Thursday, September 29, 2005

Do The Whirlwind

Architecture in HelsinkiIn advance of their sold out show on October 1st at Rancho Relaxo in Toronto, eye speaks with Architecture in Helsinki's frontman Cameron Bird about having the opportunity to perform in the city that gave birth to Degrassi Junior High. [photo from http://../]

Here's a torrent of AiH's concert in Vancouver at Artspace on September 24, 2005. [via Largehearted Boy]

Prefixblog has a video download of Death Cab For Cutie 's performance of "Soul Meets Body" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien from September 27, 2005.

The National performed a live session for MPR 89.3 The Current on September 25, 2005. They performed "We're All Looking For Astronauts", "Lit Up", and "Daughters Of The SoHo Riots". The session is now archived for your listening pleasure.

The New Pornographers will appear on Last Call With Carson Daly tonight(September 29th).

Speaking of, the band performed at Bimbo's in San Francisco yesterday and Une anee sans lumiere has photos. Neko Case, sporting the mini-skirt and fishnet stockings...I can hardly wait for the Toronto show.

I am so jealous of this person right now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no

Revolution in the Head has an mp3 of The Magic Numbers performing a terrific live cover of Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" at Paradiso Club in Amsterdam. You can watch the whole show(which took place on Sept 19, 2005) over at Fabchannel.

Spoon performed a live acoustic session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe yesterday(September 26, 2005). Listen here(at around 20:40:00 mark; link only valid for a week). The band performed "Beast and Dragon, Adored" and "Sister Jack". Hopefully, the session will be archived.

Metric will be at The Edge studios tomorrow at 6:10 pm. Listen online here. Maybe while you're there you can ask 'em why they delayed the release of their new album "Live It Out" by one week, now scheduled to be release October 4th. Metric fans are in a frenzy.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Live It Out

Metric 'Live It Out'Metric. New album "Live it Out", out tomorrow. $11.99 @ Futureshop. Can't beat that. Count down the hours and listen repeatedly to first single "Monster Hospital" over at their MySpace site.

While Stereogum points out that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have turned downed an offer to appear on "The O.C.", daily refill dot com lists a truck-load of indie darlings that would. Lou Barlow's response is priceless: "i would do nearly anything for money at this point..we didn't have health insurance. i have no shame."

Artblot has some photos and video from The New Pornographers' September 23, 2005 show in Vancouver. As an added bonus, Artblot also has photos and video from the Ted Leo/Pharmacists' September 2, 2005 show at Richard's on Richards in Vancouver. The quality of the videos are decent; in particular, check out the live video for The New Pornographers' performance of "Sing Me Spanish Techno". Doesn't Neko look lovely? [via comments over at From Blown Speakers]

The Deadly Snakes have launched their own website. And just a reminder the band has an instore at Soundscapes in Toronto, tomorrow at 4:30 pm. [via Stillepost]

Here's a torrent of a good quality video of The Arcade Fire at the Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, Holland. Four songs in total, including "Laika", "Tunnels", "Power Out", and "Rebellion(Lies)".

Death Cab For Cutie will perform tomorrow night on Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hell Yes

BeckAny Beck sightings this weekend? He's opening for The Rolling Stones tomorrow night at Rogers Centre and he'll be doing an interview at The Edge studios tomorrow at 3 pm EST. Out-of-towners can listen online. I hadn't had any reasons to go downtown this weekend so unfortunately missed any potential Beck sightings. It'd have been cool if he performed an impromptu acoustic set like he did in New York CitySan Francisco at a Mexican Restaurant this past July. In Toronto, perhaps a Tim Hortons?[photo from]

Chartattack spoke to Beck who is a little vague on what fans can expect from him when he opens for The Rolling Stones tomorrow. No weirdness(a la his past tour with The Flaming Lips). As Beck puts it, "It's definitely going to be more of a... I don't know how to characterize it. There'll be interesting things occurring at certain points."

If you miss Beck, you can always catch M.I.A. who'll be stopping by MuchMusic as a guest on MuchOnDemand tomorrow at 5 pm EST. [info via Just Keep Bloggin']

Teenage Fanclub were on Swedish radio, Sveriges Radio P3 - P3 Live for a close-to-an-hour long session. Listen here(link valid only until Sept 30th). I don't know Swedish but from what I could make out on the radio statio website, there's a date of 2005-07-05 which might actually be the date the session was recorded. However, the radio station broadcast the session this past Friday September 23rd. [via Teenage Fanclub messageboard]

There's a new torrent over at Us Kids Know Torrents of The Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre/Wolf Parade show from September 18, 2005 in San Francisco @ The Warfield.

Stillepost is cooking with some interesting upcoming Toronto-area shows:

  • The Two Koreas: book launch for Jason Anderson's debut novel, "Showbiz", as well as to celebrate the release of Brian Joseph Davis' collection of prose-poems entitled "Portable Altamont" @ The Drake Hotel on Tuesday September 27th -- info

  • The Sadies, The Deadly Snakes and The Hidden Cameras: New Orleans benefit show @ The Silver Dollar on Saturday October 8th. -- info

  • An Evening With: The Moog @ The Boat on October 14th -- info

  • Friday, September 23, 2005

    The (Next) Arcade Fire?

    My Latest NovelBrooklyvegan ponders who will be the next Arcade Fire. Seems everyone has their own opinion. I haven't given it much thought really, although several bands from overseas spring to mind:

  • My Latest Novel - A band that I could see picking up some steam are a band I just discoverd YESTERDAY as a matter of fact. They are called My Latest Novel and are from Scotland. It seems Scotland has been on a roll lately with bands like Franz Ferdinand and Sons and Daughters to name a couple. The band'll be performing a live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe program today(September 23rd). After checking out some of their mp3's, I am duly impressed. First of all, the Belle and Sebastian influence is very obvious but the band's also drawing comparisons to Tindersticks and late-period Velvet Underground. Lovely stuff. I shall explore them further.

  • Bearsuit - I remember Largehearted Boy named their album "Cat Spectacular" one of his favourite albums of 2004. I've heard some mp3's of theirs and they remind me of a more hectic version of Belle and Sebastian. I can definitely get into that.

  • The Magic Numbers - I've been reading The Magic Numbers name in the music press alot. I had my first taste of their music yesterday, finally. Check out their video for their song "Love Me Like You". I love the female background vocals. They are coming to Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on December 1st; tickets, $13.50, went onsale yesterday at Ticketmaster. I'm thinking Rotate This and Soundscapes should get their ticket allotment by the weekend.

  • :
    Watch the video for the Great Lake Swimmers' "To Leave It Behind". The site also has music videos for Nathan Lawr, Martin Tielli, Wax Mannequin, and Jack Breakfast. [via Stillepost]

    Here's a torrent(registration required) of the Sigur Ros show at Massey Hall in Toronto which took place this past Monday September 19, 2005.

    According to The Fall website, it's looking likely that the earliest the band'll make it over to the US(and I'm assuming Canada as well) will be early 2006. Their new booking agent is Inland Empire Touring. Check out the band's webpage for complete tour dates.

    According to eye, psych-pop Brooklyn-ites The Essex Green are the openers for the Shout Out Louds show at The Mod Club in Toronto on November 7th.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    So Easy

    Annie @ The Opera House: photo by Mike Ligon

    Royksopp @ The Opera House: : photo by Mike Ligon

    >> more photos

    concert review: Royksopp w/ Annie @ The Opera House(Toronto, Ontario), September 20, 2005

    A few nights ago was the Norweigan double-header of Royksopp and Annie at The Opera House. I was more excited to see Annie than Royksopp. Well, to be more accurate, I was more curious to see what all the hype was about. I had enjoyed enough the samples I'd heard beforehand and of course she's lovely. Unfortunately, I found her set a little underwhelming. First of all, for her band setup which featured her on vocals, her dreadlocked guitarist and another gentleman on keyboard and programming duties, The Opera House wasn't an appropriate sized venue. I think the performance would have been better in a smaller venue because really, other than herself ;-), there wasn't anything visually stimulating about her performance. Musically, she fared well. I thought she was somewhat stiff at the beginning but did loosen up as her set progressed. Even if the bubblegum pop factor was a little high and the sound somewhat mechanical, I couldn't really deny the infectiousness of the music, especially with songs like the sleazy disco-pop of "Chewing Gum" or the Kylie Minogue-meets-Saint Etienne dance-pop of "Heartbeat". On a certain level, the music's more than decent dance pop. However, on occasion it's hard to take some of her music seriously such as the coy "Wedding" with her sly(somewhat silly) repeated refrain of "I do, I do, I do", complete with her pointing to the crowd each time. The musical component was heavily dependent on preprogrammed melodies and beats, which was augmented by some minor live guitar licks. If the musical instrumentation was performed live, I'd probably be more impressed. Don't get me wrong; I like her music, but seeing her live didn't make me love it.

    I can't remember where I'd read this, but yes the lads of Royksopp wore coordinating monochromatic shirts with dark ties which reminded me of Kraftwerk. They had an assortment of keyboards and other electronic do-dads like drums onstage with them, with their band name emblazened behind them. Visually, the lighting during their performance constantly drenched the band in hues of red, purple and blue. Being only two persons behind keyboards, the guys actually put alot of energy into their performance as they played their keyboards as well as when one of the gentlemen picked up drumsticks to play the electro drumkit. I only have their debut album "Melody A.M." so I can't speak about the songs from their second album. Highlights included their funky instrumental "Eple", the house-y "Poor Leno" and the pop-vocal performance of "Remind Me". On at least a couple of tracks the band utilized the vocals of a lovely female guest vocalist.

    Royksopp were still hit and miss for me. While they have nuances in their music that I quite enjoy, when their music leans towards a run-of-the mill dance sound, especially on some of their instrumental excursions, I start to lose interest. Still, Toronto seemed to enjoy them alot. I happened to be near the front towards the right side of the stage and I was standing near a group of people[I think they were Eastern European] who were dancing up a storm like it were a rave. I got my dancing shoes later on also. The band was kind enough to give us TWO encores, saving their best song, "So Easy", for the second encore. If you've ever heard the song, it sounds like an Ennio Morricone sample combined with a dance beat[although according to the liner notes of the album, the audio sample's a song called "Blue On Blue" written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David]. In any case, I would have preferred more songs along the line of that than some of the instrumental dance tracks they performed earlier which were less interesting. On a scale of 10, I'd say the entire evening rated a good 7. Yay, to Norway!
    The current issue of The Montreal Mirror interviews Annie. Last week's issue of eye profiled her.

    The Straight speaks with The New Pornographers' Carl Newman about the band's "governing impulse towards high concept", even attributing this to their recent lyric modification during their performance of "Use It" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

    The Coast discusses how to get into "sold out" shows. Take notes.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Takk (Thanks)

    Amina @ Massey Hall: photo by Mike Ligon

    Sigur Ros @ Massey Hall: photo by Mike Ligon

    >> more photos

    concert review: Sigur Ros w/ Amina @ Massey Hall(Toronto, Ontario), September 19, 2005

    Not the cathartic experience I was hoping it to be but the Sigur Ros show at Massey Hall a couple of days ago was still indeed very good. Even though I've been scooping up Sigur Ros albums slowly over the last year, I have to admit that I haven't had the patience to sit through an album in its entirety. They have some lovely moments on record and during the show was no exception. Sigur Ros' string section for this current tour are a band called Amina who also were the openers for the show. Amina started off with a quiet avant/ambient string quartet piece which while interesting, was not really my cup of tea. However, as their set progressed the band's instrumentation encompassed a wide variety of other instruments including bells, wine glasses, keyboards, laptop programming, and even a saw played with a violin bow. There was also more of an emphasis on melody, thankfully. Their music's aesthetically similar to Sigur Ros' ambient moments, I guess. The audience seemed to warm up to the band as their set progressed and by the end of the set when they finished with a playful Casio-driven, almost-electro-pop instrumental the audience had been won over. Well, I was at least. It doesn't hurt that they're Icelandic beauties also.

    Sigur Ros started their set behind a white translucent curtain that cast the band members shadows as they performed their first song. When the curtain was moved to the side of the stage to reveal the band behind, the audience went crazy. Being a novice of the band's music, I guess what I noticed during their set was a good deal of emphasis on rock conventions: loud guitars, thunderous drumming, earnest vocals and so on. However, their songs are very unconventional rock songs. On the louder numbers, there was alot of simmering instrumental buildup intially to a point where the music reaches a pinnacle and collapses in on itself. Melodically, I though Sigur Ros sounded fairly unique. There were moments when Sigur Ros sounded 'pop' but more often than not I felt the band's melodies were a little less obvious. When the band strove for quieter moments like the brilliant "Sigur 1(Untitled)", I was absolutely mesmerized; even though that song is an instrumental, I almost got choked up hearing it. In a large theatre like Massey Hall, the quieter moments were awesome. I'll unashamedly grab for the rock cliche and say that Sigur Ros' quiet moments during the show gave me the feeling of 'being in the womb'; it's warm, comfortable and safe. Sigur Ros' music can be a little sleepy, and when the lights dimmed, that didn't necessarily help with staying awake. Fortunately, I did catch my second wind and stay awake.

    Visually there was a variety of screen projections that kept things interesting. If anything, I noticed a theme of innocence within the images. For example, there were images of a children's doll's face as well as children jumping up and down. I thought the images worked quite well with the music.

    For the Sigur Ros novice that I am, the show was very good. I think having seen the band physically has somewhat demystified them for me after having never seen pictures of them before. The couple of music videos I've seen of theirs, I don't recall them being in the video.

    Sorry, for the lack of song titles in this review. suckingalemon and mishie can help you in that respect. Go check out their reviews also.
    Matisyahu will be in Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on October 27th.

    Ben Lee will be back in Toronto(again, he must like it here) for a show at El Mocambo on November 6th. [last two items from emerge]

    Shout Out Louds will be at The Mod Club on November 7th. [from Pollstar]

    I cut and paste the following info off Stillepost:

    The Hidden Cameras and Toronto Dance Theatre (local modern dance company) are presenting a collaborative music-dance concert, November 22-26, at Premiere Dance Theatre (Harbourfront Centre). As the show goes on, the musicians and dancers will begin to switch roles, with dancers playing instruments and the HCs dancing...

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Two Sips From The Cup Of Human Kindness And I'm Shit-Faced

    The New Pornographers performing 'Use It' on Late Night With Conan O'BrienFinally, I found a link over at Prefix Mag of video of The New Pornographers' live performance of "Use It" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Yes, old link. But, it's all about context. I was reading Kofi's Hat's site about the performance and she said that the band changed the lyric "Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shit-faced" to "Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm replaced". Actually, I was never aware of this lyric beforehand, but actually found it somewhat disturbing that the band (likely)bowed down to network pressures to censor their lyrics. Disappointing to say the least. I still love you, but why did you do it?

    The Beggars Group Canada site lists some upcoming Canadian tour dates for the UK's Super Furry Animals including dates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Toronto will have the privilege of seeing them at The Phoenix on November 2nd, with openers Caribou. Count me in.

    Billboard informs that Isobel Campbell and Saint Etienne have both signed new record deals. Saint Etienne(who's been with Sub Pop for a while) has signed with Savoy Jazz which seems like a very odd choice. But then again, I originally thought Saint Etienne signing to Sub Pop was odd. I'm actually all for record labels diversifying their rosters so I'm looking forward to this. I actually haven't kept up with Isobel Campbell's solo career, but for those interested she's just signed to V2 Music. I like V2; they also just signed Meligrove Band!

    And to further pilfer Billboard, they report that Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis' recording of her solo album has been completed and is scheduled for a release this coming January 2006. Oh, collaborations and guests galore on the new album. This kind of disappoints me; I think I'd rather hear a true solo effort from Ms. Lewis without the benefit of guest artists. But then again, when you have Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and Bright Eyes guesting, it's like money in the bank, right?

    Soul Shine Magazine reported yesterday that Digital Rights Agency has started Bliptones which is an online company selling ringtones of songs from independent bands like Death Cab For Cutie and The Decemberists. And no, they are not those crappy polyphonic tone versions. They are the ACTUAL songs(well, at least clips of the songs), although you need a cellphone that can actually play these. Fortunately, my phone does. Yes, I caved. Now whenever someone phones me, my phone'll be emitting the sweet sounds of Death Cab For Cutie's "Title and Registration". Indie-yuppiedom, here I come.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine

    This Is The Dream Of Win & RegineDownload the video for Final Fantasy's "This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine". Viewer reaction.

    Bradley's Almanac gives a taste for what we have in store for us at the Sigur Rós show tonight at Massey Hall in Toronto. He has an mp3 download of Sigur Rós' show live at the Boston Opera House on Thursday September 15th, 2005.

    On The Arcade Fire watch, here's a torrent(registration required) of a video[mpg] of The Arcade Fire performing "Rebellion(Lies)" on Top of the Pops on September 11, 2005. [via Largehearted Boy]

    The Hidden Cameras are scheduled for a show at The Casbah in Hamilton ON November 3rd. [from Stillepost] No Toronto dates announced as of yet.

    Starting in November, Kathleen Edwards will be touring with Joel Plaskett. The tour will bring them to Toronto on November 10th for a show at The Phoenix. Check out the artists' websites for more tour dates.

    The Organ have some upcoming tour dates with Gentleman Reg. If you're not going to the Sigur Ros show tonight, you can catch The Organ and Gentleman Reg in Hamilton at The Casbah. The tour'll come back to Toronto on October 15th for a show at Revival.

    The Guardian Unlimited peeks into the late BBC Radio DJ John Peel's seven-inch records collection. Meanwhile it's been announced that New Order, plus The Fall, Super Furry Animals and others will be taking part in a tribute concert for Mr. Peel on October 12th at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall which will precede John Peel Day on October 13th which'll feature 300 gigs across the UK. Events are also planned in Spain, Germany, Italy, US, Holland, New Zealand and Canada. Anyone know of any Toronto events?

    Jens Lekman(see his July 19, 2005 update) has some rules you need to follow if you want to do an interview with him. Learn them. Live them.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Friday Night, Saturday Morning

    concert review: Nouvelle Vague w/ Michael Holt @ Rivoli(Toronto, Ontario), September 16, 2005

    Nouvelle Vague @ Rivoli: photo by Mike LigonWhat I believe was their Toronto debut, French project Nouvelle Vague performed to a sold-out show this past Friday at the Rivoli. I hadn't been to the Rivoli for several years and it looks like the restaurant/bar has been renovated(or maybe it's just been a long time, and I just don't remember what it looked like). The live music room at the back looked pretty much the way I rememberd it but bigger. Opener, Michael Holt performed a brief set of keyboard driven tunes ranging from the absurd(the first song of the set which featured a barrage of incoherent vocal rhythms set to a playful melody) to jaunty pop confections(like "Essex House").

    It was Nouvelle Vague's cool album cover(the one featuring a white, black and blue graphic image of a demure young woman) which drew me to investigate this band's music late last year. I discovered that they were covering late 70's-early 80's punk and post-punk classics in a rather unconventional sad-core/bossa nova/french pop fashion. I enjoyed what I heard, in particular their bossa nova spin on Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart". I went to the show to see if Nouvelle Vague could pull it off live and I'm glad to say they were fairly successful.

    With the keyboardist strolling onto stage to take a seat followed by the drummer and guitarist, samples of crickets chirping and ocean waves crashing filled the air until the group's two female vocalists took the stage. The dichotomy between the two female vocalists was apparent. One of the ladies had a pink wig on but had a sort-of 60's-ish panache about her that reminded me of Lulu. The other female vocalist with her long dark hair, short black miniskirt, and pink tights had a more vamp-ish quality in her stage presence and vocal style. While there was a great deal of bossa nova rhythms both in the guitar arrangements and percussion, I was glad to hear the variety in their music. The sad-core version of Modern English's "I Melt With You" was a highlight, with vocals and an instrumental arrangement that sounded as if Mazzy Star performed the song. The see-saw rhythms of their cover of The Specials' "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" also went over well with the crowd which featured some audience participation during the chorus and a dazzling tempo increment during the latter part of the song. More obscure covers scattered the set(like their brooding version of "Marian" a Sisters of Mercy song or their quiet exotic take on The Cure's "A Forest") and their unfamiliarity to me actually kept things more interesting to me than if the whole set had been overly too familiar.

    The instrumental foundation of the songs was solid with an arsenal of different percussive instruments, textured acoustic guitar arrangements and a swirling array of keyboards and sampled sounds. I think there were a couple of song choice missteps such as Bauhaus' "Bela Legosi's Dead" or The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks"; while they were pleasant versions, really who could improve on the originals? In the end I thought that Nouvelle Vague more than proved that they're just a 'cover band'. Strangely, I wasn't particulary driven to buy their CD at the merch table(maybe if it had been less expensive than the $20 price tag). I enjoyed them on a musical level of course, but part of my enjoyment was also based on nostalgia. Eventually, I'll want to go back to the originals. [photos from the show]

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Crystal Clear

    concert review: Julie Doiron, The Heavy Blinkers, Snailhouse @ The Casbah(Hamilton, Ontario), September 15, 2005

    The Heavy BlinkersA downsized version of Halifax's The Heavy Blinkers, currently performing as a trio, came to Toronto yesterday for a performance at Canadian Music Cafe as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. That was by invite only but the the band played an intimate show at The Casbah in Hamilton ON later that day. Fortunately, I was able to catch that show. Unfortunately, the show was criminally underattended. I was one of maybe 8 people in the audience yesterday(not counting some of The Heavy Blinkers' Jason MacIaasac's family who were in the audience). Even though I'd gone to the show solo I still enjoyed the artists' sets immensely. The Heavy Blinkers were playing as a trio and perform some new material whose song names you can catch over at their blog. The 'Blinkers yesterday evening consisted of Mr. Jason MacIsaac, David Christensen, and their hired vocalist Jenn Grant who they'd only met a month ago. Jenn's taking over vocal duties for Ruth Minnikin who's currently on tour with her own psychedlic-country band The Reels. As much as I enjoy the delicate vocals of Ruth, there was a robustness to Jenn's vocals which was really awesome to hear. Yes, did she nail the vocals and then some. Instrumentally, the songs were basically down to keyboards and acoustic guitar with a nice touch of clarinet on several songs. If you're a fan of The Heavy Blinkers' brand of orch-pop/Brian Wilson inspired music, I guarantee that the new songs will pierce your heart. And remember these were acoustic versions. I'm looking forward to the gussied-up band versions.

    Bookending The Heavy Blinkers set was Snailhouse and Julie Doiron. Snailhouse performed his typically stark emotional set, but not without showing he had a sense of playfulness. With a nod to the low turnout, he expressed that he could "take chances" with his set which resulted in a very casual run-through of his material. He pulled out a Sebadoh cover, then asked the audience for any requests which at one point someone yelled out "Side One of Disc One". Actually, that song's called "21 years"(off of "The Opposite Is True") and I was hoping for it. Mike was a bit apprehensive about performing it without a band, even taking a few seconds to get the guitar parts in order, but once he got going it was amazing. Towards the end of the set, Julie joined Mike to sing on "Witches and Snowmen".

    Headlining the night was Julie Doiron. Looking back at the quite decent turnout for Julie's Wavelength show this summer, I'd have figured people would have turned out for her. Yeah I really felt Julie's disappointment with the low turnout even though she put on a brave face and smiled through it. Julie played a great set of tunes with her typical quiet "thank you" at the end of most of her songs which was quite endearing. She also played a really good cover of Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard". Preceding her last song, she took a good 3-5 minutes(maybe longer) thanking the audience for coming, joking about the low turnout, but then philosophizing about her career, about enjoying making music for its own sake balanced with earning a living as a musician. She talked about whether she should make more accessible music, maybe losing some of her "moroseness" as she put it, but really all of her talk seemed like her way of opening up to us. I appreciated her honesty very much.

    After the show, I talked with Jason a bit, as well as their current chanteuse Jenn Grant. I want to mention that I had e-mailed Jason about getting into the Canadian Music Cafe show and he even e-mailed me back and said he'd put me on the guestlist as long as I e-mailed him. Well, the day I had received the e-mail, I had read the e-mail pretty late in the day, so I e-mailed Jason back to say thanks for the guestlist offer but if it wasn't possible to add me to the guestlist, I'd try to catch their Hamilton gig. When I mentioned this to Jason he said he had actually put my name on the guestlist. Doh! I was working that day but it would have been possible for me to leave work early and catch their Canadian Music Cafe set, which was taking place in the swanky Yorkville area. I recalled Jason mention that he got Sondre Lerche to sing on a track(or two?) for The Heavy Blinkers' new album and that the band(the full band this time) should make its way back to Toronto for a show within the next couple of months.

    I also talked with Julie(especially about my disappointment with the cancellation of the Ear To The Ground Festival in Toronto which she and Snailhouse were to take part in) before buying one of her CD's. I would've said hello to Mike Snailhouse but he looked like he was busy talking with some other people.

    Yes, it was a great show and you guys missed it....[photo from http://../]
    Here's a torrent(two different file formats) of The New Pornographers live session @ Lou's Records:

  • 2005-08-27, (Lou's Records outdoor show, large file) [avi]

  • 2005-08-27, (Lou's records outdoor show, small file) [mpg]

  • [via Largehearted Boy]

    Styrofoam will be at the Rivoli for a show on November 26th. [from rootmeansquare]

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Coax Me, Cajole Me

    Jay and Andrew of Sloan @ University of Toronto: photo by Mike LigonSloan and controller.controller performed a free show for University of Toronto frosh last Friday afternoon. It wasn't difficult at all for non-students to see the show; they weren't checking ID's or anything. I headed down to the show after work but unfortunately missed controller.controller's set. So really at this stage of my Sloan fandom, a Sloan show is a Sloan show is a Sloan show. It was a good set all around, hearing all the old 'classics' like "Underwhelmed", "Coax Me", "People of The Sky", "The Lines You Amend", and "The Good In Everyone", and newer 'hits' like "The Rest Of My Life", "All Used Up", and "The Other Man". I was glad to hear some songs that I'd never heard them perform live including "False Alarm"(from "Action Pact") and the new-wave pop of new song "Try To Make It"(from "A sides win"). Best Chris Murphy moment: when he quoted Matthew McConaughey's character's infamous line from "Dazed and Confused" but changed it to say something along the lines of "We get older, but the universities get younger and younger..." :-)[photos from the show]
    UK's The Magic Numbers will finally come to Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on December 1st. [from Pollstar]

    Always putting on a good show, hometown boys The New Deal return to The Mod Club in Toronto for a show on October 7th. Tickets, $20, onsale Saturday Sept 17th.

    Tickets for Echo and The Bunnymen's show in Toronto at the ritzy The Carlu also go onsale September 17th at the usual outlets.

    Openers for Feist's two shows at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on October 17th and 18th have been announced. Jason Collett will be playing both shows. In addition, recent Arts & Crafts signee, Australia's New Buffalo will play the October 17th show and Apostle of Hustle will play on the 18th. [last three items via emerge]

    Feist performed a live session this morning for KEXP who are in New York City for the CMJ Music Marathon. The trumpet on "Gatekeeper" is a beautiful touch. She also performed "When I Was A Young Girl", "Mushaboom", and "Let It Die". Listen to the session through the 14-day streaming archive(Tuesday September 13, 11:00am).

    A post over at the Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone forums says you can currently watch Canadian indie videos on Rogers on Demand. Yes, I confirmed it. They have videos from Broken Social Scene, Stars, Metric, controller.controller and others. Check it out if you have Rogers Digital Cable.

    Here's a torrent(registration required) of a live show of The Arcade Fire on 08.30.05 in Liverpool @ Carling Academy. [via Largehearted Boy]

    Fuck. Ear To The Ground has been cancelled. The reason. The reaction.

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    I"ll Be Thinking Of You, And You'll Be Thinking Of Me

    concert review: Cuff The Duke w/ Jon-Rae and The River, Meligrove Band @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), September 9, 2005

    Cuff The Duke @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonLast Friday I caught the Cuff The Duke CD Release show at Lee's Palace. Unfortunately, I missed openers The Meligrove Band. However, I'd like to mention that the guys newest album "Planets Conspire", officially out in January 2006, will be released through V2 Music. Which means WORLDWIDE distribution. They had advance CD's for sale and you just couldn't beat the $10 price tag, so I picked up a CD. A cursory listen reveals that the band has cut loose some of the Brian Wilson and Sloan influences of their earlier records for a mature sound that is a little more avant-pop. This just might be the record to finally convert me.

    Next up were Jon-Rae and The River. I walked into Lee's Palace towards the beginning of their set. It was a great-sounding set which had a back-porch-plugged-into-amps quality. The simmering country vibe of the music transfigured itself as guitar feedback kicked in, keyboards swirled, the drummer(behind his barebones drumkit) cut loose, and the vocals of Jon-Rae, his background vocalist and the vocals of other members of the band went from mild-manneredness to a gospel-like enthusiasm. Jon-Rae, with his guitar slung in front of him, displayed these angular young Elvis Costello-like body movements which was really fun to watch. Even more fun was watching his female background vocalist hip shake, and train-chug as the music got more intense. This was my first time seeing Jon-Rae and it was awesome. And now what it this I hear about Jon-Rae and a Choir? That sounds like it would be even more fun.

    Finally, Cuff The Duke took the stage to a packed house. It was surprisingly more packed than I expected, especially for a local band who I thought only had a small loyal following. The group's brand of country-twang meets arty prog-rock meets pop accessibility was thoroughly enjoyable. The band's lineup that night was rounded out by a gentleman on vibes who I recently saw playing bass guitar during The Fembots' recent Soundscapes instore. Also making special appearances on a couple of songs were frequent Fembots contributor Julie Penner on violin as well as The Hidden Cameras' Mike Olsen on cello. Playing mostly songs off their recent self-titled album, the band also delved into their first album for a transcendental take on "Ballad of a Lonely Construction Worker", with that poignant mantra of "everthing's gonna be alright, gonna be alright" at the end of the song which gets me every time. The band had the audience in full dance mode on a foot-stomper "Take My Money And Run" as well as on the country swing of "The Ballad of Poor John Henry" with it's deliriously catch chorus which featured the lovely vocals of surprise guest vocalist Isla Craig who also sang on the album. Towards the end of the night, the band surprised us with a cover of The Fembots "Count Down Our Days", in the process getting the Meligrove boys and I think some of Jon Rae's band to join in for musical onstage love-in. It was a damn beautiful show. [photos from the show]
    As promised, Mr. Jens Lekman will be returning to Toronto on November 5th for a show at The Music Gallery.

    Hometown boys, Danko Jones make their return to Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on October 8th.

    Thanks to Brooklynvegan for the links to audio and video downloads of David Bowie performing with The Arcade Fire(on The Arcade Fire's "Wake Up") at last Friday's Fashion Rocks event in New York CIty.

    Over at the blog of Halifax's The Heavy Blinkers, head Blinker Jason MacIsaac reports that the band'll be in Toronto this Thursday[September 15th] to unveil some new songs from their upcoming new album entitled "Health". The band is playing as part of Canadian Music Cafe which is affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival. I think this is an industry/guest-list type thing so I may just consider checking them out on that day in the evening in Hamilton ON at The Casbah where they're on a bill with Julie Doiron and Snailhouse.

    The torrent sites have surprisingly been bursting at the seams with a whole bunch of Canadian indie-rock goodies[plus a Pernice Brothers show from 2003 at Lee's Palace which I couldn't pass up linking to; and I was at that show too!]. Links via Largehearted Boy. Get 'em while they're hot:

  • The Arcade Fire / Final Fantasy - 08.30.05 / Liverpool Carling Academy / FLAC

  • The Arcade Fire - 2005-08-17 - Paredes de Coura - Portugal (AVI/DIVX)

  • The Pernice Brothers - 2003-07-22 Toronto, ON

  • The New Pornographers - Live on WFMU 2005

  • The New Pornographers - Live on WFMU 2001

  • The New Pornographers - Live at Lou's Records in Encinitas, CA 8/27/2005

  • Metric - July 26th 2005 @ Olympic Island(Toronto, ON)

  • Broken Social Scene - 2005.7.13 Philadelphia PA (AUD master)

  • ...And finally. The Ear To The Ground Festival. The plot thickens. Alternate venues, lineup changes. This day-to-day drama is just killing me. As quoted from the festival website, "All of our previously scheduled main acts are still playing." That's good news at least. The alternate venues setup has me a little scared. I just got my weekend pass in the mail, but I'm thinking what if venues reach capacity and I can't get in with my pass. At least with the outdoor setup, there was really no chance of such capacity concerns. The festival is having a launch party[tickets $8 @ the door] this Thursday at The Gladstone Hotel featuring performances from Lindsay Ferguson, A Northern Chorus, The Ghost Is Dancing, Kids on TV, and Lullabye Arkestra.

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts

    concert review: Sufjan Stevens w/ Laura Veirs and The Tortured Souls @ Trinity-St. Paul's Church(Toronto, Ontario), September 10, 2005

    Sufjan StevensThis wasn't the first time I've gone to a show where I was virtually unfamiliar with the artists' music. I hadn't heard a note of opener Laura Veirs music beforehand, and other than a couple of songs I'd heard from Sufjan, I was quite unfamiliar with Sufjan Stevens' work. The mere enormity of the attention given to Sufjan Stevens with his most recent album "Illinois" made me go out to buy a ticket to the show which had "not to be missed" written all over it; shere laziness has prevented me from even giving "Illinois" a thorough listen, even though I had it since the second day after it was released. There's something to be said about reading about an artist without ever hearing the music, almost knowing it's something you'll like, then going to see the artist live to confirm your expectations. I must say that Laura Veirs was a pleasant surprise and Sufjan totally lived up to my expectations.

    The bespectacled Laura Veirs and her band The Tortured Souls came onto stage pretty well on schedule. With Laura alternating between electric and acoustic guitars from song to song, she and her band peformed a solid set of moody pop songs with strong melodies and tasteful rock instrumentation. The electric guitar arrangements from one of the Tortured Souls was particularly impressive, understated but melodic. The same member also provided very distinct background vocals which meshed together with Laura's pretty voice. Her last two albums have been released through Nonesuch and I couldn't help but notice a similar aesthetic with label-mates Wilco: understated rock instrumentation with a reliance on good songwriting. At one point in her set, Laura instructed a stagehand to turn down the lights in the church so that she could perform her next song; Laura, as well as a her drummer and keyboardist, donned little flashlights strapped to their foreheads to perform the next song which was a song Laura said was about "exploration". It was quite beautiful, and the awesome quietness that unfolded took full advantage of the church's acoustic. And this was all the while that the audience sat there in the dark. That was amazing. The last thing I liked about Laura was how observant she was of the audience, taking the time to look at the crowd with a geniune interest and smile appreciatively. [After the show, she was even nice enough to autograph my copy of her album "Carbon Glacier".]

    After the understated pop/rock of Laura Veirs came the fanciful indiepop of Sufjan Stevens and his merry group of "Illinoise"-makers. Sufjan started out the set solo accompanying himself on acoustic guitar to perform a pretty tune but then the performance quickly shifted gears for the next song as his band came from behind the audience and ran down the aisles, dressed in their brighly colour-coordinated pep-rally inspired uniforms(branding the letter 'I' on their shirts) and jumped onto the stage. The performance had a playful glee-club/school band aesthetic with members on trumpet, trombone, guitar, xylophone, drums, and Sufjan on banjo/guitar to build songs in a layered fashion. Similarly, there was a nice mesh of vocal arrangments between Sufjan and the different members of the band, the female members in particularly. At one point, Sufjan played a piano that was located offstage, performing a series of songs that took full advantage of the acoustics of the church. Maintaining the pep-rally atmosphere, Sufjan and his band performed a series of "cheers", complete with hand/arm movements, to introduce songs. From such merry introductions, the performance quickly settled into a more poignant tone. I loved the trumpet, the xylophone and the background vocals in particular, but when all those sounds and more meshed together it was a beautiful thing. Sufjan's song "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" is the song that I was most familiar with beforehand[I couldn't stop humming it to myself that whole day] and maybe it was no coincidence that Sufjan chose to close the main set with it; it's a real clincher. The song itself is a journey from humble beginnings of quiet vocals, intricate guitar, and solitary trumpet, to leaps and bounds as the 'choir' of vocals and the rest of the band's instruments kick in to drive the song home. Even though Sufjan and the band came back for an encore[this time in their regular clothes] to perform a couple more songs, it was "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" which really made the evening. [photos from the show]

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    The City

    Fembots @ Soundscapes: photo by Mike LigonTo celebrate the release of their new album "The City", Fembots performed an instore at Soundscapes on September 6, 2005. See the photo at left and a second photo here. It was stifling hot in the store again(although still not as hot as the Cuff The Duke instore recently) but otherwise I was able to ignore the heat and enjoy the Fembots' lovely set. The new songs are so wonderful.

    The Greenhornes, who open for The White Stripes at Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto on September 16th, will be doing an instore performance at Soundscapes on September 15th.

    Tina Dico(who's previously sung with Zero 7) will be in Toronto for a show at the El Mocambo on September 29th.

    Apostle of Hustle have been confirmed as openers for The Fiery Furnaces show at Lee's Palace on October 10th. [last two news bits from emerge]

    Pre-sale tickets for Spoon's US shows as well as the band's Toronto date at the Phoenix on November 1st are available as of yesterday, here

    controller.controller will be hitting the road in October and November for a Canadian tour, in support of their new album "X-Amounts" which will be released on October 11th, through Paper Bag Records. The band plays in Toronto during the Ear To The Ground Fest for a late night slot on September 17th and will be in Hamilton at The Underground on October 14th. More tour date info over at Soul Shine Magazine.

    Cuff The Duke will also head out on tour, starting off in Ontario during September, then gradually making their way westward during October. In addition to their CD Release gig at Lee's Palace this Friday September 9th, they are also scheduled for a show at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre on October 2nd. Again, check out more tour date info over at Soul SHine Magazine.

    Camera Obscura launched their snazzy new website yesterday. The band's currently still in the process of recording their new album, with production duties being handled by Jari Haapalainen who recently produced The Concretes album. Check out the band's blog for all the inside info.

    The talk over at Stillepost regarding the state of the Ear to The Ground Fest has my stomach in knots. I bought my weekend pass almost as soon as they went on sale, and I am really, really looking forward to the festival. I don't think I can handle another cancellation. I am going to try to remain optimistic.

    Update: This post from LeftyCanuck(who I believe's involved in the ETTG Fest) over at Stillepost has put me alot more at ease with the festival not being cancelled. Reconfigured as he puts it. And as Frank mentioned in the comments, there are rumours of the dance and theatre portions of the festival being cancelled. If that's true, it's a shame for those who were looking forward to those things. Me, I'm just in it for the music. I think we need to start some sort of campaign to keep this afloat. So mention the festival to your friends, family and coworkers. And you fucking last-minute'rs, buy your passes already.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Dance Me In

    from l to r - Adele, David and Ailidh of Sons and Daughters @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike Ligon

    from l to r - Adele and Scott of Sons and Daughters @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike Ligon

    >>more photos

    concert review: Sons and Daughters w/ The Double @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), September 5, 2005

    My friend and I ended Labour Day weekend on a high note with the Sons and Daughters show at Lee's Palace on Monday night. We walked in on Matador Records' The Double who were in the middle of their last song of their set. Buried within the song's noisy Sonic Youth/post rock instrumentation were hints at a melody begging to come to the surface. I thought they were interesting but I couldn't help but think that the instrumentation was just a tad bit busy. Ok, this is all based on half of one song so I won't jump to any conclusions until I have a chance to explore them further. Will that be anytime soon? Probably not, but I've made a mental note. There.

    The wait between sets was upwards of forty minutes, unnecessarily long in my opinion, but all worth it when Sons and Daughters strolled onto the stage. I'd seen Sons and Daughters, first opening for Franz Ferdinand at Kool Haus in June 2004 and second when they opened for Clinic at Lee's Palace in November of 2004. This time around, Lee's Palace was a little under full capacity but otherwise the crowd was pretty enthusiastic. Co-lead vocalist Adele Bethel was a ball of energy dressed in a red leather skirt, strapless top and pumps, twisting and contorting her body as she snarled her vocals with a sinister but sexy bent. Other co-lead vocalist Scott Paterson's vocals alternated between a growl and a less intimidating tone. Drummer David Gow was impressive behind the kit, guiding the songs with a sense of urgency. Bass guitarist(as well as mandolin player) Ailidh Lennon, while a bit laidback as she gazed into the audience, was more than competent with her musical contributions. Maybe the best sounding-mandolin I've heard in a long time actually.

    Best tracks were the mandolin-infused "Medicine", the dueling male-female vocals of "Red Receiver" and "Fight", the propulsive, punky "Dance Me In", the almost-Smiths sounding "Taste The Last Girl" and the guitar emphasis of "Broken Bones".

    Unfortunately, there seemed to be an ongoing problem with Adele's vocals. It sounded way too low in the mix, and only when her vocals approached screaming vocals was I able to hear her vocals clearly. God knows what she said between songs; really her vocals were just that low in the mix, to the point where even audience members were shouting for the volume in the vocals to be turned up. With no encore, and stage banter being a blur due to the mic problem, it felt like they steam-rolled through their set. They do deserve props for inciting a good number of people, at least in front of the stage, to dance up a storm. Me, well I wasn't quite dancing but I had my head bobbing and legs shaking. And man, was it intense. ;-)

    It's difficult to call Sons and Daughters' music country, punk, or even cow-punk. Their amalgam of influences sounds completely natural without an ounce of clichedness. Their first EP has a song called Johnny Cash and I think Sons and Daughters can claim an affinity with The Man in Black, at least in one respect: their music has balls.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Kathleen Edwards @ Mix 99.9 FM Beachfest

    Kathleen Edwards, part of Mix 99.9 FM Beachfest @ Sunnyside Park(Toronto, Ontario), September 5, 2005
    Kathleen Edwards @ Mix 99.9 FM Beachfest

    >>more photos

    Kathleen performed a brief set at this year's Mix 99.9 FM Beachfest which included other performers like Matthew Barber, Sarah Slean, Ron Sexsmith, K-OS, and Blue Rodeo. I was only able to catch most of Kathleen's set and yes, she did her darndest to perform to the crowd whilst the Canadian International Air Show flew overhead. At one point the planes drew a heart in the sky which Kathleen made reference to. I thought that was really nice. It would have been an almost perfect set if not for the dude yelling out, "You sound like The 'Hip". Nothing against The 'Hip, but that guy was an asshole.

    Sunday, September 04, 2005

    Bang Bang Rock N' Roll

    Art BrutFrom Morecowbell, UK's Art Brut will be crossing the Atlantic for a North American tour which'll hit Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on November 14th. [photo from http://../]

    Metric's new album has "Live It Out" which will officially be released in Canada on September 27th, has been leaked.

    The webcast of Stars' show @ Paradiso in Amsterdam from August 29, 2005 is archived at Fabchannel. Watch it here.

    Son Volt will be performing a live session for KEXP today at 3 pm PST[6 pm EST].

    This video for The Backstreet Boys' "Just Want You To Know" is seriously the best thing they've EVER done.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Old Paint

    FreakwaterNo need to go to Buffalo follks, because Thrill Jockey country outfit Freakwater will be coming to Toronto for a show at El Mocambo on October 22nd. [via Billions] The band releases their new album "Thinking of You" through Thrill Jockey on September 13th. [photo from http://../]

    Should I get excited now? More Cowbell has only one tour date so far for Super Furry Animals who are scheduled to play in his hometown of Minneapolis on November 21st @ Fine Line Cafe. No North American tour date info yet at Pollstar or the band's official website, but methinks a North American tour has to be just around the corner.

    The Mix 99.9 Beachfest @ Sunnyside Park this Labour Day is half-decent. I'll probably check this out before heading down to the Sons and Daughters show @ Lee's Palace that evening. Check out the Beachfest lineup below:

    5:15pm - 6:15pm - Blue Rodeo & Friends
    4:45pm - 5:00pm - Tom Cochrane
    4:00pm - 4:30pm - Kathleen Edwards
    3:10pm - 3:40pm - David Usher
    2:30pm - 2:45pm - Steven Page
    1:40pm - 2:10pm - K-OS
    12:45pm - 1:15pm - Ron Sexsmith
    12:10pm - 12:25pm - Sarah Slean
    11:35am - 11:50am - Jeremy Fisher
    11:00am - 11:20am - Matthew Barber
    10:30am - 10:45am - Kyle Riabko

    A torrent(registration required) of The Arcade Fire 's recent show @ The Leadmill, in Sheffield UK is up at dimeadozen.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Count Down Our Days

    Fembots @ Harbourfront(August 2004) - Dave, Julie and Jason: photo by Mike Ligon NOW gives Fembots' new album "The City" 5 N's out of 5. Reviewer Sarah Liss expresses, "Gone are the gimmicky sound effects and tape loops; in their place, Dave Mackinnon and Brian Poirier focus on impeccable songwriting, dedicating a wistful love letter to a battered and broken-down Toronto."

    I've been listening to their first album lately, and I honestly found the sound effects and tape loops distracting. They were much more assured sounding when they let a nice little melody shine through, like on the The The(during his Hank Williams Sr. phase)-sounding tune "Ice Cream". I really enjoyed Fembots when I saw them perform at last year's Gobsmacked Festival down at Harbourfront as well as when they opened for Sarah Harmer at Lee's Palace last year during NXNE. As a reminder, the band's doing an in-store at Soundscapes on September 6th at 6 pm. I'll likely head down to this after work. Check out their website for more tour date information.

    You can listen to audio of their snazzy new single "Count Down Our Days" as well as other Fembots songs over at New Music Canada.

    Here's an older clip of the band performing "Broken and Blue" live on ZeD.(Note: to view video, click on 'Collaboration' tab, then click on the .ram file.)
    Now and The Toronto Star[bugmenot] speak with Sons and Daughters. I am loving their debut album "The Repulsion Box". I'll be seeing them at Lee's Palace on Labour Day, September 5th.

    Check out this Japanese website on The Arcade Fire which in addition to having the animated videos for "Neighbourhood #4(Power Out)" and "Neighbourhood #2(Laika)", also has for your streaming pleasure live concert videos of each song. [via Just Keep Bloggin']

    The Dandy Warhols will be at The Mod Club on September 11th. [from Pollstar]

    The New Pornographers will appear on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on September 16th! [via The Georgia Straight]

    The Westender and The Georgia Straight speak with Brazilian Girls who are currently on tour in North America on the west coast[Vancouver @ Red Room on September 7th] before heading to the midwest and east coast in October. No Toronto dates lined up at the moment.