Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thrush Hermit, Dinosaur Bones @ Lee's Palace (March 28, 2010)

Thrush Hermit: photo by Michael Ligon
  Thrush Hermit: photo by Michael Ligon

Update [Apr 2/2010, 12:42 pm]: My thoughts on Thrush Hermit and my review of their matinee show last Sunday are now up.

In the 90's heyday of Canadian indie-rock, Halifax's Thrush Hermit burst out of a burdgeoning east coast music scene providing infectious blasts of their own indie-pop-rock confectionary. It was many a Sunday night that Thrush Hermit provided a soundtrack as it seemed that Muchmusic's MuchWest and then Going Coastal would play a Thrush Hermit video almost every other week. While their peers Sloan may lay claim as the front-runners of that 90's east coast music scene having been signed to the majors first and laying the path for more east coast bands to become more popular, Thrush Hermit were always close behind. Releasing a series of EP's independently, a debut LP "Sweet Homewrecker" on the majors and arguably their finest and sadly their final LP "Clayton Park" back on an indie when the band called it a day in September 1999, it seemed premature, but in retrospect maybe it was the right decision and not just because the band's various members went on to further their musical careers. Joel Plaskett went on to make music with his band The Emergency(which featured fellow Hermit Ian McGettigan at one point) and ultimately solo, Rob Benvie released a solo effort, joined The Dears temporarily and went on to form Camouflage Nights with McGettigan, and pre-Clayton Park drummer Cliff Gibb apparently at one point went on to his own music pursuits under the moniker The Oracle of Impending Doom. But after hearing the four-piece perform last Sunday afternoon, what they claimed was their final Toronto performance ever, it was apparent that while the set was as infectious as I'd remembered, Thrush Hermit's legacy is sweeter for having left on a high note, their short but loved career a snapshot in time, their boy-ish looks, youthful enthusiasm and all.

Given the honour of opening the show was Toronto's Dinosaur Bones. For some reason I just never got around to checking out this band live until now. I'd been aware of the band since the beginning of 2009 and they've slowly built up a buzz (a buzz that is still relatively small, but a buzz nonetheless) but I've never been compelled to check them out. Shame on me. With the stage drenched in red light, the band's set of dark melodic rock full of textured guitar work, humming keys, thick bass and a good sense of dynamics turned out to be miles more intriguing than I'd anticipated. They forgoed indie rock aesthetics during their set(and what I've heard of their recorded output) for a more polished sound, though still raw enough that the music was/is still invigorating. With a 2008 self-titled EP, their recently released 2010 7-inch "Royalty/Ice Hotel", and a highly-anticipated full-length(whenever that may be), it's time I get more acquainted with the group.

It's hard to believe that I'd only ever seen Thrush Hermit live once, way back in 1995 when they performed as part of the Sloan-curated Edgefest 3 show down at the then-new Molson Ampitheatre. They had the balls to play a set entirely of Steve Miller Band covers. It was the pre-"Clayton Park" lineup of Plaskett, Benvie, Mettigan, and Gibb who took over Lee's Palace for three shows(two nights Fri & Sat, one matinee Sunday) last weekend, the matinee performance which I took in since I proscratinated on getting a ticket to either of the night shows which sold out. With the stage featuring the band's trademark "Rock N' Roll" neon sign which they'd brought out with them during their farewell tour in 1999, I think it was Plaskett who made a reference to "Back To The Future" and going back in time. It was a cross-catalogue setlist featuring almost everything I'd hope they'd would play. So yes, I didn't get "Heart Wrenching Man" (off of "Sweet Homewrecker") but got many favourites like "North Dakota", "Hated It", "French Inhale", "From The Back Of The Film", "The Day We Hit The Coast", "The Great Pacific Ocean", "Patriot", "I’m Sorry If Your Heart Has No More Room", and so on. As I'll say Plaskett has had the most notable music career of the bunch and his music possessing folkier strains and the other members been less active, their set last Sunday night was an opportunity for the band top play loose and ragged once again. Like possessing the spirit of Neil Young's great-loved band Crazy Horse, one of the highlights was the band tearing through the chaotic, noisy "Violent Dreams".

Musically, it was superb but energy-wise it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The crowd seemed less intense at times than I expected although I think it picked up during the latter half of the set, including the band's two encores. The band themselves put a decent amount of energy but part of me feels that the two previous night shows were probably the places to be and by Sunday afternoon the band were a little spent, understandeable. It's quite apparent, that at least with Plaskett, part of Thrush Hermit's catalogue is better left as part of their youth, in particular early EP tracks like "French Inhale" & "Hated It", tracks that exude a youthful, almost snotty, rock n' roll energy, but in mind seemed a little awkward compared to where Plaskett is now musically. But like the most timeless rock n' roll tracks, "From The Back Of The Film" will always feel good.

Photos: Thrush Hermit, Dinosaur Bones @ Lee's Palace (March 28, 2010)
MySpace: Dinosaur Bones
MySpace: Thrush Hermit

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Clientele, Field Music @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (March 19, 2010)

The Clientele: photo by Michael Ligon
  The Clientele: photo by Michael Ligon

An English double-bill featuring prog-rock-pop practioners Field Music and the sparkling, approaching-on-twee pop of The Clientele took over the Horseshoe Tavern a week ago Friday (yes, and sorry for the lack of punctuality on this review). Although I was only casually familiar with both bands, I'd fully expected to be at least fully engrossed with headliners The Clientele whose pop sounds were up my alley, but in the end both bands failed to ignite any spark in me.

Openers' Field Music were interesting if anything, my previous live experience with them being offshoot The Week That Was fronted by Field Music's Peter Brewis who played Canadian Music Week in 2009. As with The Week That Was, Field Music pop music isn't straight-laced, instead choosing a more cerebral approach. Dare I say prog, but the melodies weren't so straightforward, and the rock instrumentation was multi-layered and intricate. The core of the group, brothers Peter and David Brewis, exchanged vox, guitar and drumming duties at times, with David taking reigns of keyboard duties. Not to say there weren't flashes of brilliance at times, but as a pop guy who usually likes his melodies of the infectious variety, Field Music were somewhat challenging. At the very least, it was refreshing to hear a band that could actually play their instruments well. The band's newest album "Field Music (Measure)" is out now.

London-based four-piece The Clientele were up next, the band comprised of Alasdair MacLean (vocals and guitar), Mark Keen (drums), James Hornsey (bass) and Mel Draisey (violin, keyboards, backing vocals and percussion). Over the course of their set, The Clientele illustrated a variety of pleasant pop sounds(jangle, pastoral chamber-pop, and even brandishing a bit of guitar rock) but therein lied part of the problem - it was all too pleasant sounding sometimes, to the point that during the course of the beer I was drinking, I was starting to fall asleep. If all their songs were performed with as much urgency as "Bookshop Casanova" for example I'd have imagined being more alert but that wasn't the case. Maybe it was just an off-night for me, perhaps still not having fully-recovered from the previous weeks Canadian Musicfest, as any of the studio recordings I'd heard from The Clientele I quite liked. Maybe it's just one of those bands where I'd rather listen to the record that see the band live. Oh, well. The band's most recent effort 2009's "Bonfires on the Heath" is out now.

Photos: The Clientele, Field Music @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (March 19, 2010)
MySpace: Field Music
MySpace: The Clientele
Video: The Clientele - "Bookshop Casanova" (music video)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dead Letter Chorus @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (March 16, 2010)

Dead Letter Chorus: photo by Michael Ligon
  Dead Letter Chorus: photo by Michael Ligon

One of the highlights for me at this year's Canadian Musicfest was a charming folk, alt-country outfit from Australia called Dead Letter Chorus. Making their Toronto debut at intimate Toronto venue, The Painted Lady, it was a brief set but one that managed to adequately convey their strengths including strong melodies, attractive male and female vocals, and a tight-knit musicianship. Their Painted Lady set was one of two showcases(the other being at the Rivoli a few days later) which the band performed for Canadian Musicfest but before embarking on a short Canadian tour with Charlottetown's Two Hours Traffic, they also stuck around in Town to play Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe Tavern this past Tuesday - officially it was to celebrate the Canadian release of their debut album "The August Magnificent" (which originally was released in their native Australia in 1998). I'd timed my arrival at the venue perfectly just before Dead Letter Chorus kicked off their set, and while it was a generally thin crowd, there seemed to be a curiosity (and perhaps a few spectactors that were familiar with the band) that motivated some to move a little closer to the stage. The band's sound varied a little over the course of the set, going from sombre, noir tones to sunnier rootsy pop songs, and it's with the latter on songs like "Magnolia Farm" and "Down In Your Valley" where I feel they excelled. The band has two strong lead vocalists with the effervescent vocals of Gabrielle Huber and the effortless, casual vocals of Cam Potts, a competent rhythm section with bassist Tristan Thorne and drummer Lee Carey, and guitarist Michael Faber was particularly expressive both in his stage persona and guitar-playing.

I had the chance to speak briefly with bassist Tristan Thorne who I'd purchased their CD at the merch table for affordable $10 Cdn (unlike the $20-$30 it might cost in Australia as they'd bantered during their set). They had no plans on attending SXSW this year, instead as Thorne revealed, focusing their efforts on touring Canada, a place where they felt they belong, which is maybe the nicest compliment I've ever heard from a band touring our fair country. A sentiment such as thing should perhaps not be too surprising as Dead Letter Chorus' Huber and Two Hours Traffic Liam Corcoran collaborated and wrote a song together which they performed at this year's ECMA's as part of the SOCAN Songwriters Circle, and leading to the Sydney meets Sydney iniative. And now both bands are touring together across this fair country. While I already have plans on April 3, the night Two Hours Traffic/Dead Letter Chorus stop in Toronto at Lee's Palace, I do highly recommend you check the Aussie's out (and of course our own Two Hours Traffic).

For full tour dates go to Dead Letter Chorus' MySpace.

Photos: Dead Letter Chorus @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (March 16, 2010)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Joanna Newsom @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto (March 13, 2010)

Update [March 22/2010, 1:30 AM]: Post now up. Unfortunately, because of the no-cameras policy at the show, security wasn't allowing me to take any photos, but I snuck some photos during the encore anyway - nothing special, but at least I got the one below for posterity.

  Joanna Newsom:
  photo by Michael Ligon
Joanna Newsom at Phoenix: photo by Michael LigonSometimes you just got to believe the hype. I'd largely been unfamiliar with singer/songwriter Ms. Joanna Newsom who'd until this year had already released two albums on the strength of which she'd built a loyal following. With the release of her most recent full-length, in fact a triple album (although technically-speaking could have been released as a double album), entitled "Have One On Me", it was the stronger-than-ever word-of-mouth recommendations and critical accolades which convinced me that perhaps that I should give her a chance and buy a ticket to her show. But save for sampling a few of her studio recordings, I went into her show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre last Saturday night with relatively a clean slate. In short, she was quite the revelation.

I missed opener Kevin Barker entirely, arriving to discover a packed house. However, with Canadian Musicfest plans later than night, missing Mr. Barker's set wasn't necessarily the end of the world. Instead, I looked at the situation with optimism, being able to go into Ms. Newsom's set with a clean palette. With a band that featured a two-member string section, a trombonist, drummer/percussionsit, and a multi-instrumentatlist(mandolin, banjo, flute, guitar) and with Ms. Newsom on piano and harp, it was a set of beguiling, folky chamber pop. Starting off the set with a trio of songs at piano, the audience was as attentive as one could hope, Newsom's uniquely askewed vocals(though in my opinion still within the realm of accessibility) played off nicely with her jaunty piano arrangements. The attentiveness of the audience was quite apparent when Newsom switched from piano to harp for the set's fourth song "In California", and if not absolutley silent, there was virtually no chatter from the crowd whatsoever during the song and for most of the remainder of the set.

The set was not without it's technical difficulties, although in a sense, these actually worked out to the benefit of the audience experience. It could have not been planned better for a comedy setup than when Newsom mentioned to the audience that for their current tour they'd been playing more sophisticated venues and that it was nice to play a rock club in Toronto, although when drummer Neil Morgan commented about a leaky ceiling above him, Ms. Newsom quipped "ok, we're leaving". Later on Ms. Newsom felt compelled to tune her harp better, handing off banter duties to drummer Morgan who took the reigns quite confidently and humourously, answering questions from the audience who were only too happy to participate. Of course, when an audience member attempted to pose a question to her, she responsed humourously that Neil had the floor. Banter doesn't get any better than that.

A gaze at the setlist is somewhat misleading. In one sense it was a short main set in that it only lasted about an hour, but most sets of that length arent't usually comprised of only eight songs. Usually, songs longer than five or six minutes on length may try my patience, but Ms. Newsom's material was such that a gaze at my watch at the beginning of a song than gazing at my watch later on during the song and realizing eight minutes had past, seemingly in the blink of an eye, truly reflected the strength of her songs and her and her band's musicianship. In a rare event, one I don't think I've ever experience, when the main set ended, the stage lights came on, and the music through the PA started, but an enthusiastic crowd and their prolonged clapping lead the club to allow Ms. Newsom and the band to come out for an encore ("Baby Birch"). Now, that's special.

Reviews of the show over at The National Post, Exclaim, chartattack, The Globe and Mail and Chromewaves. Update: It's Not The Band I Hate, It's Their Fans has his review and photos from the show now up.

It was one of those shows you'd want to relive in your mind, but fortunately a few people filmed quite decent video footage at the show:

Video: Joanna Newsom - "In California" (live, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, March 13, 2010)
Video: Joanna Newsom - "Have One On Me" (live, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, March 13, 2010)
Video: Joanna Newsom - "No Provenance" (live, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, March 13, 2010)
Video: Joanna Newsom - "The Book Of Right On" (live, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, March 13, 2010)
Video: Joanna Newsom - "Baby Birch" (live, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, March 13, 2010)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Canadian Musicfest w/ Plants & Animals, Think About Life, The Brother Kite, that's the spirit, Maylee & PEGWEE POWER!! (March 12-13, 2010)

Maylee & PEGWEE POWER!!: photo by Michael Ligon
  Maylee & PEGWEE POWER!!: photo by Michael Ligon

Plants & Animals [MySpace] (March 12, 12 am, Lee's Palace): I already recounted how my Friday night during last week's Canadian Musicfest had started out. I ended up in line at Lee's Palace, optimistic I'd get in to the Billions/Chromewaves showcase but after waiting in line for an hour and half (and missing both The Russian Futurists' and The Acorn's sets) I just about threw in the towel, but fortunately the friendly people in line kept my spirits up and finally I got in just in time for Montreal trio Plants & Animals' set. I'd first seen them live during the 2008 Canadian Music Week festival at the Horseshoe (a bill which coincidentally also included The Acorn) but wasn't immediately impressed. They displayed a good amount of energy but their jammy qualities weren't in line with my musical tastes at the time. However, the strange thing is I ended up seeing them live in a park in Barcelona, Spain (as part of the Primavera Sound Festival), and maybe partially it had to do with the favourable response from the Spaniards, but Plants & Animals displayed such a 'joie de vivre' that pretty much converted me on the spot. Since then I'd also seen them perform live on the third stage at last year's Virgin Festival @ Molson Ampitheatre which was equally as enticing as their set in Barcelona. Last week's set at Lee's Palace showed the trio grateful to be playing in Toronto again. Their new album "La La La Land" set for release on April 20 provided most of the set's song choices, although the set did give nods to their debut like fan favourite "Faerie Dance" (and of course, it's audience singalong part of 'la-la-la-la la-la la-la la'). Although, the trio still possess a jam-my streak, it's something I'm less critical about these days, as the band seems to balance it nicely with equitable forays into more conventional pop songwriting. Energetically performed to the point of sweat-soaked shirts, the slight warble in the vocals of lead singer Warren Spicer complimented nicely the textured guitar strums and melodies and vibrant rhythm section.

Photos: Plants & Animals @ Lee's Palace (March 12, 2010)

Think About Life [MySpace] (March 12, 1 am, Lee's Palace): Montreal's Think About Life were the final band of the night for me. I'd been meaning to see them live based only on the good things I'd read about them and never ever hearing a note of them. Comprised of vocalist Martin Cesar, keyboard/guitarist Graham Van Pelt, drummer Matt Shane and bassist/vocalist/dancing girl Caila Thompson-Hannant, I was immediately drawn to their DIY-soul-pop-funk. Vocalist Martin Cesar wearing dark sunglasses exuded pure charisma in his stage presence, while bassist Caila was most appealing when she broke out into free-spirited dance moves, at times providing co-vocals as she cozied up to Martin. Musically, they remind me of a less-sample-happy Go Team!, mining a similar territory in their collision of pop, soul, and funk filtered through a DIY aesthetic. Performed loose and fun, and hey what was not more fun than when guitarist Van Pelt broke out into a Theme From Shaft-like guitar line, the crowd was eating every little bit up. When Cesar jumped down to the floor to get up close and personal with the crowd it was only icing on the cake. The band's most recent full-length entitled "Family" is out now.

Photos: Think About Life @ Lee's Palace (March 12, 2010)

The Brother Kite [MySpace] (March 13, 10 pm, Rancho Relaxo): A later start to Joanna Newsom's set over at the Phoenix meant that any 9 pm Canadian Musicfest plans were now shot. By the time Ms. Newsom's set ended and the time that it took to take the streetcar over to Rancho Relaxo I had about 20 minutes to spare before Providene, RI's The Brother Kite took the stage. The five member(4 guys, 1 girl) outfit specialized in a sound that was as much in debt to shoegaze as it is to Brian Wilson. What you get are spright melodies sung with buoyancy and musical instrumentation that straddles a line between a shoegazey textures and more cleaner sonics. While there was a respectable quantity of patrons in the establishment, I didn't feel the repsonse was overly enthusiastic which is very much a shame. The Brother Kite are very much a genre band ie. indiepop, shoegaze, what-have-you which is always a difficult thing to overcome, but if a slightly similar band like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart can experience a certain amount of exposure and success, I'd think with some good promotion, The Brother Kite have bright things to look forward to.

Photos: The Brother Kite @ Rancho Relaxo (March 13, 2010)

that's the spirit (March 13, 11 pm, Rancho Relaxo): The last time I'd seen Ottawa's that's the spirit was at last year's NXNE as a duo featuring songwriter Ben Wilson on guitar/vox and friend Tom Thompson on pedal steel/guitar. It was a relatively hushed set of intricate, introspective pop, reminiscent of Red House Painters. For this year's Canadian Musicfest, Ben and Tom rounded out the band with a drummer and bassist, in turn amping up the volume and the rock. Ben sings in a somewhat introverted tone reminiscent of The Shins' James Mercer, so even while the full band performance provided a bit more grit and volume at times, they're hardly AC DC. But that's quite alright with me; we need introvertedness in music sometimes because really that's where some of the best music comes out of. Visually, they're kind of non-descript looking as a band and didn't exude much stage presence but thankfully they make up for it musically.

Photos: that's the spirit @ Rancho Relaxo (March 13, 2010)

Maylee & PEGWEE POWER!! [MySpace] (March 13, 12 am, Bread & Circus): The final act of the night and the festival for me was a local act I'd been meaning to see live for some time, called Maylee & Pegwee Power!! And wow, what a way to end! Coming out of left-field, the pixie-ish lead vocalist Maylee Todd broke all expectations I had of her, proving herself to be one of the most dynamic vocalists and performers Toronto has to offer. With her three-member band Pegwee Power which featured a drummer, stand-up bassist, and multi-instrumentalist(keyboards, trumpet, and at one point an old-school Sony walkman), Maylee (at times on guitar and harp) led the group through a variety of musical genres from Astrud-Gilberto-inflected jazz-pop, James Brown-like soul numbers, garage-y pop song, and pristine harp-augmented folk tunes. But it's not just the variety of musical genres tackled that is impressive but the fact that she can do them well and make each song feel so natural. It was one of the sleeper sets of Canadian Musicfest and one of the best Toronto music revelations I've had in a long time. What better way to end my Canadian Musicfest on that high note. Fortunately for you all, she'll be playing around town over the next two months with her next show being at The Drake on March 25. Do check her out.

Photos: Maylee & PEGWEE POWER!! @ Bread & Circus (March 13, 2010)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Canadian Musicfest w/ New Look, Speech Debelle, Neon Indian, Hey Marseilles (March 11, 2010)

Hey Marseilles: photo by Michael Ligon
  Hey Marseilles: photo by Michael Ligon

New Look (March 11, 9 pm, Lee's Palace): It was a thin crowd onhand for Mississauga/Dundas electro-soul-pop duo New Look. The duo, who are also married, were comprised of lead vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Ruba (who started her career out as a fashion model) and Adam Pavao who handled the programming and beats. They strolled onto the stage to a quiet audience, myself overhearing Sarah utter the word 'silence'. It was a barebones setup with Sarah playing a keyboard strapped around her shoulder and Adam handling the technoligical side but the duo soon won over the small crowd with Sarah's strong, soulful, demure vocals and Adam's electronic wizadry. They were musically reminisicent of Junior Boys combining creative electronic noodling with a song-based approach. During their last song, Sarah sang "He doesn't even know that I'm alive" and as the song neared it's conclusion, Sarah's soulful vocal prowess was on full display. The duo released a 4-song e.p. entitled "How's My Hair?" for free on their website in 2008 - it's no longer available for download but with a little intersurfing, I guarantee you'll find it. The duo are expected to release their debut album this year.

Photos: New Look @ Lee's Palace (March 11, 2010)

Speech Debelle [MySpace] (March 11, 10 pm, Lee's Palace): UK 2009 Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle showed herself to be a versatle artist and while her forte is rapping(in an attractive British accent), she's integrated that into a musical mix that combines, hip-hop, pop, and r n'b flavours. Dressed in a black leather jacket, black sunglasses, and black jeans, her flow was superb as she seemed to utter a continuous stream of words without so much as a stumble. Her band, featuring acoustic guitar, stand-up bass, and drums, had provided a short instrumental interlude prior to Speech strolling onto the stage, and for the remainder of the set they provided subtle melodic accoutrements to her lyrical zest. The crowd at Lee's had filled in a little more at this point, and there were definite fans in the audience with one audience member even requesting a song, and ACTUALLY having it fulfilled. Her 2009 Mercury Prize-winning debut album "Speech Therapy" is out now. So far for the night, I was batting two for two.

Photos: Speech Debelle @ Lee's Palace (March 11, 2010)

Neon Indian (March 11, 11 pm, Lee's Palace): The Pitchfork-hyped, Denton, Texas band Neon Indian led by bushy-haired main composer/songwriter Alan Palomo were up next. Having released their debut album "Psychic Chasms" in October 2009, the band have been riding a wave of buzz within a short amount of time. The electro-psychedelic-pop of their song "Deadbeat Summer" had caught many persons attention, with Pitchfork declaring it the thirteen best song of 2009. Not exactly a stunner, but it is a fun-filled track. Alan rounded out the live band with a drummer, keyboardist and guitarist and while of course the keyboard setup between him and keyboardist is of course sedantary, Alan made up for it with a vibrant vocal stage presence which also extended to his guitarist and drummer. Melodic, hummable but also danceable, it was quite obvious that the crowd were there to see Neon Indian, some a little to vocal at times (buy hey, I'm sure the band appreciated it).

Photos: Neon Indian @ Lee's Palace (March 11, 2010)

Hey Marseilles [MySpace] (March 11, 12 am, Clinton's): I skipped out on Sweden electro-pop outfit Little Dragon[who'll fortunately be back in Toronto on March 30 for a show at Wrongbar; tickets $13.50] and decided to head down the street to cap off the night with Seattle indie-folk, chamber-pop outfit Hey Marseilles who were playing a midnight set at Clinton's. I'd liked what I heard on their MySpace and live they displayed a competence beyond their youthful appearance. The Decemberists seemed to be a strong influence, with vocalist Matt Bishop sounding a little like Colin Meloy at times, and the varied musical instrumentation which included violin, viola, accordion, guitar, trumpet, drums, and percussion displayed similar folk-pop qualities though less of The Decemberists sea shanty-isms. It's a shame first of all that everyone was sitting down, but secondly it was even worse that a chatty 40 % of the patrons had to ruin it for the rest of us. Matt even tried playing up to our Canadian pride by mentioning our recent hockey win, which for all intensive purposes, didn't get any response. Oh well, he tried. That was my first, and perhaps the last time, I'll ever go to Clinton's. The net result ended up being that I enjoyed Hey Marseilles on their musical merits but the sit-down crowd and the chatty atmosphere, entirely ruined the experience for me. Hopefully, they'll come back up here again. The band's 2008 independently released debut album "To Travels & Trunks" is planned for re-release and national distribution this year.

Photos: Hey Marseilles @ Lee's Palace (March 11, 2010)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadian Musicfest w/ Dead Letter Chorus (March 10, 2010)

Dead Letter Chorus: photo by Michael Ligon
  Dead Letter Chorus: photo by Michael Ligon

It didn't seem my first night of Canadian Musicfest last week would start on a good note given I'd shown up to the Lee's Palace for The Bonfire Ball featuring Jason Collett, Zeus, and Bahamas later than intended(getting in line around quarter after 9) and saw a lineup bigger than expected. I took a chance and decided to wait but after an hour I gave up and bailed as it realistically did not seem like I'd get in. As it was a Wednesday night and I had to work the next day, I wasn't fully committed to seeing any of my alternate choices for 11pm or later but ultimately decided to head down to the Gladstone to check out Will Currie and The Country French but en route on the Dufferin bus to the Gladstone I changed my mind and decided instead to check out Aussie's Dead Letter Chorus at The Painted Lady on Ossington Ave. I'd liked what I heard and fully expected it be an entertaining time.

The Aussie five member indie folk-rock outfit timed their Canadian Musicfest appearance to coincide closely with the release of their debut album “The August Magnificent” released in Canada on Bumstead Records today March 16, the album released independently in their native Australia in 2008. A tight squeeze it was at The Painted Lady, one of the smallest venues in Toronto I've ever been in, but the concentrated patronage added at least the illusion of a buzzed-about show. If I had to guess, the reason for the close to capacity crowd was that they'd probably had come out for locals The Wilderness of Manitoba, themselves a buzzed-about indie folk outfit. But at least people stuck around for Dead Letter Chorus.

With the stage illuminated with a combination of dim lighting and christmas lights and the band spiffied up in their presentable garb, they were so immediately likeable as they performed a set of tuneful folk-rock possessing an underlying rootsiness reminiscent say of The Jayhawks. Co-lead vocalist Cameron Potts did an admirable job on vocals but it was the effervescent lead vocals of keyboardist Gabrielle Huber like on their debut single "Down In Your Valley" where they really excelled. For the most part, vocals were a dual responsibility as Potts and Huber traded off vocals as well as sung together, a combination which really worked well. Musically, they're conventional as 'alt-country' [if you had to lump them into a genre] bands come, but the musicianship was played with a good sense of urgency when necessary and fortunately they had really strong tunes.

With their debut album released today, and their album release show tonight at the Horseshoe Tavern(sorry for the late reminder), I hope for big things for the band in North America. And then one day I can look back and say , "remember when they played that tiny venue in Toronto, The Painted Lady?"

If you don't catch the band tonight, they're going on a short Canadian jaunt opening for Two Hours Traffic which will stop in Toronto at Lee's Palace on April 3.

Photos: Dead Letter Chorus @ The Painted Lady (March 10, 2010)
MySpace: Dead Letter Chorus
Video: Dead Letter Chorus - "Down In Your Valley" (music video)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

CMW 2010 Update (Part Two)

Yes, I've decided to forgo the final night of Canadian Musicfest / Canadian Music Week. I made it out to 4 of the 5 nights which I'd say is a pretty good effort, but I'm pooped and I'm not in the mood to gamble on the lineups and getting in with my media pass at the 'big' shows tonight (ie. Born Ruffians/Young Rival/Parlovr @ the Phoenix and Woods/Real Estate @ the Horseshoe Tavern). Maybe I'll use my time constructively and process some of my photos from the festival. Let's just say with the rain, and the lineups and a few TTC delays, it wasn't one of the better CMW experiences I've had. Heck, CMW 2008 was better and one of those days were smack dab in a middle of a blizzard. On the good side, I ran into a bunch of blogger friends and acquaintances, met a few new people and had not-so-terrible lineup experiences chatting with people in line.

Stay tuned for the more detailed reviews as well as my photos. I already gave a rundown of my Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. My Saturday went down like this:

The first show of the night for me was the non-CMW-related early Joanna Newsom show at the Phoenix. Left home later than I intended and ended up missing opener Kevin Barker. Because of the strict camera policy at the Phoenix, I was forced to keep my camera in my bag for Joanna's entire set, a fantastic one at that especially to a relative newbie such as myself. Though it seems that an encore wasn't planned (because of the strict curfew at the Phoenix because of the dance club later that night), the crowd continued to applaud if after the stage lights and the music on the sound system came on, eventually prompting the club to allow Ms. Newsom one more song. I managed to sneak a few photos during the encore, nothing spectacular given my partially obstructed view of Ms. Newsom but for the sake of posterity it was something.

The CMW portion of the night started a streetcar ride down the street from the Phoenix with Providence, RI's and Chromewaves-favourite The Brother Kite down at Rancho Relaxo, then continued in the same venue with Ottawa's that's the spirit, and then capping off the festival for me was Toronto's fantastic Maylee and Pegwee Power!! at Bread & Circus. Ran into a new acquaintance outside of Bread & Circus who mentioned the !059 house party where Maylee was also suppose to play, but ahh, I'd leave that to the kids. I considered taking in Toronto's Action Makes' set closeby at The Comfort Zone but opted instead to quench my thirst with a grape soda at the 7-11 across the street from The Comfort Zone and then catching the streetcar back to the subway to get back to my car in the westend. No way in hell I wanted to take the TTC Blue Line that night.

And it didn't stop raining the ENTIRE night. And I lost my sweater at the Phoenix (ok, that's my own dumb fault).

CMW sent out some e-mails recently including the list of winners at this year's The Indies, the awards show and performances going down yesterday evening. Congrats to Rural Alberta Advantage for winning this year's Galaxie Rising Stars award. They have a busy week ahead of them as there heading to SxSW again this year. Favourite Live Artist/Group went to Hamilton's Arkells, a band I haven't necessarily taken hold of although the more I hear their single "Oh, The Boss is Coming!", the more they're working-class rock n' roll reveals its qualities. Favorite Folk Artist/Group went to Great Lake Swimmers and Favourite Group/Duo Of The Year went to The Constantines. Favourite Solo Artist Of The Year went to Joel Plaskett with Favourite Album going to Metric's "Fantasies". Favourite Hardcore album went to Fucked Up. International Single Of The Year went to Phoenix and "1901" with International Album Of The Year going to The xx's self-titled effort. I just wonder how The Indies are set up, especially with the Internationl Awards - for example is there some sort of satellite video feed with say The xx thanking all their Canadian fans for voting for them? I imagine that's probably not the case but it'd be kind of cool if it were.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

CMW 2010 Update

Firstly, just want to give a heads up, that I updated my previous post(my CMF picks for Friday, Saturday & Sunday) with hyperlinks to artists websites & MySpace sites. I have a few for-sures tonight but mostly playing it by ear. I'll also be taking in the non-CMF related Joanna Newsom show at the Phoenix which is an early show with doors at 6pm and the opener Kevin Barker going on at 6:30 pm. I'm not quite sure if I'll bother with Sunday night actually.

I've managed to catch a band or few each night of Canadian Musicfest since Wednesday but this year's festival's has been frustrating. Weather of course was shit yesterday but that aside, the wristband/media limitations I've experienced firsthand and or heard or read about are a matter of concern.

I didn't get in to the Jason Collett/Zeus/Bahamas show at Lee's Palace Wednesday night but that's more due to me not showing up early enough for a show that was a bigger draw than I'd expected. Still, I waited an hour but decided to bail before ending up at Painted Lady on Ossington to catch Aussies Dead Letter Chorus, a great indie folk rock outfit who'll fortunately be back next week to play the no-cover Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe on March 16 which will be their Canadian album release show, and then going on a short Canadian jaunt opening for Two Hours Traffic which will stop in Toronto at Lee's Palace on April 3.

Thursday night was a good night overall with me hunkering down for most of the night at Lee's Palace for an electro-tinged trio of sets including Mississauga/Dundas duo New Look, UK rapper Speech Debelle, and Pitchfork darlings Neon Indian. The night was hosted by The Windish Agency. I'd have stuck around for Sweden's Little Dragon but I'd also wanted to check out Seattle indie folk outfit Hey Marseilles down the street at Clinton's. Short story, the crowd at Clinton's sucked, but Hey Marseilles played a good set of old-Decemberists-inspired folk-rock.

Friday night was all sorts of problems. Of course, first, it was raining. I was in the downtown area at a very decent time but decided to kill some time to grab a coffee. I'd eventually ended up at Yonge and College with a plan to head to the Silver Dollar to catch San Paulo's The Name at The Silver Dollar. It felt like the westbound College streetcar took forever so by the time I got to Spadina and College near The Silver Dolar it was already 9:30 pm and imagining that The Name's 9 pm set was likely over or nearly over I decided to head up to Lee's Palace to catch The Russian Futurists. I was initially elated to arrive at Lee's Palace with maybe eight people in line but eventually the lineup wait turned from 15 minutes, to half an hour, to a full hour and with me nearly reaching my limit by the one hour and half mark (at this point having missed the 'Futurists' and The Acorn's set) I almost gave up. The only thing that kept me going really were the people in line who were friendly and chatty, making the experience much less miserable. Wristband holders, were long told they had no chance in getting in anymore, but media and pass holders still had hope, even if with each passing minutes it seemed less likely. And then the hope I'd been waiting for - finally I see a CMW organizer pop her head out and tell security that at least 20 pass holders will be let in and with me about third in line at this point, I was absolutlely floored. I made it just in time for Plants & Animals, and stuck around also for Think About Life (who'd I'd never seen live until then). It turned out to be a decent night after all. However, going back to my car(parked at Spadina and Queen) was entirely frustrating as waiting for the Bathurst Blue Line bus south took friggin' forty minutes. Fuck you TTC.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Canadian Musicfest Picks (March 12-14, 2010)

Update [Mar 13/2010, 3:48 pm]: Updated the post with band site/MySpace links.


7:30 pm
Julie Fader @ The Music Gallery

MySpace: Julie Fader

8 pm
Isla Craig & the Continental Drift @ The Comfort Zone

8:15 pm
Brian Borcherdt @ The Music Gallery

MySpace: Brian Borcherdt

9 pm
Postdata @ The Music Gallery

MySpace: Postdata

9 pm
The Name @ Silver Dollar

9 pm
Ghostkeeper @ The Garrison

9 pm
Children Collide @ Rivoli

MySpace: Children Collide

10 pm
Hannah Georgas @ Drake Underground

10 pm
Hyperpotamus @ Global Village Backpackers

10 pm
The Russian Futurists @ Lee's Palace

MySpace: The Russian Futurists

10 pm
Sally Seltmann @ Rivoli

MySpace: Sally Seltmann

10 pm
Gemma Ray @ Silver Dollar

10 pm
The D'urbervilles @ The Garrison

MySpace: The D'urbervilles

11 pm
Dan Mangan @ Courthouse

MySpace: Dan Mangan

11 pm
Brasstronaut @ Drake Underground

MySpace: Brasstronaut

11 pm
Parlovr @ El Mocambo

11 pm
The Acorn @ Lee's Palace

MySpace: The Acorn

11 pm
P.S. I Love You @ Silver Dollar

11 pm
Nightmare Air @ Velvet Underground

MySpace: Nightmare Air

11:30 PM
Children Collide @ Gladstone Ballroom

12 am
The Mountains and The Trees @ Central

12 am
Sydney Wayser @ Global Village Backpackers

MySpace: Sydney Wayser

12 am
Plants & Animals @ Lee's Palace

MySpace: Plants & Animals

12 am
Dead Letter Chorus @ Rivoli

12 am
Diamond Rings @ Silver Dollar

1 am
Think About Life @ Lee's Palace

12 am
Grand Atlantic @ Rivoli

12 am
The Peelies @ Silver Dollar

12 am
Phantogram @ Supermarket

12 am
Soft Copy @ The Garrison

12 am
Special Guest (to be announced that day - update: it was Woodhands) @ Wrongbar

2 am
The Uglysuit @ Lee's Palace

2 am
Fergus Brown @ Rivoli

2 am
Parlovr @ Silver Dollar


8:50 pm
Plants and Animals @ Canadian Room (The Indie Awards - Concert Series)

9 pm
Vicky @ Neutral Lounge

9:45 pm
Rural Alberta Advantage @ Canadian Room (The Indie Awards - Concert Series)

MySpace: Rural Alberta Advantage

10 pm
The Brother Kite @ Rancho Relaxo

MySpace: The Brother Kite

10:30 pm
Great Lake Swimmers @ Canadian Room (The Indie Awards - Concert Series)

MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers

11 pm
Gemma Ray @ Painted Lady

11 pm
That's The Spirit @ Rancho Relaxo

MySpace: That's The Spirit

11 pm
Nightmare Air @ Velvet Underground

11:45 pm
The Constantines @ Canadian Room (The Indie Awards - Concert Series)

MySpace: The Constantines

12 am
The Job @ Bovine Sex Club

12 am
Maylee and PEGWEE POWER!! @ Bread & Circus

1:45 am
Brasstronaut @ Lee's Palace

3 am
The Darcys @ Sneaky Dee's

MySpace: The Darcys


8 pm
Parlovr @ Phoenix

9 pm
Young Rival @ Phoenix

MySpace: Young Rival

10 pm
Born Ruffians @ Phoenix

MySpace: Born Ruffians

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Canadian Musicfest Picks (March 10-11, 2010)

It's that time of year again, Canadian Music Week, and of course the music portion, last year inaugurally dubbed Canadian Musicfest, is the part I'm looking forward to the most. While Toronto's other major multi-venue, citywide music industry festival NXNE which takes hold of the city every June has upped the ante in recent years with buzzier bands and bigger draw acts(as well of course, a lot of unknowns), Canadian Music Week has remained for the most part, focused on mostly unknown acts. Frustrating to some, but I do enjoy the process of reading the artist/band descriptions, sampling the MySpace sites, and hopefully discovering some new and exciting music. Fighting chilly temperatures venue-hopping had always been a factor during Canadian Music Week in past years. It's nice to feel the balmy temperatutes recently which should linger in to the weekend. I just hope the forecast of rain for the end of the week and into the weekend doesn't pan out. Without further ado, her are my CMF picks for Wednesday and Thursday:


From 9-11 pm approximately, I'll likely be checking out Jason Collett, Zeus, and Bahamas at Lee's Palace who'll be performing together under the banner of The Bonfire Ball. As I understand, all three artists will be forming an extended set together, integrating all three artists' songs. There are however a lot of other good choices this night:

9 pm
Kalle Mattson @ Central (indie, roots)

MySpace: Kalle Matson
Video: Kalle Mattson - "Whisper Bee" (live @ Canteen)

9:45 pm
I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business @ The Opera House (acoustic, rock, emo)

Audio: I can make a mess like nobodys business - "Old man your no good at talking anymore"

10 pm
Ruth Minnikin @ Cadillac Lounge (roots, pop)

Video: Ruth Minnikin and her bandwagon - "Depend On This" (music video)
MySpace: Ruth Minnikin

10 pm
Ketch Harbour Wolves @ Neutral (indie, rock)

MySpace: Ketch Harbour Wolves
Video: Ketch Harbour Wolves - "Words"

10 pm
Wilderness of Manitoba @ Painted Lady (indie, acoustic, folk)

Video: Shafey's Palace-Episode 7 ft.The Wilderness of Manitoba

11 pm
Will Currie & the Country French @ Gladstone (pure pop, piano)

MySpace: Will Currie & the Country French
Video: Will Currie and the Country French - "City" (live @ WLU's Last Band Standing, March 2007)

11 pm
Chère Françoise @ Global Village Backpackers (acoustic, french pop)

Video: Chère Françoise - "My Other Me" (live @ Bread & Circus, December 2009)

11 pm
Dead Letter Chorus @ Painted Lady (indie, folk-rock)

Video: Dead Letter Chorus - "Down In Your Valley" (music video)

11 pm
Pick A Piper @ Rancho Relaxo (indie, percussion, rhythmic, experimental)

Video: Pick A Piper - "Rooms" (music video)

11 pm
Speech Debelle @ Revival (hip hop, rap, British)

MySpace: Speech Debelle
Video: Speech Debelle - "Spinnin'" (music video)

12 am
Family Of The Year @ Central (indie, folk-rock, vocals)

MySpace: Family Of The Year
Video: Family Of The Year - "What A Surprise" (Live From The Indaba Music Loft)

12 am
Dead Messenger @ Neutral (power pop, rock)

MySpace: Dead Messenger
Video: Dead Messenger - "FAT BLACK HEART"

1 am
The O'Darling @ Central (indie, pop, vocals)

Video: The O Darling: Playing: Fire Fire with AKE live in Victoria


This is the night that the festival REALLY kicks into high gear:

8 pm
Digits @ Drake (electro, pop)

9 pm
The Funeral Suits @ Hideout (indie, rock, pop)

Video: The Funeral Suits - Black Lemonade (music video)

9 pm
New Look @ Lee's Palace (electro, soul, pop)

MySpace: New Look

9 pm
Sally Seltmann @ Great Hall (indie, pop)

MySpace: Sally Seltmann
Video: Sally Seltmann - "Harmony to my Heartbeat" (music video)

10 pm
Speech Decebelle @ Lee's Palace (hip hop, rap, British)

10 pm
Forest City Lovers @ Drake (indie, folk-rock)

MySpace: Forest City Lovers
Video: Forest City Lovers - "If I Were A Tree" (music video)

10 pm
Dan Managan @ Great Hall (indie, folk-pop)

MySpace: Dan Managan
Video: Dan Managan - "The Indie Queens Are Waiting" (music video)

10 pm
Diamond Rings @ Garrison (indie, electro, rock, pop)

Video: Diamond Rings - "All Yr Songs" (music video)

10 pm
Grand Atlantic @ Clinton's (rock)

Video: Grand Atlantic - "She's A Dreamer" (music video)

10 pm
The Slate Pacific @ Painted Lady (indie, rock)

MySpace: The Slate Pacific
Video: The Slate Pacific - "Eccentrics" (live @ Capital Bar, April 2009)

10:30 pm
Neon Indian @ Lee's Palace (electro, pop)

Audio: Neon Indian - "Deadbeat Summer"

11 pm
Everything All The Time @ Sneaky Dee's (indie, electro, rock)

Video: Everything All The Time - "Start Stop" (live @ Drake Underground, Oct 23 2009)

11 pm
Ghostkeeper @ Bread & Circus (indie, rock, pop)

Video: Ghostkeeper @ No.1 Legion, Sled Island Festival 2009

11 pm
Hooded Fang @ Drake (indie, pop)

Video: Hooded Fang - "Land of Giants" (live on Qtv, 2009)

11 pm
Timbre Timbre @ Great Hall (folk, blues)

MySpace: Timbre Timbre
Video: Timber Timbre - "We'll Find Out" (music video)

11 pm
Fields of Fur @ Garrison (indie, guitar-rock)

11 pm
The D'Arcys @ El Mocambo (indie, rock, shoegaze)

MySpace: The Darcys
Video: The Darcys - "Strange Fits" (acoustic)

11 pm
Sydney Wayser @ Painted Lady (indie, folk, experimental)

MySpace: Sydney Wayser
Video: Sydney Wayser - "Lullaby" (music video)

11:30 pm
Little Dragon @ Lee's Palace (electro, soul)

MySpace: Little Dragon
Video: Little Dragon - "Constant Surprises" (music video)

12 am
Hey Marseilles @ Clinton's (indie, folk, pop)

MySpace: Hey Marseilles
Video: Hey Marseilles - "Rio" (Live on KEXP)

12 am
Parlovr @ Sneaky Dee's (indie, rock)

Video: Parlovr | M for Montreal |11.20.2009 (live)

12 am
Cadence Weapon @ Garrison (hip hop, rap)

MySpace: Cadence Weapon
Video: Cadence Weapon - "Black Hand" (music video)

1 am
And So I Watch You From Afar @ Hideout (alternative, rock, instrumental)

Video: And So I Watch You From Afar - "Set Guitars to Kill"

1 am
Little Foot Long Foot @ Central (rock, blues, country)

Video: Little Foot Long Foot - "King Hipster" (music video)

1:30 am
Rich Aucoin @ Lee's Palace (indie, experimental, pop)

MySpace: Rich Aucoin
Video: Rich Aucoin - Behold The Lamb (Live @ The Music Room, July 4, 2008)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Concert Announcements & Music News (March 7, 2010)

Flaming Lips / Dark Side Of The Moon
  photo from BAM's Blog

Starting tomorrow hopefully, I'll be posting some Canadian Musicfest previews. Right now I'm taking a break from watching the Oscar's so I'll take the time to clear out some music news and linkage.

Ted Leo + Pharmacists' new album entitled "The Brutalist Bricks" out on Matador Records on March 9 is currently streaming out the band's MySpace. No Toronto dates at the moment but the band are touring the US, kicking it off in Brooklyn on the album's release date then heading west before swinging back east in April. Ted and band performed a live in studio set for Spinner's Interface:

Video: Ted Leo + Pharmacists (live on The Interface -

Caribou will release their new album "Swim" on April 20 (April 19 internationally) and will be heavily touring the album in Europe and North America from April through to June. Caribou play the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on May 3. (via Pitchfork). "Odessa" is the first single from the new album:

Audio: Caribou - "Odessa"

We haven't seen The Flaming Lips around these parts since 2006 since they'd played an 'intimate' show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in April 2006 (which I unfortunately wasn't at), and then played an aborted set at the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands in September (which I was at but of course was disappointed that their set got cut short due to delays throughout the day which led to the Lips' set running into the Island's 11 pm curfew). Originally the current crop of tour dates listed a July 22 date at ArtPark in Lewiston, NY which is a hop, skip and a jump down the road from Toronto, but now that date seems to have disappeared.(Although if you go to NME, you'll see the Lewiston date was listed.) I've read some mutterings about the Lips perhaps playing the planned Imagine Music & Arts Concert at Downsview Park taking place July 10-11 although if that does materialize it might just be the Lips' performing a set of their cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon", which really wouldn't be a bad thing actually.

Video: The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and the White Dwarfs - "Breathe" (Pink Floyd cover)

Daniel, Fred & Julie, the collaborative project featuring Daniel Romano of Attack in Black, Fred Squire of Calm Down It's Monday, and the Julie being Ms. Julie Doiron, will be performing a set of their contemplative folk tunes at the Horseshoe on April 15, tickets $12 or $15 at the door. Tickets onsale March 10 at 10 am EST. Via Collective Concerts.

Toronto is really almost a second home for Australian indie rock duo An Horse which is fine by me as the band will be returning for a show on April 26, this time at The Garrison. The band's really hitting the road hard through to August. Tour dates at their MySpace.

The Weakerthans/Bahamas bill at Queen Elizabeth Theatre MAY have turned into a two-night stint, because in addition to the already announced May 26 date, a May 27 date is currently listed on I haven't found confirmation of the May 27 date yet so keep your ears peeled.

Los Angeles' Nosaj Thing (who remixed The xx's "islands" and which can be heard at Nosaj Thing's MySpace or be downloaded at Stereogum) opens for The xx and jj at the way-sold-out show at Phoenix Concert Theatre on April 4.

Finally, in the midst of this Oscars Weekend and my thoughts of this coming week's Canadian Music Week, it's with sadness to find out that Sparklehorse's Mark Linous committed suicide. At most I was only a casual listener of his music, having plucked out his debut CD "vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot" from a clearance bin in the mid to late 90's and only picking up his 2001 album "It's a Wonderful Life" within the last five years. It's sad that it takes the passing of an artist, to realize who we've lost.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Concert Announcements / Music News (March 2, 2010)

Massive Attack - Angel
  Massive Attack - "Angel"

With the Vancouver Olympics now but a memory (it's gawdy closing ceremonies and all, Neil Young's performance of "Long May You Run" being the lone highlight for me), there's a lot of other musical things on the horizon.

The Canadian Musicfest schedule quietly went up recently and with the festival coming up next week, I do have some planning to do. I have a shortlist of acts, mostly unknowns, that I hope to post about next week prior to the festival beginning.

One of the highlights could be Toronto's Fucked Up who'll be playing at the El Mocambo on March 10. Egad, that'll sure be intense.

But more interestingly, at least for me, are the number of veteran acts coming to Toronto. News about newer 'veterans' like Pavement (@ Olympic Island on June 19) and older ones like The Specials (@ Sound Academy on April 19) have already been announced. More recently, UK (and let's don't call 'em trip hop anymore) act Massive Attack have announced some select North American dates including two in Toronto at Sound Academy on May 7 and May 9, this being to promote their new album "Heligoland" out now.

Video: Massive Attack - "Splitting The Atom" (music video)

And as bonus, one of my favourite music videos of all time:

Video: Massive Attack - "Angel" (music video)

Another act, although one I'd only ever explored casually, UK's Public Image Ltd will bring their tour to Toronto at Kool Haus on May 7.

Also jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon (and no there's nothing wrong with that) are Echo and Bunnymen who'll return sans orchestra for a show at the Phoenix on April 23.

The Weakerthans, with openers Toronto's Bahamas, will be at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 26. Licensed/All-ages show, Tickets $35.00 advance, $40.00 @ the door. Tickets go onsale March 4 at 10 am EST. The band will currently be promoting their new live DVD/CD "Live at the Burton Cummings Theater" due for release on March 23.

Led by Art Brut's Eddie Argos, his curiously named side project Everybody Was In The French Resistance.....Now! bring their skewed pop to Toronto for a show at the El Mocambo on May 8. 19+ show, tickets $10.00 advance, $12.00 @ the door and go onsale March 4 at 10 am EST.

Charlottetown boys Two Hours Traffic can't seem to get enough of Toronto as soonafter making an appearance at this year's Canadian Musicfest at the Horseshoe on March 13 and then going to SXSW, they'll return to headline Lee's Palace on April 3. Other Ontario dates are posted at their MySpace.

Toronto electro-soul outfit Pants & Tie will open the Hot Chip and The xx show at Kool Haus on April 20 (via The Windish Agency).

An American indie triple bill with The Soft Pack, Beaters, and Male Bonding stops at the El Mocambo on April 7.

Things get LOUD at Lee's Palace on May 26 with Scotland's The Twilight Sad and Tokyo's Mono.

Montreal's Silver Mt. Zion play Lee's Palace on May 29.

AUX reports that Toronto electro-soul rock act Thunderheist are no more having apparently posted the news on their Facebook page. So far the band only have some US west coast and British Columbia dates lined up in June, but I'll be surprised if they don't also arrange a hometown Toronto farewell show sometime.

And thanks to Melody for bringing this news to my attention: Chartattack are moving out of their offices at 34 Britain St. in Toronto and will be moving uptown on March 8. Ok, that's not the news. The REAL news is that they're GIVING AWAY FOR FREE back issues(yes, the paper ones) of Chart Magazine as well as various other goodies like old archive CDs, DVDs, reference books and random promotional items. It's first comem first serve and they'll be open from 10 a.m. and 6 p.m from now until March 4. I hope to head down to this tomorrow after work. If I do make it, I'll be sure to bring an environmentally-friendly, reusable bag to haul away anything I can get my hands on. Like I need more stuff. But then again, it's free stuff.