Monday, April 30, 2007

So This Is Goodbye

Junior Boys @ Coachella 2007

The way I've been posting about Coachella over the last few days, you'd figure I was actually there. Alas, I was thousands of miles away here in Ontario, Canada vicariously experiencing it through AT&T Blue Room and YouTube. I did Coachella in 2004 and don't know when/if I'll do it again but to put it simply, it's a pilgrimage not only for the music but for the communal experience. For someone like me(ie in a North America), Coachella was attainable. Coachella takes place annually at the end of April or early May when airline flights are at a decent price. My oberservation's been that you're bound to get a ticket to at least one of the days(if not the whole weekend), as long as you don't procrastinate too long - compare that to UK/European festivals like Glastonbury/Reading which seem to sell out in record time every year. My only suggestion to those considering Coachella in the future, if you don't want to camp there and or sleep in your car is to not doddle on the accommodations/lodging situation - hotel/motels seem to fill up quite fast. Yesterday, I caught earlier sets from Junior Boys and CSS, plus some of Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, and Crowded House. Even with a day off work today, I was unfortunately too pooped to stay up for The Lemonheads. Fortunately, AT&T Blue Room will be archiving the Coachella broadcasts in the future.

Junior Boys' late afternoon set coaxed even the most aloof indie rockers to dance setting the mood for CSS' disco-punk later on in the evening. Brooklyn Vegan has coverage of CSS meeting Paris Hilton and Courtney Love prior to their set. My initial impression of Crowded House's set was one of awkwardness in that their reunion didn't necessarily warrant a mainstage appearance. It was difficult to tell from the video whether the audience was enjoying it. (Actually, my main beef with the AT&T Blue Room broadcast was that it was difficult to hear audience reaction - I'd have preferred more audio/video of the audience interspersed with artist/band performances.) When Crowded House's Neil Finn's mic conked out on him during their hit "Don't Dream It's Over" he was able to get the audience to sing a long, casting aside any doubts I had if the audience was enjoying themselves. The Sydney Morning Herald reports on Crowded House's nervous start yesterday which disappeared several songs into their set.

I gathered up some of the better video clips uploaded to YouTube by various Coachella attendees, and I'm sure there'll be more to come in the days ahead when attendees get back to harsh reality:

YouTube: Junior Boys - "In The Morning" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: The New Pornographers - "Sing Me Spanish Techno" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: LCD Soundsystem - ? (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Cornelius - "Drop" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Peter Bjorn and John - "Young Folks" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: The Frames - ? (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: The Decemberists - "The Crane Wife" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Amy Winehouse - "Rehab" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: The Rapture - "Whoo Alright" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Jesus and Mary Chain - "Reverence" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Jesus and Mary Chain - "Head On" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Interpol - "Narc" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Sonic Youth - ? (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: Arctic Monkeys - "When The Sun Goes Down" (live at Coachella 2007 - from AT&T Blue Room stream)

Check out photos from Pitchfork and Yahoo!.

Jam Showbiz reports on Rage Against The Machine's set. Stereogum has a review and photos of the band's set.

The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot lists his highlights and disappointments of this year's Coachella festival.

Read about Jennifer's(of Coachella experiences(she also as video): Friday, Saturday(afternoon/evening), Sunday(afternoon/evening)

It's miraculous that with approximately 180,000 people attending over a 3 day period, there were only 85 arrests and 37 persons injured.

Update: Check out's Coachella coverage with the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Willie Nelson, Travis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Regina Spektor, Tom Morello, Amy Winehouse, Peaches, Perry Farrell, adn Jesus and Mary Chain. I promise no more mention of Coachella after this.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Andrew Bird @ Coachella 2007

Day 2 done. 1 to go. I've gone to two multi-day music festivals in my life - Coachella in 2004(2 days/2 nights of shows - I didn't camp), and Sasquatch in 2006(3 nights/2 days of shows - 3 nights of camping) and I can only imagine how exhausted those who attended are by night. But it's an exhilirating feeling at the same time. I caught a few bits and pieces of performances yesterday through AT&T Blue Room including much of Andrew Bird, Regina Spektor and The Arcade Fire, as well as bits and pieces of The Cribs, The Frames, Jack's Mannequin, The Fratellis, and Ozomatli's sets.

I've only recently discovered Andrew Bird mostly due to his recent Take Away Session for La Blogatheque for which he wandered the streets of Paris, France playing guitar and violin, whistling and serenading for whomever wanted to listen. Mr. Bird's Coachella set yesterday was a full band affair, combining his classical musicianship with more conventional pop sensibilities. He seemed to go over well with the crowd. I'm sorry it took me so long to notice. Video below courtsey of Brooklyn Heathen(who ripped it from the AT&T Blue Room stream):

YouTube: Andrew Bird - "Plasticities" (live at Coachella 2007)

Regina Spektor performed a solo set with herself on keyboards. She was the definition of charm, enticing the audience with her playful keyboard melodies and vocals, and simplest of banter like saying she was honoured to play the festival or apologizing for some technical difficulties seemed to bring out the best in the crowd. Or maybe it was the was she leaned over her keyboard a few times, and I swear she was out there, if you know what I mean. Video below courtsey of Brooklyn Heathen(who ripped it from the AT&T Blue Room stream):

YouTube: Regina Spektor - "Apres Moi" (live at Coachella 2007)

There was a palpable excitement for The Arcade Fire's set. I watched most of it and it was great but I do sense a toning down of their onstage antics. None of that motorcycle helmet banging craziness. Win did jump down to the audience's level during "Rebellion(Lies)" though. Below are a few videos over at YouTube courtesy of Brooklyn Heathen ripped from the AT&T Blue Room stream:

YouTube: The Arcade Fire - "Rebellion(Lies)" (live at Coachella 2007)
YouTube: The Arcade Fire - "Keep The Car Running" (live at Coachella 2007)

Stereogum keeps the awesome Coachella coverage coming here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Coachella Valley's The Desert Sun has the local perspective on yesterday's experience(including the sweltering heat).

Check out Coachella coverage over at NME and The L.A. Times.

The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot posts about his day two experiences.

Billboard's Jaded Insider posts about his(her?) experiences of day one and day two.

Go over to AT&T Blue Room and watch Junior Boys' set NOW[well, at least as of the time of this posting]!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Earth Intruders

Bjork @ Coachella: image cap from AT&T Blue Room

Day one of Coachella is over and I was able to catch some streaming performances yesterday evening[technically earlier this morning, EST] over at AT & T Blue Room. I caught a bit of The Arctic Monkeys' set, and then later on Sonic Youth. But the horns-a-plenty and tribal rhythms that dominated Bjork's set was deliriously awesome. I'm 99% sure now that I'll buy a ticket to day one[September 8] of Virgin Festival in Toronto where Bjork will be headlining.

The Factory Blog postedlinked to some videos on YouTube of Bjork's set.

Stereogum will be blogging live from Coachella all weekend, so keep refreshing his mainpage for all the action.

Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune blogged Day one of Coachella.

Like me, Brooklyn Vegan stayed up to watch the stream of Bjork's set and he also has the set list. I remember watching the stream and at the end of the performance the camera zoomed in one fan holding a hastily written sign that said "Set List?". As if he'd get his hands on one, especially when he didn't seem to be anywhere near the stage. BV and I must be on the same wavelength because I also took an image capture of the performance[see above]. Brooklyn Vegan also posted a few photos of Scarlett Johansson singing backup during Jesus and Mary Chain's set during "Just Like Honey".

Check AT&T Blue Room's streaming schedule for the rest of the Coachella festival. And remember all times listed are Pacific Time, so for all you Eastern Standard Timers, just add 3 hours to the time. So Arcade Fire, 12:50 am EST it is. Who will you be watching?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh My Coachella

The inaugural 3-DAY Coachella festival starts tomorrow. Oh, the days went it was just 2 days. My friend and I went in 2004 which was a blast. Filter points towards the schedule which illustrates why such big music festivals are awesome and frustrating all at once, although the way such festivals are scheduled is ultimately practical. The lineup of Coachella has a dizzying array of interesting artists to check out and even if I haven't heard many of the bands, at least I've heard of a lot of them and I'd be tempted to check them out. The frustrating part is that there's the inevitable overlapping schedules of different stages which prevents one from seeing all the artists he/she would like to see. The practicality of the scheduling, the way I see it, is that the organizers want to spread out attendance at any given time, as evenly as possible amongst the different stages. So big music festivals have their ups and downs, but in the end it's all about the experience. And with Coachella, you have the added bonus of being in California with it's lovely summer-like weather and its beautiful sunsets. I envy everyone going this year but I shall try to live it out as vicariously as possible through the internet this weekend. Does anyone know who'll be streaming performances on the 'net this year?
In other news, Ladytron's Reuben Wu and Mira Aroyo are going on the road for a DJ tour and will be at Spin Gallery in Toronto on May 16.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Demolition Waltz

concert review: The Fembots, Nathan Lawr and The Minotaurs @ The Music Gallery(Toronto, Ontario), April 21, 2007

After a long absence from playing in Toronto as a full band(I believe they played a few duo shows in the last year or so), The Fembots returned to Toronto for an intimate show at The Music Gallery this past Saturday night, playing songs spanning their career(in album sequence, no less) from their duo-tape-loop days of "Mucho Cuidado", to the full band compositions of "Small Town Murder Scene" and their masterpiece to date 2005's "The City". Opener Nathan Lawr(who along with his band The Minotaurs were the openers of the night) joined The Fembots on drums and if I recall correctly a few of the Minotaurs filled out on guitar and bass guitar. Hyzoloists Paul Aucoin was a welcome addition on xylophone and vibraphone. A gentleman named Tom filled the violinist position(usually taken by the lovely and talented Julie Penner who has been touring with Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think lately). I'm not too familiar with the earlier material but the songs performed off "The City" were beautiful from the wounded melancholy of "Demolition Waltz" and "History Remade" to singalongs like "Count Down Our Days" and "My Life In The Funeral Service"(which if I recall correctly might have been the song that they said had 'killed' at their recent show in Guelph.) The borrowed horn section from Nathan's band was also a nice compliment especially on the coda of "Gilded Age". My only disappointment was the general reservation of the audience(and I guess I'll have to blame myself as well) - they were appreciative for sure in terms of applause at the end of songs, but singalongs and handclapping never came to be during songs which would have definitely have livelied up the show. I know it's a church, but it just didn't seem right to sit down especially during the more uptempo numbers.

Opening the show were Nathan Lawr and The Minotaurs. Stylistically similar to The Fembots folk-ish, country rock but without the Fembots penchance for experimental sounds, the earlier songs of the set didn't quite grab me but as the set went along, especially with the addition of added horn arrangements(and its slight soul influence), vibrant piano, and stronger melodies, the songs started to make an impact. Nathan Lawr and The Minotaurs and The Fembots made for a good double-bill, but next time let's book this at the Horseshoe.

MySpace: The Fembots
MySpace: Nathan Lawr and The Minotaurs

Thanks to Sweet Static for linking to an mp3 of Dave MacKinnon of Toronto's FemBots being interviewed on Guelph campus radio station CFRU's 'Mich Vish Interracial Morning Show'. I had a chance to listen to the interview and Dave says the band's been working on a follow-up album to "The City" and that they have many 'bits and pieces of songs', but it'll likely still be a while before a new album surfaces. So in other words, pretty vague.
Looking towards the summer, the Hillside Festival website is showing a list of acts that have been so far confirmed. Some of them(Chumbawamba, Do Make Say Think) I already knew about, but others like The Dears(who are scheduled to perform the Saturday night of the festival) are a welcome addition.

The Harbourfront Centre website has a preliminary listing of their upcoming summer festivals, although no acts have been confirmed yet. So no festivals catering to indie music like the Indie Unlimited and Gobsmacked festivals in previous years, nor an alt-country festival which they had a few years ago. The Beats, Breaks & Culture festival(one of North America's leading electronic music and culture festivals) returns for its 4th straight year which is great. It's scheduled from Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 9. Also promising is the Global Hip Hop: The Four Elements festival scheduled from Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29. As previously announced, Final Fantasy will be at Harbourfront on July 1(Canada Day) but a little birdy has also told me that Do Make Say Think will also be there although I've yet to confirm that.

Yonge and Dundas Square has it's annual Summer Serenades and Global Groove schedules now up although the only act I'm remotely interested in catching so far(but mostly because she's the only one I'm familiar with) is Basia Bulat who'll be playing a lunch time concert(starting at 12:30 PM) at the Square on September 12, 2007 closing out the Summer Serenades series.

Mississauga's free weekly indie music concert series, Beating Heart Festival, returns for a second year. No details/lineup info yet but according to The Diableros' MySpace they'll be playing the festival on August 17. Also Mississauga's The Duke Of Marlborough Pub MySpace lists a whack of Beating Heart Festival After Party shows scheduled from July 6 to August 31, bands TBA.

Arts & Crafts most recent signees are Cardiff, Wales act Los Campesinos who have nothing to do with Latin music and have everything to do with youthful exhuberant indiepop music that sort of reminds me of a cross between Architecture in Helisinki and Broken Social Scene. Sort of. Well, sometimes. Ok maybe not really. Ah, Whatever. Check them out for yourself. Arts & Crafts will release their debut enhanced EP, "Sticking Fingers Into Sockets", July 3.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


concert review: The Diableros, The Airfields, Proof Of Ghosts @ Sneaky Dee's(Toronto, Ontario), April 19, 2007

The Diableros at Sneaky Dee's: photo by Michael Ligon

To honour the occassion of the start of the recording of their second album, The Diableros hosted a 'Bootleg Party' at Sneaky Dee's last Thursday April 19 when they showcased the new songs and invited anyone to record the show and share the performance online if they like. The band plans to post the set list on Stille Post, although it's yet to surface. ( Update: Here's the set list courtesy of Diablero Pete.) Against a backdrop of colourful screen projections, the band performed a dynamite set. The new songs sound fantastic. Generous amounts of guitar and organ remain from the first album although the new songs' melodies seemed more subtle. However, in my opinion the band sounds tighter than ever. As boyishly unassuming as guitarist Ian Jackson might appear on first glance, I will state for the record that he's one of the more enthusiastic guitarists I've seen in Toronto. Other than my usual photos, I had no plans to take part in bootlegging the show since I don't have the equipment. However, in the spirit of the occasion I decided to shoot some video clips using my trusty digital camera - it's not the best quality video nor sound-wise but until something better comes along, this is all you're getting. Did anyone actually bootleg the show? Here are the video clips[when the band posts the set list, I'll update this post with the song titles. Update: Song titles below via Diablero Pete over at Stille Post]:

Video: The Diableros - "Mist" (18 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Up In The Mountain Range" (18 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Ever Changing" (19 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Broken Barns" (30 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Any Other Time" (34 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "No One Wants To Drive" (27 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Kicking Rocks" (26 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Left From The Movies" (30 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Nothing Down In Hogtown" (36 sec) (YouTube)
Video: The Diableros - "Turning Backwards" (41 sec) (YouTube)

I only got to Sneaky Dee's when Proof Of Ghosts were tying up their rock n' roll set as the night was running late, but next openers Toronto's The Airfields were worth the wait. Doing double duty that night was Diableros guitarist Ian Jackson playing guitar with The Airfields. The last time I saw The Airfields proper was back in March 2006 at Lee's Palace opening for The Wedding Present when I'd only caught part of their set; I'd also saw The Airfields this past December 2006 at Silver Dollar as part of a Jesus and Mary Chain tribute night. Drawing material from their "City State" and "Laneways" EP's as well as a few newer songs, The Airfields performed an enthusiastic set of pop music. I see The Airfields and The Diableros as sort of two sides of the same pop coin. The Airfields take a jangly pop approach that embraces a C86 sensibility while The Diableros play noisier pop music with more swagger. Not to be outdone, The Airfields second last song of their set built to a noisy, euphoric conclusion that was as noisy(maybe even noiser) than anything I've heard from The Diableros.

Here are my photos from the show.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pacific Theme

I have a day off work, it's glorious outside, summer's in the air, and I can listen to Broken Social Scene 's "Pacific Theme" all day.

Caught fantastic pop-filled sets from The Airfields and The Diableros at Sneaky Dee's yesterday. More on that tomorrow hopefully. I'll say the new Diableros' songs sound fantastic.

Some show news over at Chromewaves. The Long Blondes are at Lee's Palace on June 11. Yay!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


With more Coachella tickets going on sale over the weekend, a little part of me just wants to jump on a plane and go. Alas, it's short notice and it's not in the cards. But if you want to go, I suggest you act fast because remaining tickets will probably go quickly. This was after all originally sold out.

But I'm looking forward more to NXNE in Toronto this year ever since receiving a recent e-mail update from the festival. Most exciting news is to hear all the record label and organization showcases which will be happening with the likes of Yep Roc, Myspace, Sirius Satellite, Chart Magazine, PopMontreal, Fontana North, BBC Radio2, NOW Magazine, Musebox, and NeXT. Newly confirmed for the festival include Urge Overkill, The Sadies, Jim Lauderdale, Icarus Line, The Ladybug Transistor, die mannequin, and Great Northern. The previously announced Dinosaur Jr show at the Phoenix on June 8 and the Fountains of Wayne show at Lee's Palace on June 10 will also be allowing limited wristband / badge entry - for the Dino Jr. show NXNE will be allowing only 100 NXNE delegate badges / wristbands into the show; otherwise tickets will set you back $34.50 CDN before taxes. One normally to shun interviews, Dino Jr's J Mascis has also signed on as a celebrity interview at this year's conference - J will be interviewed by Edge 102.1's Dave Bookman from noon in conference rooms B and C at the Holiday Inn on King (370 King W.); you'll need a delegate badge to get in. This year's festival is definitely looking up. Can someone out there offer me a free delegate badge(nudge, nudge, wink, wink)?

The wonderful Jenn Grant has a song("Make It Home Tonight") from her upcoming new album "Orchestra For The Moon" streaming over at MySpace. The song was included on her debut independent EP and was rerecorded for the new album. Lovely. Excitingly, she's also added some new tour dates over at her MySpace - she'll be in Toronto for a show at Horseshoe Tavern on June 15 with Toronto's Royal Wood and Halifax's Tanya Davis.

Fellow east-coasters Museum Pieces will be in Toronto over the next couple of months for a few shows according to their MySpace, including on May 30 at a venue TBA as part of a free taping of a radio show, and then on June 7 at Tranzac which I'd guess is part of NXNE since the duo played the festival last year.

Land of Talk are releasing a 7-inch single of "Speak to me Bones" which will out on May 21 in the UK through Fandango/Fierce Panda. UK, American, and a few Canadian tour dates follow over the next couple of months. Hope they get back to Toronto this summer. Stay tuned to their MySpace.

Starting today, The Cowboy Junkies have a new online digital downloads store where you can purchase hard-to-find Junkies' music as well as downloads of albums released by the Junkies'-owned and operated indie label Latent Records between 1981 and 1992. [Via the band's message forums].

Ms. Mary Timony is streaming a few new songs("Sharp Shooter", "Rock Man") from her upcoming new album "The Shapes We Make"(to be released through Kill Rock Stars on May 8, my b'day) over at her MySpace. She'll be touring in June.

Monday, April 16, 2007

St. George and Bay

concert review: Great Lake Swimmers and friends (early show) @ Church Of The Redeemer(Toronto, Ontario), April 14, 2007

Great Lake Swimmers and friends at Church of the Redeemer: photo by Michael Ligon

Capping off the Canadian leg of their current tour(which takes them next to Europe), Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers with a few special guests performed two immaculate shows(well, I'll vouch for the early show) Saturday night at Church Of The Redeemer in Toronto. It was my first time seeing a show in Church of The Redeemer which is a quaint, old church situated in downtown Toronto, conveniently off the subway line. Fortunately, I made it down to the church just before the show got started although on the other side of the coin, the pews and chairs were packed like if it were Easter Sunday. There were a few of us that ended up having to stand, so I made the best of it and stood at the back, situating myself almost directly in front of the centre aisle. Come to think of it, my view was fairly good - at the very least, my view was probably better than that of the people who were sitting down near the back who had to look over people's heads.

On deck for the show were of course head Swimmer Tony Dekker, with Erik Arnesen(banjo/guitar), Mike Overton(upright bass), and Colin Huebert(drums/percussion). The friends that night turned out to be Owen Pallett(aka Final Fantasy) on violin, pedal-steel extraordinaire Bob Egan, and the lovely Ms. Basia Bulat who provided some gorgeous vocals to the night, as well as Andy Magoffin manning the soundboard at the back of the church near where I was standing. Through roughly an hour and a quarter's set of material Tony Dekker performed his set through a variety of configurations. There were awesome full-band performances like set-opener "Your Rocky Spine", "I Am Part Of A Large Family" and "Moving Pictures, Silent Films"(a strikingly beautiful song already made even better by Basia Bulat's lovely vocal touch). Tony performed several numbers solo including the song he came back to the stage for the encore. Quite possibly the most sublime song of the night was the trio performance of "To Leave It All Behind" which featured some spare upright bass(courtsey of Mike) and violin(courtesy of Owen) accompaniement with Tony's guitar and fragile vocals.

At times the performance was a bit sleepy, although the band and Tony did make small efforts to keep the audience's interest. I was rather taken by the punctuated guitars of new song "Put There By The Land" off "Ongiara"; it's maybe the closest I've heard Great Lake Swimmers to rocking out. Maybe they'll even introduce some guitar distortion on future releases. A few times Tony Dekker in his shy way made an effort towards banter - humourous things like introducing "I Am Part Of A Large Family" as a song about being part of a large family(well duh!), or the interesting story about him living in Toronto or the first time, getting a job at a film company downtown and commuting the same four subway stops for a period of time which led him to integrating those subway stop names("Spadina", "St. George", "Bay" and "Yonge") into the lyrics of his song "I Will Never See The Sun"). Maybe it's no coincidence that Tony chose to end the Canadian leg of his current tour at Church Of The Redeemer which is located off the subway line between "St George" and "Bay".

I was rather disappointed that there was no sort of creative, mood lighting utilized at all although I could understand that maybe the church wasn't equipped for such things. The lighting was probably beneficial to those taking photographs and were up close but from my vantage point at the back of the church the lack of mood lighting was a disappointment considering how much Great Lake Swimmers music might have benefitted from it within the church's glorious surroundings. It was good news to hear from Tony that the evening(well at least the early show) was being recorded by CBC Radio, presumably for radio broadcast but hopefully also for a live album release if we could be so lucky.

NOW Magazine speaks with Great Lake Swimmers' Tony Dekker about the collective vibe that permeated the recording of the band's newest album "Ongiara".

MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers

Friday, April 13, 2007


Arctic Monkeys new disc "Favourite Worst Nightmare" will be released through Domino Records / Warner on April 24, 2007. For all the hype that surrounded them with their first album, their tuneful brashness was enjoyable, not unlike The Libertines(who they sometimes got compared to, although weren't as good IMO). The first single "Brianstorm" from the new album is more of the same from the lads - hope to see them as part of the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands this September. Watch the video below:

Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 1Mbps_Stream (WVX)
Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 56K_Dial_Up_Stream (WVX)
Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 1Mbps_Stream (RealMedia)
Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 56K_Dial_Up_Stream (RealMedia)
Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 1Mbps_Stream (QuickTime)
Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Brianstorm" (music video) - 56K_Dial_Up_Stream (QuickTime)

Aversion and Pitchfork have the deets on the upcoming deluxe reissue of Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation".

Pitchfork reports that Final Fantasy will be hitting the festival circuit this summer, including several Canadian festivals. Lucky Torontonians get Final Fantasy at Harbourfront for a Canada Day(July 1 to you non-Canadians) performance.

Clinic invaded AOL's Spinner Interface for a session.

The Smudge of Ashen Fluff has the mp3's of Dean & Britta 's KCRW session from April 6, 2007 for download. Ben Lee compadre keyboardist Lara Meyerattken(who I didn't know was an artist in her own right, under the name of El May) performed along with Dean & Britta.

Belle and Sebastian have a MySpace, finally.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Once And Never Again

The Long BlondesI've been sampling the terse, post-punk-pop of UK's The Long Blondes lately and am quite enjoying it, especially the vibrant vocals of their lead vocalist Kate Jackson - I'm loving the exuberant pop of their song "Once And Never Again" which you should check out at their MySpace. Somewhat unfortunate that the band went so long(relatively speaking) without a North American domestic release but that's changed as Pitchfork reports - the band's album "Someone To Drive You Home" released last year in the UK through Rough Trade will be released in North American on June 5 through The Beggars Group. Further Pitchfork says that the band plans to support the album in North America with a brief tour in June followed by a more extensive one in September. Toronto, please come to Toronto.

With a little more elbow space now, the CSS/Datarock show for June 4 has been moved from Horseshoe Tavern to Lee's Palace. This is going on my maybe list. [via Outside Music]

According to Chartattack, the next album by The Concretes entitled "Hey Trouble"(which is already out in their home country of Sweden) will come out in the UK in June and will see a North American release this summer. And as Chartattack points out what the band wrote on their MySpace recently, "Lisa is still doing most of the drumming too, but live they're gonna get a drummer in, to steer clear of any Phil Collins jokes.)" Ha, ha. Also, check out the band's new message forums over at their website. As all good bands should do, always play your home town(home country) - The Concretes have tour dates in Sweden this month and next, but nothing's on the horizon for North America and the rest of the world. Yet.

I should really buck up on post-punk forefathers Pere Ubu(considering I own at least several of their albums but haven't listened to them much). Chartattack reports that the band's midperiod albums "The Tenement Year" (1988), "Cloudland" (1989), "Worlds In Collision" (1991) and "Story Of My Life" (1993) are being reissued in expanded versions by Mercury Records on April 17.

The indiepop-loving Skatterbrain points out that Saturday Looks Good To Me's next album entitled "Fill Up The Room" will be released in September through K Records in the U.S. and Popfrenzy in Australia. Check out the band's new website design also. The band heads off to Europe in May for some tourdates; let's hope for some North American dates this summer.

Monday, April 09, 2007

And You Hold Me, Like A Child

concert review: Junior Boys, The Russian Futurists @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), April 6, 2007

Junior Boys @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

This past Friday The Mod Club hosted a sold-out night of heady, danceable, pop music from Hamilton's Junior Boys and Toronto's The Russian Futurists. I'm assuming the bands are good friends because both bands also played in Toronto last September 2006 at El Mocambo. That time, I'd only caught a few songs from The Russian Futurists' set but my interest had been piqued. This time around, they definitely solidified my respect for their music. The Russian Futurists' Matt Hart wore a ship captain's cap providing a hint to the Futurists' musical eccentricities. With four keyboards, some added guitar, topped off with Matt Hart's idiosynchratic vocals, there was a denseness to the Futurists' sound, like a collision between orchestral, hip-hop and pyschedlic influences. Somehow it all worked. The more I listen to them, the more they remind me of a remixed version of The Flaming Lips. Simplistic as that description is, they are much more than that. The minor disappointment I had during the set was that Matt, at one point, introduced their next song as a 'rap' song although it turned out not to be 'rap' at all.

Things haven't much changed in Junior Boys live show since I last saw them. Jeremy Greenspan and Matthew Didemus thankfully still have in tow a drummer for their live shows, adding a much needed boost of energy to their live set. The gentlemen were more casually dressed this time around and gone is the neon "Junior Boys" sign on the wall behind them which they'd featured prominently during their last show at the El Mocambo. A major disappointment for me this time around was that I could hardly hear Matthew's keyboards so I felt a bit deprived of the full glory of songs that featured prominent keyboard licks like in "Like A Child" and "In The Morning". The set was a good mix of songs between "Last Exit" and "So This Is Goodbye". The most sublime moments of the night for me was the sensual beats of "So This Is Goodbye" and Jeremy's smooth-as-butter enunciation of "And You Hold Me, Like A Child" during "Like A Child". It's good to see them making strides with their on-stage comfort level with Jeremy even leading the crowd into some participatory handclapping. If you missed them this time around you'll be glad to hear that according to what Jeremy mentioned during the show, they'll be back in Toronto, again at The Mod Club, with Born Ruffians on June 8 or 9.

My photos from the show to come.

Pitchfork has an audio stream of a Carl Craig remix of Junior Boys' "Like A Child". Not nearly as good as the original.

MySpace: The Russian Futurists
MySpace: Junior Boys
The Toronto concert season continues to flourish. Toronto's Barzin will be at This ain't the Rosedale Library bookstore on April 24 as part of a book launch for author Rick Crilly - I don't have any details for this, nor know if this is a solo or full band performance. Promoting her new album "Saltbreakers"(to be released on Nonesuch Records on March 26 in Europe and April 10 in North America), Laura Veirs with openers Olympia, WA's Lake will be at El Mocambo on May 12. A few song's from Laura's new album are currently streaming over at her MySpace. Los Angeles' Eleni Mandell with opener Toronto's Justin Rutledge promise a night of quality music at The Mod Club on May 16. The upcoming Beach House/The Clientle show originally scheduled for Lee's Palace has now been moved to El Mocambo on June 4. Sometimes Zero 7 vocalist, but also solo artist in her own right, Denmark's Tina Dico will be in Toronto for a show at The Drake Hotel on June 19. Currently working on a new album, she's also keeping diary of her goings ons - and it's a thoughtful and well-written diary I might add. Looking forward to Canada Day(July 1), Sean Lennon has a show booked at the Phoenix. Edmonton's Shout Out Out Out Out will be at Harbourfront on July 7 as part of the Beats, Breaks and Culture Festival and will also be at the Hillside Festival in Guelph July 27-29.

If you can't wait for the official May 22 release of the new remix album of Stars' songs entitled "Do Your Trust Your Friends?", well then check out BlogJangles who's linked to several other sites which have mp3's of songs from the album.

Neko Case recently appeared on American radio program Sound Opinions. Minneapolis Fucking Rocks links to mp3's of three songs("Margaret Vs. Pauline", "That Teenage Feeling", "Sometimes When I Get To Thinking") that Neko performed on the show live.

Preview some tracks from the upcoming Feist album "The Reminder" over at Discover Feist, where you can also freely download a track["So Sorry"] from the album - however, you'll have to register for the newsletter in order to download the track.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Why Can't It Be Mine

MP3's from Ms. Basia Bulat's upcoming debut album "Oh My Darling"(to be released through Rough Trade on May 21) have been making the rounds in music blogs lately. Check out Sixeyes, Fluxblog, and Bleu. I've also recently found out that the album's been leaked on the web, but I'm going to muster enough will power not to download it, even though it's quite tempting.

The Michigan Daily has an interesting article surrounding The Festival of Faith and Music (featuring Sufjan Stevens, Daniel Smith[of Danielson], Neko Case, and Emmylou Harris among others) held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI last weekend - in particular, the article's focus is on "What does faith - or more specifically, the Christian faith - have to do with art?" sheds some light on a few upcoming releases from Wilco, The Jayhawks' Mark Olson and Gary Louris, Golden Smog, and Ryan Adams. Well, I already knew about the Wilco album but the information on the other artists' albums is all news to me. And with the new Wilco album "Sky Blue Sky" apparently a return to a gentler, mellower Wilco coupled with these other releases, not to mention the inaugural Stagecoach Festival happening in Indio, CA in May, it looks like alt-country(for lack of a better term) is experiencing a resurgence. All we need now is for the Grand Ole Opry to lift their lifetime ban on Neko Case ever appearing there, and then all will be right in the world.

Locals might want to take note - Toronto's Holy Fuck will be opening for !!! (chk chk chk) at Lee's Palace on May 19 - that's going to be CRAZY.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bootleg Party

Before the start of the recording of their second album, The Diableros will head off by hosting a 'Bootleg Party' at Sneaky Dee's on April 19 when they will invite anyone to record the show and share the performance online if they like[via Stille Post]. The band will even post the setlist on Stille Post after the show is over. Ian(and maybe Pete) will be doing double-duty that nigh as the other band they sometimes play in, The Airfields will also be on the bill. On a tangent, according to The Airfields MySpace, they'll be at Rancho Relaxo on May 18 with Ottawa's Toronto's Foxfire Forest and Toronto's Barons and Lengthy. The Airfields are at Neutral in Toronto this Saturday. Man, The Airfields are coming back full force to playing live again.

The recent Arts & Crafts update brings news of a short upcoming tour by Amy Millan(I'm thinking of going to see her in Hamilton on May 2):

April 27. Kingston, ON. Wellington St.
April 28. Peterborough, ON. Gordon Best.
May 2. Hamilton, ON. Casbah.
May 3. Waterloo, ON. Starlight.
May 4. Toronto, ON. Massey Hall.

Arts & Crafts also says that on April 24, AOL will air online intimate studio sessions with Feist - both audio and video of Ms. Feist performing songs from "Let It Die" and her upcoming album "The Reminder", recorded last December in Mississauga at Metalworks Studio. I was always aware of Metalworks but until today I'd never known it was located just minutes away from me. Damn, Leslie you were so close and yet so far.

In the meantime, you can watch the latest three Feist 'webisodes' below(with new webisodes coming soon for "The Water" and "1234"):

Video: "My Moon My Man"
Video: "Sealion"
Video: "The Park"

Thrill Jockey's The Sea and The Cake come to Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on June 2 with openers The Zincs. [via Time To Play B-sides]

Chromewaves points out that Wilco's going to be at Massey Hall on June 30. My brother's birthday. Why does life have to bring such difficult decisions? Pitchfork has more Wilco tour dates.

Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan comes out of hiding for a show at Phoenix Concert Theatre on July 7. I'm sure some of you are excited. [via Pollstar]

More additions to the Toronto Virgin Festival lineup as follows(via Chromewaves at Stille Post - Day One is definitely looking interesting):

day 1: Arctic Monkeys, MIA, Mute Math
day 2: Metric, Peter Bjorn & John, Honeycut

13 years ago tomorrow(April 5), Kurt Cobain left this Earth. And for the last few years on that day, I pull out my copy of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged In New York CD. Man, that was such a beautiful performance. I once remembered reading an album review of that CD ages ago in a university student newspaper in which they pointed out that Nirvana were as powerful at a whisper as they were at a scream, and I couldn't have put it better myself.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Backstage With The Modern Dancers

Great Lake Swimmers - Backstage With The Modern Dancers

I'm surprised I haven't seen this mentioned on any blogs yet, but Great Lake Swimmers have a new music video for their song "Backstage With The Modern Dancers" which is off their recently released new album "Ongiara". The video is directed by local talent Scott Cudmore.

video: Great Lake Swimmers - Backstage With The Modern Dancers (music video) (YouTube)

MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers

The Concretes - Kids

On the other side of the pond, Sweden's The Concretes are ready to release their third album "Hey Trouble" in Sweden on April 4. I have no idea when and if there'll be a domestic release. The new album will be the first to feature drummer Lisa Milberg as the new lead vocalist. Here's a music video for their song "Kids" from the new album, a song which I'd noted previously, "...tells the story of Lisa and Maria growing up, sat side by side by the record player, forming a taste in and for music that would much later result in The Concretes." As the band points out on their MySpace blog, music blog Obtusity has taken time to write an essay about the video.

Video: The Concretes - Kids (music video) (YouTube)
Video: The Concretes - Kids (music video) (Quicktime)

MySpace: The Concretes