the closing evening of the Brampton Indie Arts Festival. I made it in time to catch a screening of a documentary called "The 902" which featured a profile of the Halifax hip hop scene, including appearances from three notable Halifax DJ's Buck 65, Skratch Bastid, and DJ Jorun. It was an insightful look at that Halifax scene and the film spoke of how early on in the 90's, major hip hop acts were being booked there but because of some bad promoters who "took the money and ran", hip hop acts stopped choosing to come there. The vacuum that developed created an environment whereby Halifax developed its own hip hop scene where the spotlight was focused on its own local talent. The film takes us to the near present showing the evolution of the scene where local stars gain recognition, including Buck 65's jump to a major label and Skratch Bastid's experiences at the Canadian DJ Championship.

In between musical acts, Scott Thompson laughed it up with audience. He made some hilarious comments about 'poor' Buck 65. Scott twisted some of Buck 65's statements from the film(eg. Buck 65 said something along the lines of being on the road and missing human touch and Scott reinterpreted it as "oh, poor Buck one'll touch his face") and mainly made fun of Buck 65 for complaining about being 'famous', although it was all in good fun. Just think if Buck 65 had made it to the festival. Now that would have been a moment. [Scott Thompson photos]

Jim Guthrie: photo by Mike LigonJim Guthrie came on next and performed as a three-piece with himself on guitar, and bandmates on bass guitar(Simon Osborne of Royal City) and drums. The only other time I've caught Jim Guthrie live is when he performed as The Jim Guthrie Band as part of the Exclaim! tour several years ago. That time the music was more fleshed out with strings and such, and a little more arty-rootsy. This time though, there seemed to be a lot more emphasis on melody, and in this live setting performing as a 3-piece, the music was a bit more stripped down and more direct. His own songs were quite lovely but he also performed a stirring rendition of a cover of a Nina Simone song called "Ain't Got No / I Got Life", a studio recording of which can be found on the CD compilation "Meanwhile in the Meantime" which came with issue #16(Autumn 2004) of Comes With A Smile. There were some interesting choices of instrumentation with a bit of guitar distortion thrown in here and there, as well as some gently strummed ukele and light clapping from the audience for the last song. At the end of his set, Scott Thompson apologized to Jim for not knowing who he was and had the audience in stitches when he proceeded to rub his hands all over Jim's face, a knod to Scott's Buck 65 improv I wrote of above. :) [photos]

Bob Wiseman: photo by Mike LigonThe multi-talented Bob Wiseman was up next. His set was more of a multimedia performance with the use of screen projections and short films. There was quite a bit of humour with the visuals which were at once whimsical and offbeat. Bob's role was really that of providing a soundtrack. At times, Bob's musical excursions were more like interludes rather than real songs. However, the real songs did eventually surface and Bob displayed a knack for some nice folk-pop melodies. It was just Bob up on the stage for most of the set providing his own musical accompaniement on a range of instruments including guitar, accordion, and keyboards. Later on in the set, he brought out Ron Sexsmith to accompany him on piano on "Wednesday 8pm 300 Bloor St. West". I ended up purchasing after the show at the merch table, Bob's CD "It's True"(released on Toronto indie Blocks Recording Club) which thankfully included some of my favourite songs of the night including "Uranium", "Born To Love You" and "Wednesday 8pm 300 Bloor St. West". And the packaging(a sort of origami-influenced creation) is beautiful. [photos]

Ron Sexmith: photo by Mike LigonRon Sexsmith's appearance during Bob Wiseman's set whet our appetites. Other than "Secret Heart" and "Strawberry Blond" which are in fact very good songs and the only songs I knew previously, I was really not all that familiar with Ron Sexsmith's music. From the smatterings of applause during the introductions of certain songs, I could tell there were some loyal Ron Sexsmith fans out in the audience. Mr. Wiseman returned the favour to provide some piano accompanient on one of Ron's songs. However, primarily it was Ron himself on stage, providing exquisite guitar accompanient to his own gentle vocals. What I found appealing about his vocals was the imperfectness of it, how it would falter slightly around a melody at times. The songs themselves were generally in that singer-songwriter vein and the melodies were lovely and instrumentation varied enough that things were kept interesting. "Secret Heart" wasn't performed unfortunately but "Strawberry Blond" was and it sounded as sublime as I remembered it from the studio version. Mr. Sexsmith had a humble, self-deprecating wit about himself that just made you want to like him. Fortunately, he has the musical chops to bring it home. Lovely set indeed. So that was it. A nice close to the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival. I think the only disappointment was that more people didn't come to check out the festival. The numbers were adequate but it didn't seem like they sold out. The upside was that at least I got good seats! It'll be interesting to see what the festival'll bring next year. [photos]

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Kid's In The Hall

Scott Thompson: photo by Mike LigonI took in a day of skiing with a friend this past Saturday, and it's surprising how exhausted I was that evening. The day after was somewhat better and I did manage to catch the closing evening of the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival. I notably caught the showing of the Halifax hip hop scene documentary "The 902", plus performances from Jim Guthrie, Bob Wiseman and Ron Sexsmith. And to top it all off, Brampton native Scott Thompson was hosting the evening and performed some outrageously funny(and edgy) improv and sketch comedy between musical acts. Suddenly, Brampton's become cool. Now, if only Mississauga'd follow suit. Photos and review to follow.

The Wedding Present made an appearance on yesterday's[Monday February 7, 2005] edition of BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe program. Listen[around the 21:06:00 mark] to the session. The band played a Cinerama song as well as a Wedding Present song, the names of which escape me at the moment. As usual, catch it while you can as programs are usually only archived for a week at a time.

Lee's Palace is listing a new bunch of upcoming shows including:

-> Toots and The Maytals, March 22nd, $26.50
-> Psychedelic Furs, March 31st and April 1st, tickets TBA

Pitchfork lists its Top 100 Albums of 2000 to 2004. Update: I have only 21 of the albums listed, which makes me realize how much music I've missed completely. And c'mon, The Shins' "Oh Inverted World" NOT making the top 20 completely befuddles me. "New Slang" is MY FAVOURITE song of the last 4 years.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Everything Is Gonna Be Alright

concert review: Cuff The Duke, JOUST(John Oswald and Scott Thomson), The Heritage Theatre(Brampton, Ontario), part of the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival, February 4, 2005

Cuff The Duke: photo by Mike LigonAnother satisfying evening was had this past Friday at the Brampton Indie Arts Festival. I made it in time to catch a brief performance of John Oswald(saxophone) and Scott Thomson(trombone and NOT to be confused with Scott Thompson The Kids In The Hall who is also part of this year's festival, btw) performing as JOUST. With the stage shrouded in darknss and Mr. Oswald at the edge of the stage, Mr. Oswald began playing a series of seemingly random notes. Then Mr. Oswald and Mr. Thomson made their way towards two chairs at the centre of the stage and they began to perform. The instrumental piece they performed had a sort of ebb and flow structure whereby one musician's arrangements melded into the other's than back. Their music was strictly in the realm of avant-garde jazz, and while not necessarily my cup of tea, it was interesting to hear. At one point in the performance, spectactors caught a glance of a bat that had gotten into the theatre and was flying around in circles. Funny at first to see, especially when festival organizer Friendly Rich ran to the stage and tried to shoo the bat away with his jacket. Undeterred by the bat, John and Scott continued without pause with their performance. Scott, continuing to play his trombone, even stood up and pointed his trombone towards the direction of the bat in attempt to shoo the bat away. It seems the bat eventually took shelter up in the rafters of the theatre which was thankful because that bat was flying awfully low at one point and damn, if I didn't want that thing coming at me.

The headliners of the evening were Oshawa band Cuff The Duke. I first saw the band several years ago when they opened for Versus at the Horseshoe in Toronto. I didn't catch their name that first time and only realized who they were when they turned up on Three Gut Records. Seeing them play this time, I see they've evolved from their initial country twanginess. In certain respects, within the context of the Three Gut family, Cuff The Duke seemed like a comfortable middle ground between the arty rock of The Constantines and the folkiness of Royal City. For a band that looked quite young, they displayed a spectrum of musical influences that I wouldn't necessarily have expected. They started off their set with a slow brooding art-prog-rock number that reminded me of Pink Floyd and Radiohead. The slight twang-inflected vocals were great. Later on the lead vocalist took reigns of the keyboard for a more upbeat tune which had a nice Ben Folds bouce to it. The folky, country twang numbers were favourites of mine, with some cool punchy bass lines which had an outlaw country and western feel. The bass guitarist also displayed a talent for some nice keyboard arrangements. The drumming was respectable yet energetic as were the guitar skills of the lead guitarist. Towards the end of the set, the lead guitarist pulled out the violin bow to play his guitar a la Jimmy Page. What everything came down to was the strength of the songs. Nice melodies all around and interesting musical arrangements to boot. When the band commented that we were quiet, I hope they didn't take it as disinterest. It was quite the opposite in fact, and I saw the quietness of the crowd more a sign of politeness. As with The Rheostatics the day before, I'm just happy that Cuff The Duke made the trip to our 905 area code, neck o' the woods. [photos from the show]

Friday, February 04, 2005

Purify Me

concert review: The Rheostatics at The Heritage Theatre(Brampton, Ontario), part of the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival, February 3, 2005

The RheostaticsPart of my reason for going to see this show was the novelty of going to see a live band in Brampton. I mean it's Brampton. (Don't even get me started about Mississauga). However, I was impressed with the lineup of artists that they've got to play the small but respectable festival. The Rheostatics put on a fine performance at The Heritage Theatre in Brampton as part of the 2005 Brampton Indie Arts Festival. It was surprising to hear from them that, save for a Christmas party they went to put on by some Brampton friends, these Etobicoke(west-end Toronto) gents hadn't been to Brampton for some 20 years when they made an appearance at the old CFNY Brampton studio. I'm kind of ashamed to say that I've largely ignored the band. I've heard songs of their's here and there and thought they were pleasant and all, but they really never fit into whatever my current musical tastes were at different stages in my life. So maybe with the broadening of my musical horizons over the last 10 years, The Rheostatics somehow fit better now. The auditorium seating of The Heritage Theatre was a refreshing change from the usual live music venues and the sound was noticably warmer. If Blue Rodeo were akin to early Wilco, then maybe the Rheostatics are "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"/"A Ghost is Born"-era Wilco. The Rheostatics displayed a richly textured rock sound with folk/country overtones, slight avant-garde/jazz stylings, and punk rock aesthetics. If the grey hairs were evident, they still displayed a prowess that I was still very much in awe of. They didn't play "Claire" which I best know them for, but it was only a slight disappointment. I do have a cassette of their album "Introducing Happiness" which I should go back and listen to more carefully. [photos from the show]

In related news, The Rheostatics' Tim Vesely will be playing the Maple Lounge(above the Rivoli in Toronto) every Wednesday in February 2005. Shows start at 10 pm and last for an hour. According to The Rheostatics' site, Tim's first solo album, "The End of Part One", featuring backing band members from Wayne Omaha and the Violet Archers, is anticipated for a spring 2005 release.

Some Rheostatics related audio/video treats can be found at arts offstage; in particular check out the video from November 30, 2000 of The Rheostatics performing "Claire" with a grade 11 students choir. Beautiful.

Watch the video for "The Tarleks", the song of which is off The Rheostatics' most recent album "2067".

In other news, Apostle of Hustle will be playing The Drake Hotel in Toronto on February 17th and 18th. They'll be in Kingston on the 15th at the Grad Club and Ottawa on the 19th at Zaphods. Tickets $10.00 for all shows. [from arts&crafts]

Pony Up! will be at The Drake Hotel on February 9th with openers, fellow Montrealers The Social Register. [from eye]

For a high quality streaming version of Feist's "Inside and Out", check out muso's guide. (To view the video does require some pesky registration, but the video is definitely worth the time.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Spastic Reaction

Fontaine and Richard of VersusVersus' official site points to Urban Jetset who briefly interviewed Fontaine Toups(of The Fontaine Toups and Versus) and Andy Cheng(of The Fontaine Toups). Fontaine's response as to the status of Versus:

"I believe we are open to playing more shows, and writing more songs. After ten years went by and many records, countless tours, we thought it was time for a break. Richard moved to California and the rest of us started other bands. So, now the question is whether we have the time, or do we really want to do it? I think there has to be a good enough reason and a spark that'll get us moving again. So, I suppose you could say 'hiatus.' I can say we will never be as busy as we were. You may see us play, but the days of endless touring are over." [photo from http://../]

Listen[around the 20:42:50 mark] to the The Dears' live session on the BBC 6music program hosted by Gideon Coe, broadcast earlier today[February 2, 2005]. Catch it while you can as the link is only archived for about a week or so. Moving acoustic versions of "Who Are You, Defenders Of The Universe" and "Lost in the Plot", with just Murray on vocals and someone on acoustic guitar, were performed.

I'm sure almost everyone who caught The Arcade Fire's performance of "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" yesterday on Late Night With Conan O'Brien must have been creaming themselves. Fantastic performance. The motorcyle helmets were wicked and the energy on stage was dynamic. Kinda funny how that stray drumstick almost nailed Win in the face; thankfully it looked like more of a graze. Of course, I didn't catch the original television broadcast because I fell asleep. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for pointing out a torrent of The Arcade Fire's performance. Grab it NOW because the transfer speed is WAY FAST. Zoilus chips in with some comments of his own and also points to a smaller video file[.avi] of the performance, which is by way of Evaporated...on a related note, daily refill dot com went to The Arcade Fire show in New York City at Webster Hall yesterday and she has a brief(but nice) video clip of the band performing "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)".

Someone on the broken telephone forum said that along with Stars on this years' Exclaim! tour will also be Ted Leo and The Organ. Nothing confirmed on the Ted Leo site yet but the Exclaim site does list The Organ as one of the confirmed bands. The Toronto date will be April 14th at The Phoenix and will include Stars, The Organ, Wooden Stars, and Montag. Apostle of Hustle will be playing the dates towards the west coast.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Favourite Colours

The SadiesBeing There has an interview with drummer Mike Belitsky of The Sadies. [photo from http://../]

Largehearted Boy points out links to The Arcade Fire's recent KCRW session (in mp3 format) as well as various Dears live shows and radio performances.

Soul Shine Magazine reports that The Kaiser Chiefs gig will be at Revival in Toronto on February 15th and the Bloc Party gig has been moved to Lee's Palace on April 2nd. emergelive confirms the Bloc Party gig info but is still indicating that The Kaiser Chiefs gig will be at El Mocambo. The El Mocambo website as well as also state that The Kaiser Chiefs are still scheduled to play the El Mocambo on February 15th.

A Girl Called Eddy tour dates are now up at her site under "Shows Schedule". As mentioned A Girl Called Eddy and Keren Ann will be in Toronto at the Horsehoe on March 6th. The only other Canadian date will be in Montreal at Main Hall on March 7th. The Toronto show will be special(although I'm still a little miffed that for such 'sophisticated' music, the show's at the Horseshoe of all places rather than The Drake Hotel, Lee's Palace, or The Mod Club).

controller.controller are feeling the U.K. love. They played their first U.K. show yesterday. Reviews anyone?

So I'm not the only one digging Kelly Clarkson. phew! Ted Leo admits it[see his diary update February 1, 2005]. So does pop(all love). C'mon, y'know you like it. But with a song like "Since You've Been Gone", who could resist? Indie-cred, schm-indie-cred. Watch and listen. [link from pop(all love)]