Monday, July 31, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

concerts: Vitaminsforyou @ Harbourfront(July 28, 2006); Madrid, Sleeping Kings Of Iona, Fjord Rowboat @ Savoy(July 28, 2006); Elena Juatco(part of Toronto Mabuhay Summer Festival) @ Metro Convention Centre(July 29, 2006)

Been sort of feeling the blahs about going to concerts lately. I make a list on the sidebar about all the shows I'd like to go see but then it seems like I end up not going because I don't feel like it or I'm not up to it. Lately it's been the latter. I just aggravated my cold/allergies over the weekend and this f!*king hot eather isn't helping. I did make it out to a few shows over the weekend fortunately.

After work on Friday I headed down to Harbourfront to catch Vitaminsforyou's set as part of the Winnipeg-themed From The 'Peg Festival. Because of the rain earlier in the day, the set got moved from the outdoor Toronto Star Stage to the indoor Lakeside Terrace. A small but appreciative audience was on hand to catch Vitaminforyou's dense-sounding electronica-based pop music. I think he owes a great debt to New Order, although Vitaminforyou's beats tend to be more furious and trancey, and maybe somewhat busy at times. I'd prefer the vocals to be more upfront because they tend to get buried in the mix, but at least the melodies shone through most of the time. One pleasant surprise was his cover of The Doughboys' "Fix Me". I can't forget to mention the Burton Cummings paper masks that he encouraged everyone to wear, well at least towards the end of his set. Forgive me for not taking part, but I hadn't picked up the mask at the beginning of the set because I didn't realize what they were for. Sue me.

Later on that night, I made it out to a venue I hadn't been to before which is Savoy in Toronto which used to be Torch Bistro. Apparently, they'll be booking indie rock shows there now, at least part of the time. Set on the second floor, with the window at the back of the band stage overlooking the nice brick building across the street, I thought it was a pretty cozy venue. Four bands were playing that night. I missed first openers The Early Morning and only caught a couple of songs from Fjord Rowboat. The two shoegazerish tunes from Fjord Rowboat definitely piqued my interest and I intend to check them out in the future. Up next were Buffalo, NY band Sleeping Kings Of Iona who I'd first checked out(and were impressed with) during North by Northeast. They played a brief set of their moody indie rock embellished nicely with keyboards, beats and other electronica influences. I enjoyed their varied sound(ranging from droney prog-rock, to Junior Boys-sounding electro-pop, to electronica instrumentals) quite a bit, although it was a shame it was such a brief set. I'd originally intended to split before Madrid but then decided to stick it out. I saw them open for The New Deal once and I'm glad that I stuck around this time. Their music reminds me of a less dubby version of King Cobb Steelie, atmospheric and rhythmic all at once, and they're skilled musicians. The sounds emanating from that bass guitar were fantastic. I could say more, but I think I'll leave it at that. A good night all around. I'm looking forward to more shows there.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it out to the free Weakerthans show at Harbourfront on Saturday night as I'd originally planned. Instead, I was getting back to my roots(my Filipino roots, that is) at the Toronto Mabuhay Summer Festival happening at the Metro Convention Centre. I must mention that I was born in Canada, don't speak my native tongue, and I feel somewhat detached from my culture. It's nice to go to these things and realize what a rich culture my people have. It's funny, but the male MC was very Canadian, and that put me somewhat at ease. My friend and I ate some of the food, checked out some of the booths, then watched some of the entertainment, of which culminated with a performance from Elena Juatco(a Filipino girl who was in the top 10 during 2004's Canadian Idol). Not being a big fan of Canadian idol, I was surprised how much I enjoyed her vocals. Her set consisted entirely of cover songs, ranging from "Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart" to Fiona Apple's "Criminal", to "Ball Room Blitz", to a song from 80's band Heart. Her band consisted of her brother and his bandmates, who I believe their band's name is Jealous Minds. I'll forgive her for the obvious Avril Lavigne similarities[her wardrobe style, a little of her vocal style], but man did she really rock that mic. And I'm not just saying that because she's cute.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Kids Are The Same

Pants Yell!I read an article in Boston's The Weekly Dig about their hometown indiepop trio Pants Yell! Their sound is reminiscent of classic early-80's indiepop influences, something I'd explored in the mid-90's to some extent during my "indiepop phase". Pants Yell! are a great reminder of why I'd gone through an indiepop phase in the first place. With a knack for a good pop melody backed with simple pop instrumentation, they're far less cloying than I'd expect. Thank God. I wish I'd become familiar with them sooner because they recently played a gig in Toronto at White Orchid this past July 13th. Their most recent album, their second, "Recent Drama" is out now. You can sample some of the band's music by downloading some mp3's or heading over to the band's MySpace site. Skatterbrain has an mp3 of the band covering a Jens Lekman song.

Brooklyn Vegan has an update of Phoenix tour dates including a date in Toronto at The Mod Club on September 8th(the day before their set at the Toronto Virgin Festival at Olympic Island on September 9th).

There are some new Yo La Tengo tourdates, with some US east coast dates in September and west coast dates in October. The sole Canadian date is in Vancouver, BC at Richards on Richards on October 14th. I'm hoping they'll swing back east to Toronto after that. In the meantime, there's a new mp3 available from their upcoming album "I am Not Afraid of You, and I Will Beat Your Ass" which will released on September 12, 2006:

MP3: Yo La Tengo - "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind"

According to the Horseshoe Tavern's website the openers for controller.controller's shows at the Horseshoe Tavern on September 21st and 22nd will be Vancouver's You Say Party! We Say Die!, who are currently in the midst of a whirlwind, worldwide tour according to their MySpace site. Tickets for the Horseshoe Tavern show are $12.50.

NOW speaks with Toronto's Barzin who expresses that the experimentation of sound he got sucked into during the recording of his second album "My Life In Rooms"(released on Weewerk) is something he's now over. Anyone go to his show at the Rivoli on Thursday night(July 27th)?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Skills Like This

Robert PollardBillboard reports that Robert Pollard will release his second Merge solo album of the year, "Normal Happiness" on October 10th. [photo from Billboard]

Listen: Robert Pollard - "From A Compound Eye" (LP, 2006)

MPR has a live session from Tapes N' Tapes which they performed for the station on July 21, 2006. The band open for The Futureheads at the Phoenix in Toronto tonight. I think I'm one of the few music bloggers that hasn't heard much of Tapes N' Tapes nor the new album from The Futureheads. Hence, I've changed my mind about going to the show tonight but I hope everyone has a great time.

XFM Scotland has archived the acoustic live session(from July 24, 2006) that The Sleepy Jackson performed for them. They performed 'God Lead your Soul', 'More Than One Way', and 'New York/Glasgow Sun'. [via Live Net Music] Their new album "Personality - One Was A Spider, One Was A Bird" was released in North America this past Tuesday July 25th. Listen to tracks from the album over a their MySpace site.

Bradleys Almanac has a review, photos, and mp3 download of the set from Camera Obscura's show in Allston, MA at Great Scott on July 6, 2006 plus a whole bunch of Camera Obscura-related links.

Gary Numan will be at The Mod Club on August 3rd, not at Circa Club as originally announced.

Good news over at Stille Post that ALL CAPS will be putting on an all ages outdoor show with the Toronto Public Space Committe and Dufferin Grove Park on August 12th(from 3-9 pm and will feature a bunch of bands including DD/MM/YYYY, The Diableros, Stop Die Resuscitate, Neil Haverty, I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can't, Proof of Ghosts, Mantler, and The Lolo Project.

Tina Dico and Tobias Froberg will be at The Mod Club on September 16th. [via Pollstar]

Chromewaves informs that UK's The Beautiful South will be in Toronto for a show at the Phoenix on November 1st. I think I want to go to this just for the chance that they might perform at least one Housemartins song.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tijuana Sessions

concert review: Nortec Collective w/ Mexican Institute of Sound @ Harbourfront Centre - CIBC Stage(Toronto, Ontario), July 22, 2006

By this past Saturday, the only thing left over from my nasty cold from the start of last week was a slightly nagging cough. Otherwise, it was so wonderful to finally be able to breathe freely and walk without getting winded. Saturday evening, I did some CD shopping at Sonic Boom[picked up a used copy of the Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man CD "Out of Season"], watched some breakdancing over at Yonge-Dundas Square, then headed over to Harbourfront to catch Nortec Collective w/ Mexican Institute of Sound as part of the Mexican-themed 'Ritmo Y Color' festival. Mexican Institute of Sound opened with a Latin-flavored brand of electronica which was definitely geared towards the dance crowd. I wasn't particulary impressed with any of the beats or sounds. I almost called it a night when they sampled "Macarena". Nortec Collective fared a lot better in my opinion, with a good dose of interesting tempos, beats, and Mexican influences, and the graphic design of the different screen projections on either side of the stage were attractive. It's a shame though that even on the faster rhythmic tracks, the three gents on stage could barely break a sweat behind their laptops/sequencers or whatever electronic do-dad they were working. When I'd read an article in NOW that Calexico had guest on Nortec Collective's album "Tijuana Sessions Vol. 3" and that Nortec Collective had worked on Beck's remix album "Guerolito", I'd had high hopes for them. Some mariachi samples perhaps? Well, I didn't hear any but then I only stuck around until ten o'clock or so before getting bored and leaving. While Nortec Collective seemed perfectly suited for the studio, they were a disappointing live act. I think they'd have fared better if they performed in Harbourfront Centre's smaller Brigantine Room.
Emerge posts over at Stille Post that Kid Koala has been added to the Saturday September 9th lineup of the Toronto Virgin Festival while Amon Tobin has been added to the Sunday September 10th lineup.

Some new Jolie Holland tour dates are over at booking company, Billions' website including an October 13th date at Horseshoe Tavern.

According to their MySpace site, Montreal indie/electro/pop band Hexes and Ohs will be at Rancho Relaxo in Toronto on August 31st. They also have a Toronto date listed for August 27th but the venue's still TBD.

i(heart)music offers an mp3 download of a live session that Toronto's The Diableros did for CBC Radio.

Turquoise Days has an mp3 download of some of the songs Camera Obscura performed for Morning Becomes Eclectic last week. The band also performed a live session for KEXP this past Sunday July 23, 2006 at 3:50 pm PST - listen to the session through KEXP's 14-day streaming archive, at least until a rip of the session appears online.[thanks to Just Keep Bloggin' for the heads up]

Pitchfork has word on the upcoming reissue of Pavement's album "Wowee Zowee".

Aversion interviews Eric Bachmann.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Awesome...I Shot That

Beastie Boys - 'Awesome: I ... Shot That' - DVD coverIn a recent post, I'd referred to Sloan as 'those boys who refuse to grow up', and another band that I can squarely put into that category is Beastie Boys. When it came to me pondering what my musical tastes would be when I got older(say 50+; I'm in my 30's now), I always wondered whether the Beastie Boys' music would be something I could still listen to. Would I have outgrown them by then and moved on to mellower music? If I were married with kids, would my children be embarrassed that I was listening to them? And more related to the present, do I think Beastie Boys have passed their prime and/or have(or will they soon) reach a point where they'e just too old for the hip-hop game? I can't really compare them to guitar rock bands like say The Who, The Rolling Stones or bands like Echo and The Bunnymen and The Buzzcocks, because for all the criticisms laid on these bands for being too old and past their prime, they still draw respectable numbers to their shows or buying their CD's. Yes, Roger Daltrey and Mick Jagger are older and more wrinkled, but I don't find it embarrassing at all that they're still touring and making music. I mean it'd be different if they were using walkers or something. However, hip-hop seems so much more of a youth-oriented genre(much more so than guitar-rock) and I wonder how awkward it would be to see the Beasties still rocking the mic at 60 years of age. Mike D (born Mike Diamond, November 20, 1966), MCA (born Adam Yauch, August 5, 1965), and Ad-Rock (born Adam Horovitz, October 31, 1967) are hardly senior citizens, but when I see MCA's grey hair in particular, I'm reminded that they aren't spring chickens anymore. What's fortunate about Beastie Boys is that their forays into funky instrumental jams, hardcore and the odd pop tune(on "Hello Nasty") make them much more versatile than most hip hop acts. I can't wait to see what's next in store for them. I'm glad to say that their recent performance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien illustrates that they still have 'skills to pay the bills':

YouTube: The Beastie Boys - "Root Down" (live on Late Night With Conan O'Brien - July 21, 2006)

This Tuesday July 25, 2006, sees the release of the Beastie Boys' new concert DVD, "Awesome; I F*!kin' Shot That", which was shot by fifty fans who were handed cameras at their sold-out performance at New York's Madison Square Garden. ifilm has a bunch of trailers, video clips, and interviews related to the release of this DVD, available for your viewing pleasure.

Rocking it old-school with the new school, Getting There has a link to a YouTube video of a DJ mixing Beastie Boys and Gnarls Barkley.

Finally, for those of you in the Toronto area, Beastie Boys will be at HMV(333 Yonge St.) for an autograph session on July 27th from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. I work right down the street so maybe I'll swing by.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Who Taught You To Live Like That

Concert Announcements(primarily from Lee's Palace and Horseshoe Tavern websites):

- Sept 14: Electric Six @ Lee's Palace - tickets $15.50
- Sept 19: The Mountain Goats @ Lee's Palace - tickets $15.00
- Sept 20: Asobi Seksu @ Horseshoe Tavern - tickets $8.50
- Sept 21-22: controller.controller @ Horseshoe Tavern - tickets $12.50
- Sept 24: Oppenheimer @ Sneaky Dee's
- Sept 25: Be Your Own Pet & The Black Lips @ Horseshoe Tavern - tickets $12.00

I'm disappointed that the Asobi Seksu show on September 20th is on the same day as The Cardigans show at The Opera House. Sorry but I have to see The Cardigans since I was so disappointed missing seeing them when they played at Lee's Palace in May 2004.

I noticed the next couple of items on the Horseshoe Tavern website: Apostle of Hustle has been added to the Lambchop/Tosca Strings gig at The Mod Club on September 24th. Tickets $20.00. Julie Doiron is on the bill with Magnolia Electric Co. and Shearwater for the show at Lee's Palace on September 12th.

Rock Snob points to Culture Bully who has an mp3 of the new Sloan single "Who Taught You To Live Like That" available for download.

Watch/listen to the live session Camera Obscura did for Morning Becomes Eclectic on Wednesday July 19, 2006.

The Montreal Mirror interviewed guitarist Darcy Hancock of Ladyhawk who played in Toronto at the Rivoli yesterday evening I think I've been a little out of it. The show is tonight. I couldn't go because I was(am) getting over a cold still. I'm almost over my cold; maybe I'll go tonight. Stay tuned for Chromewaves' review and photos because I believe he went is going to the show.

I also missed the Greg Gaffin(with The Weakerthans as his backing band) show at Lee's Palace yesterday. ANTI- has a podcast featuring interview footage with Greg that is intercut with tracks and commentary on the music from his new album "Cold As The Clay".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Little While Longer

The New DealThe New Deal are playing a show at The Mod Club on Friday Night and if I weren't just getting over a bad cold, I'd so be there. As Eye Weekly mentioned bassist Dan Kurtz is now living in the UK dedicating some time to his own band Dragonette, so The New Deal's shows in these parts will be less frequent. So, so, sad. [photo from http://../]

Listen: The New Deal @ MySpace

Thanks to Just Keep Bloggin' for pointing to CTV Etalk who have an interview segment with Amy Millan high atop the CN Tower.

Here's a torrent(registration required) of Broken Social Scene's set at the recent Olympic Island show in Toronto from June 24, 2006. [via Largehearted Boy]

Thanks for From Blown Speakers(via Brooklyn Vegan) for leading me to the video of the live set Metric did for Rolling Stone recently. Includes a cover of Elliot Smith's "Between The Bars" which you can also currently download an mp3 over at From Blown Speakers.

Listen to Neko Case as she's interviewed by and performs a live session for NPR's World Cafe.

Three Imaginary Girls have a couple of new features on their site: indieRSS is a onestop location for interesting music blog and news links. imaginary podcasts which is their contribution to the podcast craze featuring their favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest.

Say Hi To Your Mom have another track from their upcoming album "Impeccable Blahs"(released July 25th) available for download:

MP3: "Blah Blah Blah"

And lastly, a couple of concert announcements courtesy of NOW:

- Victoria Williams, Mark Olson, Colin Linden, Luke Doucet, Melissa Mcclelland and The Supers - Orphans Of God Songwriter Circle @ Palais Royale, doors 7 pm, tickets $30
- The Cardigans @ Lee's PalaceThe Opera House, tickets $20 Update: Onsale now at Rotate This.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Going Back To Somerville

The Pernice BrothersThere's a a new Pernice Brothers song[mp3] entitled "Somerville" plus its music video available for download over at the band's website. Go here(signing up for their e-mail list is required). The song is from the new Pernice Brothers record "Live a Little" due out in the fall of 2006. The song leans towards a slight country-rock vibe in some of its guitar parts especially which harkens back to Scud Mountain Boys in my opinion. Whoa, fantastic song![photo via indoor fireworks]

A Soundtrack for Everyone reminisces about his early live exposure to The Dears, points the way towards mp3's of songs from the new album, and mentions that the new Dears album "Gang of Losers" will be released through Arts & Crafts in August. That last piece of info is a welcome surprise! Correction: I stand corrected: A & C will be releasing the new Dears full-length in the USA only, like they're doing for The Hidden Cameras new album "Awoo".

The New York Times ponders the state of alt-country[via The Rich Girls Are Weeping]. Chromewaves examines this from his own perspective.

Stage Hymns has a download of Band of Horses performing their song "Funeral" from their July 13, 2006 appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. Update: Here's YouTube video of the performance.

Muchmusic reported that Lupe Fiasco, Muse, Wintersleep, Matt Mays & El Torpedo and The Diableros have been added to the V Fest lineup. The V Fest website is updated with this info as of today. Rumours over at the 905 Board mention something about Radiohead and Beck possibly being added to the lineup. Remember these are only rumours. But exciting ones.

Dan Burke over at Stille Post lists a whole bunch of shows lined up for The Silver Dollar in the coming months, including shows by D'Urbervilles, The Old Soul, Andre Ethier, Frontier Index, and The Creeping Nobodies among others.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rock N' Roll Singer

concert review: Mark Kozelek w/ Shuyler Jansen @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), July 13, 2006

My last blog post was last Thursday and I hadn't planned to post on Friday or Saturday, but by Sunday I still hadn't posted because I was still recovering from a bout of sinus/chest congestion I'd had for 3 or 4 days. The hot weather wasn't helping either, but thank God for air conditioning. I swear, when you can't breathe, NOTHING else matters. I feel a little better this morning, although I called in sick to work in order to recover fully.

Although I'd called in sick last Thursday because I felt like I came down with a cold and I was feeling slightly congested, I still made it out that night to see Mark Kozelek at Lee's Palace. Mark and another gentleman on guitar performed a hypnotic set of songs. Mark's own guitar playing as well as that of the other gentleman featured very fluid finger-picked arrangements. From the first-note sung, Mark had the audience entranced with the confessional tone of Mark's liquid, sweet-as-honey vocals. The added reverb to his vocals elevated the sound to something unearthly. From the first note Mark sung, I remember a few people laughing and high-fiving each other because the sound of Mark's vocals were ridiculously sublime. This is one of the few shows I've been to at Lee's Palace where there was a hush over the crowd as the artist performed. Between songs, Mark joked about the in-between song audience chatter, alluding to the fact that the chatter shouldn't get too out of hand, or else he won't be able to create 'magic'. ;-)

At one point in the set, the other gentleman onstage left and Mark performed solo. I'm not entirely familiar with his catalogue, but from some of the audience chatter I recall, I believe this part of the set featured Mark's covers of Modest Mouse songs (of which marked released a whole album's worth of this, entitled "Tiny Cities" under the Sun Kil Moon moniker). Eventually, Mark's guitar-companion returned to the stage, to finish off the rest of the set as well as one encore. I must admit, there was a sameiness to Mark's overall sound but the quality of the individual melodies were superb enough to overcome that. Now if my feet weren't so tired, I would have enjoyed it even more. Still, it was a lovely performance.

I'd only caught several songs from opener Shuyler Jansen. I didn't know anything about him beforehand but I think he took an admirable stab in that singer-songwriter playing guitar in that acoustic roots rock vein. While his performance prompted some polite, if not a bit of genuine, applause no one was up front for his performance and there was a degree of audible chatter in the room. It's a little unfortunate that Shuyler had to open up for Mark Kozelek. Two singer-songwriters singing and playing acoustic guitar on the same night? Isn't that some sort of no-no?

It was disappointing about the strict 'no photos allowed' rule which was clearly posted outside Lee's Palace's doors. You know they mean business when the sign includes the fact that anyone not obeying the no-photos rule will be removed. I didn't even dare try.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Eric 'Over The Top Fest' Warner posts over at Stille Post yet another interesting show to look forward to. UK folkie Vashti Bunyan with special guests Great Lake Swimmers will be at Harbourfront Theatre on October 3rd. Show is all ages, starts at 7:30 pm and prices are $24/27. Tickets available now through the Harbourfront Box Office (phone or in person) as well as Please note this is a reserved seated show.

Jam Showbiz reports that The Who have started to announce dates for a world tour including 7 Canadian dates. They'll be in Toronto for a show on December 3rd at Air Canada Centre.

Jam Showbiz spoke with Ana Rezende of Brazil's Cansei de ser sexy who among other things mentions how her band came to write their song "Let's All Make Love and Listen to Death From Above". NOW spoke with Ana about North American vs Brazilian cultural differences. CSS are in Town for a show at The Mod Club this Friday(July 14) with Diplo and fellow Brazilians Bonde do Role.

Billboard reports that Clinic will release it's fourth album "Visitations" on October 10th through Domino Records. Billboard spoke with lead singer Ade Blackburn who describes the new album as "...a lot more direct and more upbeat," and "...more designed to play live, rather than relying on the studio more." Although no longer listed at their booking company The Windish Agency's website, it had previously stated that Clinic were to be in town for a show at Lee's Palace on October 6th. I'd keep that date open if I were you.

Pitchfork reports on the progress of the recording of The Arcade Fire's new album, also pointing out evidence that frontman Win Butler is one heck of a sensitive guy.

My download recommendation for today is for everyone to go over to the MySpace site of Barrie, ON band Doris Day and download a few MP3's(or use the download links below - actually the band had these songs streaming for several weeks now but the download links hadn't been working initially):

MP3: Doris Day - "Carmonica"(live)
MP3: Doris Day - "Untitled"(live)

The expressive vocals of Carleigh Aikins on "Carmonica", combined with the song's propulsive melodies and harmonica-drenched instrumentation makes this one of my favourite musical moments of 2006. The only show the band has on the horizon is at The Bookshelf Ebar in Guelph, ON on August 3rd.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Camera Obscura performed a live session for XFM Scotland on July 11, 2006. Go here and scroll down to the appropriate date or else listen directly by clicking on the following song titles which the band performed: 'Lloyd I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken', 'Come Back Margret', 'Tears for Affairs' [via Live Net Music]

Watch a video of Sonic Youth performing "Incinerate" on Jimmy Kimmel Live from yesterday evening(July 11, 2006).

Listen to Mr. Kimmel's girlfriend Sarah Silverman over at AOL Music as she performs songs from her DVD "Jesus Is Magic".

UK indie sensation Lily Allen gets some Canadian press finally over at chartattack.

i(heart)music interviews Wilco's Glenn Kotche prior to Wilco's show at Massey Hall in Toronto last Friday. BTW, you can download recordings of the recent Montreal and London, ON Wilco shows, but what's taking so long for a Toronto recording to turn up?[torrent links via Largehearted Boy]

Domino Records has the new Junior Boys 12" entitled "In The Morning" now available for preorder. On a related note, Junior Boys will be making their UK debut live performance on Thursday 10th August at The Luminaire in London. Hope the Brits dig 'em as much as we do. Listen to 'The Equalizer (Morgan Geist Graphic Mix)'. They play the El Mocambo on August 26th[via]

Newly-signed to Kill Rock Stars, Harvey Danger will be in town for a show at Lee's Palace on October 3rd, tickets $9.00. The word over at Stille Post is that The Slits will be in town on October 28th, detail TBA. The English Beat and The Selecter will be at Lee's Palace on September 18th[via]

More Neko Case bootleg recordings keep surfacing over at The Traders Den, this time being Neko @ Mojo's in Columbia, MO on 2002-07-10 and much more recently Neko @ Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI on 2006-03-30[via Largehearted Boy]

And lastly, it was my sis' b-day yesterday and we celebrated with the family today. Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dancing With Daggers

concert review: 1)Magneta Lane @ Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, 2)Jamie Lidell, Konono No. 1 @ Harbourfront Centre - CIBC Stage, 3)Shad, Cadence Weapon @ Harbourfront Centre - Brigantine Room, July 8, 2006

The last time I saw Magneta Lane was way back in June 2004 when they played The Comfort Zone in Toronto as part of Dan Burke's anti-NXNE showcase. Since them the girls have gone on to sign with Paper Bag Records, tour the world, and make some new fans along the way. I'd have gone to see them for free in Mississauga as part of The Beating Heart Festival but unfortunately I already had plans to see Wilco that night. Fortunately, I made it out to their free set at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto as part the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival. The girls pulled in a decent crowd for their set of thrashy garage pop tunes, led by the suave vocals of Lexi Valentine. It was a satisfying set, nothing less, nothing more. [Magneta Lane photos]

Next, I headed down to Harbourfront in time to catch the start of Jamie Lidell's set, part of the Beats, Breaks, and Culture Festival. He started off his set himself performing some repetitive instrumental beat-driven excursions. Subsequent tunes added a nice disco element. However, everything really gelled when he added a vocal element to the music, especially when guest Chilly Gonzales came out to contribute some nice jazzy/r'n'b keyboards. A lot of people have compared Jamie's vocals to Jamiroquai and I guess that does ring true. Jamie does have this geeky look about him, but he does a possesses a self-confidence about himself that manages to offset any misconceptions one might have of his talent. He was a real showman, strolling up to the front of the stage on one song where he handed the mic to a fella in the audience who knew and sang the lyrics to the song. Although, Jamie's music might not be something I'd listen to all the time, it was an enjoyable set.

Headliners of the night, African group Konono No. 1 came out to a warm reception. Featuring a drummer, congo drummer, three electric kalimba players a guitarist and a dancer/vocalist, Konono No. 1 performed a intriguing set of music. The rhythmic component of the music had people dancing from the get-go. There were really any 'songs' to speak of but rather the music seemed to be broken up into different sections. To some ears, it seemed like they played the same song for an hour and a half, but really there were variances in the music, from the addition of vocal arrangements, to whistles, to slight harmonic changes and variances in kalimba arrangements. What remained constant however was the percussion. It's amazing how long the members of the band continuously played - really, there were few breaks in the music. When the band finished their set, it was at that point that I heard some of the loudest and enthusiastic applause and cheering I've ever heard to get a band back for an encore. A very impressive set overall. [Jamie Lidell & Konono No. 1 photos]

Finally, ending off the evening were a couple of hip hop acts in the Brigantine Room including London, ON's Shad and Edmonton, AB's Cadence Weapon. There was a line up to get into the Brigantine Room and fortunately I was able to get in. It took a little while to get things started, but finally Shad plus his drummer, bass guitarist and co-MC/beatboxer hit the stage. Shad's DJ had already been spinning for us while we had been waiting. Shad showed us his impressive rap skills that in my narrow familiarity of the rap genre, reminded me of Pharcyde. His music has nothing to do with bling and everything thing to do with hip-hop. His drummer and bass guitarist provided some decent instrumental accompaniement to Shad's lyrical flow, while his co-MC added to the fold nicely, especially with his beatboxing. Shad displayed his multi-talented skills when he strapped on a guitar to play along while he rapped. The ultimate showcase for his talent was definitely the freestyle session as a videographer on stage, who'd been filming up, handed Shad several objects in succession as Shad worked in the name of the object into his freestyle rap. I have to thank cleverLazy for the recommendation to see this talented gentleman[also check out her blog post on Shad].

I almost thought that no other hip hop act could top Shad that night and it turned out that Cadence Weapon's set wouldn't do it that night. Don't get me wrong, all the hype about Cadence Weapon, the artist, is valid. Of what I heard of Cadence Weapon that night, he has quite a versatile sound. His music is sort of a meld of hip-hop meets indie rock aesthetics. With only a DJ laying down the beats, Cadence Weapon showed a dynamite lyrical flow. Other times, he'd sing in a punky vocal style. Unfortunately, a series of technical difficulties [speaker / monitor / mic problems] throughout Cadence Weapon's set ruined any momentum he might have gained. Better luck next time. [Shad & Cadence Weapon photos]

Here are some of my photos highlights:

Magneta Lane @ Celebrate Toronto Street Festival: photo by Mike Ligon

Jamie Lidell @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike Ligon

Konono No. l @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike Ligon

Shad @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike Ligon

Cadence Weapon @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike Ligon

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Late Greats

concert review: Wilco w/ The M's @ Massey Hall(Toronto, Ontario), July 7, 2006

Wilco @ Massey Hall: photo by Mike LigonIt's not often that a band frontperson calls me a 'motherf!*cker' and I ignore it. But when Wilco's Jeff Tweedy called the audience at Massey Hall this past Friday night 'motherf!*kers' for the lack of energy amongst the seated crowd it was all with the best intentions. Of course, it's hard for the crowd to act like it's a rock show when firstly, the band starts off the show with a series of mellow-to-languid tempo numbers and secondly, Mr. Tweedy barely acknowledges the audience with a greeting until well into the set. I for one could have gone most of the show remaining seated and still have enjoyed the show immensely(like their last show at Massey Hall on October 9, 2004), but I am grateful for Mr. Tweedy for the 'invitation' to us to act like it's a rock show because it got everyone to stand up(even motivating some people in the floor seats to get up and crowd towards the front of the stage) and become part of the show. The energy level in Massey Hall rose immensely and as result it made me enjoy the rest of the show even more. For the record, Jeff(hobbling around with an injured foot in a cast) did apologize for calling us all 'motherf!*kers', and of course mentioned the politeness of Canadians and had he known, he would have invited us to participate in the show earlier. The whole incident was just very humourous to me and one of those concert experiences I think I'll remember for a long time. With a setlist culled mostly from "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born" with a couple of new tracks and some older tracks, it was a satisfying selection. While "A Shot In The Arm" and "Via Chicago" were the only "Summerteeth" tracks represented, I thought that they were a couple of the most vital and emotionally resonating performances of the night. The punctuated instrumentation and lyrical repetition of 'Nothing' during "Misunderstood" was glorious. The playful "Hummingbird" was a delight. The groove of "Jesus , etc." was amazing as I saw a sea of heads down on the floor bobbing in unison. The most monumental moment of audience participation was during "Kingpin" as Jeff got us to scream at the top of our lungs every time he sung the lyric 'How can I'. A bunch of songs featured some extended noisy outros that I enjoyed but will state for the record I couldn't say the same for a few of my companions in tow. In this respect, maybe it would have been better that I tried converting my friends to Wilco through their albums rather than their live show.

The setlist below is via a fan post over at Via Chicago:

(Main Set)
There's A Light[new song] | I Am Trying To Break Your Heart | Handshake Drugs | Impossible Germany[new song] | A Shot in the Arm | At Least That's What You Said | Misunderstood | Wishful Thinking | Airline To Heaven | Hesitating Beauty | Walken (Talking To Myself About You)[new song] | Theologians | I'm The Man Who Loves You | Jesus, etc. | Hummingbird

(First Encore)
War on War | The Late Greats | Heavy Metal Drummer | Kingpin

(Second Encore)
Via Chicago |Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Overall, it was a terrific show that got off to a subdued start but ended with a bang. [Sorry, I don't have much to say about openers The M's since I only caught a couple of songs. The instrumentation had a certain crunchiness which I enjoyed but the melodicism wasn't quite there. Perhaps the rest of their set was better. Anyone?]

Update: Chromewaves has his photos and review of the show up now.

theplot has some photos from the show and also provides us with a video clip download of "Jeff's little speech about participation and Canadian politeness."

Jam Showbiz reviewed the show.

Friday, July 07, 2006

At Least That’s What You Said

WilcoThe Toronto Sun speaks with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy about the band's not-so-weird sounding upcoming new album[via Largehearted Boy]. Halifax's The Coast similarly talks to Wilco bassist John Stirrat. We can expect to hear at least a few new songs when Wilco rolls into Massey Hall tonight.

Looking ahead to Saturday night, I'm looking forward to seeing Konono No. 1 at Harbourfront Centre(CIBC Stage) as part of the Beats, Breaks and Culture festival. The Montreal Mirror and Eye Weekly both spoke with Crammed Discs founder Victor Kenis whose label has released music from Konono No. 1. For a taste of Konono No. 1's music check out this promotional video.

According to info at The Heavy Blinkers website, their new double-album "Health" is set for release late-autumn. Also, the Blinkers' Jason and David are currently producing Halifax's Jenn Grant's first full-length album at the CBC in Halifax.

The boys who refuse to grow up, Sloan have some summer shows scheduled and will be in this neck of the woods for a show in Toronto on August 12 at Centre Island as part of Wakefest. The guys also have a show in Buffalo, NY at Buffalo Place on August 24th.

The Deadly Snakes return to Horseshoe Tavern for a show on August 25th.

Listen to/watch the session Belle and Sebastian did for Morning Becomes Eclectic yesterday morning[via Live Net Music].

Finally, here's some Neko Case live show torrents including, Neko @ WFMU Studios in September 2002 and Neko @ Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, CA on May 21, 2003. Can't get enough Neko.

Many things happening this weekend including The Diableros/Magneta Lane show tonight in Mississauga as part of The Beating Heart festival, Wilco tonight at Massey Hall(which my friends and I are going to), Beats, Breaks and Culture festival at Harbourfront from tonight to Sunday, Celebrate Toronto Festival along Yonge St. also from tonight to Sunday, and Afrofest at Queens Park on Saturday and Sunday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

If Looks Could Kill

concert review: Camera Obscura w/ The Diableros @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), July 4, 2006

Traceyanne of Camera Obscura @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Mike LigonKicking off their current North American tour this past Tuesday night, Scottish indiepop band Camera Obscura were in Toronto at Horseshoe Tavern playing to a sold-out crowd. Opening things up nicely were Toronto's own The Diableros performing their inspired brand of fuzzy, melodic, indie rock. I last saw them perform live at their indie CD release show at Sneaky Dee's last November 2005 and since then press on the band's been gaining momentum, most recently being a Pitchfork-approved review for their debut album "You Can't Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts". The Diableros have also been playing a lot of shows and opening for a lot of artists. While The Diableros show last November at Sneaky Dee's was thrilling from first song to last, I couldn't help but feel that The Diableros performance yesterday was a little deflated. They performed a bunch of new tunes(well, songs I didn't recognize) and of course songs from their debut album. I don't have much else to say about their set yesterday, but I still hold them in high regard as one of Canada's finest bands right now. If I weren't already going to the Wilco show at Massey Hall this Friday night, I would go to see The Diableros at the Beating Heart Festival free show in Mississauga.

I've been listening to Camera Obscura's latest offering "Let's Get Out Of This Country" a lot and I was almost convinced that they were a better band than Belle and Sebastian(the band they are most often compared to). While I still love B&S, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not totally smitten with their most recent dabbles in northern soul. On the other hand, what's made Camera Obscura so consistently enjoyable is their devotion to a melodic sensibility, even as the band's sound dips in to other influences like Motown and country.

So after seeing Camera Obscura in concert I realize that they're neither better nor worse than B&S, but instead quite different musically. I will say that Belle and Sebastian are a much better live act, insofar as having an enigmatic frontman in Stuart Murdoch. Camera Obscura are far more reserved. If Camera Obscura's pure pop perfection wasn't so tantalizing, I'd be far more critical of their reservedness on stage. Still, their was just enough enthusiasm[stage banter, smiles] from frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell to hold the audience's attention. (As an aside, is the dowdy house dress which Traceyanne was wearing some new fashion trend, because I remember Victoria of The Concretes wearing something similar during The Concretes recent show in Toronto?) The band performed a selection of tracks from all three of their albums including favourites "Eighties Fan", "Suspended From Class", upbeat new ones like the thrilling pop of "Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" and the Motown-ish "If Looks Could Kill" and more mellow offerings like "Tears For Affairs" and "Let's Get Out Of This Country". With simple but immaculate pop instrumentation with a dash of trumpet, glockenspiel, and percussive instruments on a song or two, the most oustanding musical element was Tracyanne's lovely vocals. It's somewhat redundant to review this show in any more detail than for the sugary pop rush that it was, so I'll end this soon. There was an enthusiastic response for each and every song the band performed, and in particular, the sold-out crowd(well at least me) were quite smitten with the very-cute ladies of Camera Obscura, Tracyanne and keyboardist Carey Lander. One lucky fella caught the flower that Tracyanne threw into the audience and which had originally been given to her by another fan as Tracyanne couldn't bear the fact that the flower would die on the tourbus. Overall, a very satisfying evening.[PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW]

Update: Chromewaves has a review and photos from the show too. And thanks to basic sounds for pointing to a short video clip from the show.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ballad Of Humankindness

concert review: The Dears @ Harbourfront Centre - CIBC Stage(Toronto, Ontario), July 1, 2006

The Dears' Murray Lightburn @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike LigonMy planned double-shot of Canada Day indie rock goodness down at Harbourfront turned into a single shot as my friend, his cousin and I unfortunately missed Jason Collett's set. But so be it. I've seen him live before and I'll undoubtedly see him again. The last time I saw The Dears live was just over a year ago at their triumphant performance at the Phoenix in Toronto. With such lofty expectations, I couldn't help feel at least slightly disappointed at their show at Harbourfront a few nights ago.

The Dears were performing as part of Harbourfront's Power of Place festival. As Harbourfront's web site expresses, "A place is a physical location, a place is a state of mind." Montreal, was the place being spotlighted, obviously for it's impact on the music scene over the last several years. My companions and I took some seats about five rows or so from the back and considering that the first few rows of people in front of the stage were standing, we still had a decent view of most of the stage. With Mr. Murrary Lightburn dressed in a white suit, in stark contrast to the rest of the band, he obviously made the greatest impression on the audience. The band started out their set performing a series of new songs that displayed the more stripped down, no-strings/more guitar direction that the new album "Gang of Losers" supposedly takes. Of the bunch they performed, I really enjoyed The Smiths-y "Whites Only Party". I'd hope that Murray would introduce the name of the song just so I could gage the reaction of some people but no such luck. Other new songs performed later in the set included the emotive balladry of "There Goes My Outfit" and the sombre "Fear Makes The World Go 'Round", featuring a fantastic mid-song guitar lick. Other new songs were a little less memorable, and more rock, but I'll hold final judgement of the new batch of songs until I hear the album. However, from what I'd heard I'd say that a good chunk of the new songs are as good as anything they've written.

Of course, the old fan favourites were the most enthusiastically received. The swirling shoegazer-ish guitars and Morrissey-inflected vocals of "Lost In The Plot" made it's appearance after the selection of new songs which started the set. Other older favourites included sublime French-pop sounding "22: The Days Of All The Romance", "This Is A Broadcast", and the pseudo-funk of "Never Destroy Us", and then later on the stripped-down "Heartless Romantic" and the warm-sounding "The Second Part". While song-selection wise I was fairly satisfied, I did feel somewhat disappointed in the overall performance. In the past I'd not been too patient with some of The Dears' extended improvised live jams, mostly because I'd probably been standing a long time and my feet were tired. Past Dears' shows also featured terrific lighting and interesting stage projections which really immersed me into the experience. During the Harbourfront show I was sitting down for most of it and I would have preferred a little more improvisation and more creative lighting and some stage projections(and perhaps more stage banter from Murray) to spice things up. Otherwise, it felt like the band steam-rolled through their set. A fireworks display across the water made an appearance near the end of The Dears show. While it didn't have the sublime impact(partially because of the rain) like the fireworks did during Feist's show at Harbourfront last year, it was still a nice closing to a wonderful Canada Day. [PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW]
Just Keep Bloggin' and It's Not The Band I Hate... have better photos from Saturday night than mine.

The Dears will be performing at Toronto Islands on September 9th as part of the 2-day Virgin Festival. Public onsale at on July 8th at noon. Ticket info here.

Thanks to B(oot)log for providing mp3's of The Dears recent live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe program from June 23, 2006.

Update: inventor 77 has some photos of The Dears and Jason Collett sets.

Update: Thanks to RonniDP for posting over at YouTube, videos of The Dears performing "Whites Only Party" and "Nevery Destroy Us" from the Harbourfront show this past Saturday.