Thursday, March 31, 2005

Say Something New

The ConcretesThe next Concretes album is planned for release in February 2006 according to a news update at the band's website. For the uninitiated, download some mp3's from the band's self-titled first album here[kinda slow, but hey it's free...and oh, it's a russian site]. [photo from http://../]

Swedish indiepop-sters, Sambassadeur will perform a live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe on April 8th. [The live sessions usually begin around the 20:40:00 mark(about 8:40 London, England time or about 2:40 Eastern Standard Time). Or else the shows are usually archived for a week.]

Teenage Fanclub performed today on BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe program, performing the nice country-ish "It's All In My Mind", the first track off the band's upcoming CD "Man-Made", and "Save", a more sombre-sounding countryish tune, also off the new CD. Listen here[around the 20:40:00 mark, and the show's only archived for a week].

The Guardian Unlimited discusses the recent trend of artists covering other artists recent songs, specifically mentioning a new album called "Cosmosonica", 'an eclectic collection of exotic and unexpected cover versions' which will be released next month. Other covers on the album include Snow Patrol's version of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" and Razorlight's reworking of Outkast's "Hey Ya".

Download the mp3 hip-hop mix "Everyday Wordplay". This is the same mix included on the CD that they were giving away at the last Dynamite Soul night(the one Republic of Safety played) in Toronto...the one which I had picked up, put in my jacket pocket, but which had fallen out of my pocket by the time I got back to my car that night. As I had remembered reading on the CD cover, it is a hip hop mix featuring some mid-90's hip hop....y'know when hip hop was still good. [download link found via 20hz]

Aversion talks to The Decemberists.

Prefix interviews Death From Above 1979.

So apparently N.E.R.D. hasn't broken up. [from NME]

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Crystal Days

Echo and The BunnymenEcho and The Bunnymen will play some select live dates in May as follows[info from the band website]:

-> 12th May Theatre Of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA
-> 13th May The Chameleon Club Lancaster, PA
-> 14th May WHFS Radio Festival Baltimore,
-> 26th May Springloaded Festival Turo, Cornwall
-> 28th May Primavera Festival Barcelona, Spain

I'm still trying to figure out how Pennsylvania[U.S.] gets two live dates and Canada gets none.[photo from http://../]

Lollapalooza will be back this summer for a single event to take place over two days at Chicago’s Grant Park on July 23 and 24. The complete lineup will be released in 3 weeks. [info from chartattack]

Manda of Data Panik(the band who used to be Bis) posted a photoset at Flickr for your viewing pleasure. The photos are ones Manda has collected over the last 10 years and she'll be adding more photos in the future. [link from]

LCD Soundsystem and M.I.A. will be going on tour very soon and will be coming to Toronto for a show at The Opera House on May 21st. [from Pitchfork]

silence is a rhythm too, an mp3 blog, has mp3's of Royksopp's mix of "Still Missing You" and Boards Of Canada's mix of "Broken Drum" for your downloading pleasure, which are both songs off of the deluxe edition of Beck's new album "Guero"(which I still haven't gotten around to purchasing). Can anyone vouch for the worthiness of the deluxe edition of "Guero"?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Back on The Chain Gang

I'd like to rant for a moment about the inconsistent pricing between downtown vs. suburban music stores. As a suburban dweller, I've done my best to support the local HMV's, Music World's, and Sunrise Records in my area, since I think that'd contribute to supporting the local economy and the employment it creates. I just realized they shut down one of the local Sunrise Records which likely closed due to insufficient profit margins. God knows how many times I went there and found the pricing ridiculously high. The fact is I work in downtown Toronto, where Sam The Record Man and the flagship HMV and Sunrise Records stores are just down the street from me, so it's really tempting to just go there. HMV and Sam The Record Man were both selling the new Beck CD "Guero" for $11.99, but then I made the conscious decision to try to buy it back in the 'burbs at my local mall this evening only to find it priced at $15.99. That's just ridiculous. I'm assuming that the downtown stores sometimes price lower in order to lure consumers downtown, but then how are suburban outlets suppose to survive with such pricing. I can understand that the downtown stores have a usefulness with regards to selection, given their larger physical space, but damn, if a suburban store sells a CD that the downtown store also has, why can't they price it the same. I'm tempted to just go to Futureshop and pick "Guero" up for $12.99(or the special edition of "Guero" for $31.99).

Persistence pays off for once; I managed to snag a ticket today through for Kathleen Edwards at The Mod Club on April 7th, a show which had only yesterday been sold out at Rotate This, Sonic Temple and Ticketmaster. With all the convenience charges/taxes, I ended up paying about $25.00 through Ticketmaster for a ticket which would have likely only cost me $15.00(plus $1 fee) at Rotate This. Ah screw it, I'm just happy I got a ticket. BTW, it's completely slipped my attention that Kathleen's website been given a brand new 'do...according to the site you can view here video for "Back To Me" over at

The next batch of Wavelength lineups(for April 2005) are now up. And the one and only Lisa Marr ex of Cub will be there on April 10th. ...I really got to make it out to at least one Wavelength show and this may be it. Anyone remember cuddlecore, or as I like to refer to it(to borrow a term from Ben Folds), punk rock for sissies? ;-) [thanks to a a post at 20hz for the heads up]

To continue the 90's Canadian indiepop thread, The Catbirdseat reports on Sparrow's new record called "The Early Years" which'll be released on Absolutely Kosher. Catbirdseat also has an mp3 of a Sparrow song. See his post dated March 29th, 2005. By the way, Sparrow is the band formed by Jason Zumpano, ex of Vancouver pure pop afficianados, Zumpano. For more info and mp3's check out the band site.

Aeki Tuesday posts an mp3 of a new Postal Service remix of Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue" which will be included on the upcoming Verve Remixed 3 project.

If you thought The Tofu Hut's post on Feist was amazing, check out Between thought and expression's post on the grime scene including links to related articles and links to mp3's of songs by M.I.A., Diplo, Dizze Rascal and Canadian rapper Kardinal Official(or is it Offishall?).

The Arcade Fire make the cover of the Canadian edition of Time Magazine! You can read the accompanying story here. [info from chromewaves(via course I'm probably the zillionth person to have linked to this]

And some new Toronto concert dates for some bands I haven't heard of but have interesting names[tour dates from Kork]:

-> Comets on Fire, June 19th, Lee's Palace
-> Gang Gang Dance, May 29th, venue TBA
-> Kid606(tigerbeat6 tour w/ Drop the Lime, Knifehandchop, eats tapes), Aug 4th, venue TBA

Monday, March 28, 2005

Do You Realize

The Flaming Lips at 2004 Coachella festivalTahiti 80 will be guests of Laurent Lavige today on Radio France Inter's Ondes de choc at 23:30(which I'd assume is Paris time, converting to 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time). Listen here. [info from band site]

New York City folk continue to prove why they live in the BEST city in the world(at least some of the time): catherine's pita(blog post 25-03-2005), daily refill dot com, and brooklynvegan got to see The Flaming Lips at Gotham Hall in the big apple last week. So even if it was a promo party for a car manufacturer, half-filled with celebrities and Flaming Lips fans forced to wait for hours in lineups in order to get in, it still looked amazing. [photo above of The Flaming Lips which I took at the 2004 Coachella festival]

There are a bunch of things on the horizon for Metric in the coming months, highlights of which include[info from the news update(March 28th) from the band's site]:

-> "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?’" is being released across Europe by NAÏVE. ! The album will come out April 12 in France, May 16 in Spain, April 19 in Belgium & Switzerland.
-> they'll be playing a couple shows in Vancouver on April 7 & 8 before heading to France for "Les Femmes S'en Mêlent" festival.
-> they'll be going to Tokyo to play CANADA WET! with Broken Social Scene, The Dears, Stars and Death From Above 1979.
-> on June 2 they’ve been invited by "Clean" director Olivier Assayas to play his event at the Art Rock festival in St-Brieuc, France.
- when they get back to Canada in mid-June they’ll be finishing up the new record and making the video for "The List".

David Gedge of The Wedding Present and Cinerama lists the "Music You Should Hear" over at [link from Largehearted Boy]

Beck and his band will be performing songs from the new album "Guero" appearing on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic on March 31/05 at 11:15 PST(2:15 EST).

BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe will be hosting some stellar live sessions this week with Kristin Hersh(March 29th) and Teenage Fanclub(March 30th). The live sessions usually begin around the 20:40:00 mark(about 8:40 London, England time or about 2:40 Eastern Standard Time). Or else the shows are usually archived for a week.

Shout out to Mishie of the super-terrific blog The Tear That Hangs Inside My Soul Forever
which was mentioned in the recent issue of Eye[see the piece on Coldplay]. Unfortunately, they didn't provide a link to her site. Make up for that oversight and go check out her blog. Now.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

We've Got To Meet

concert review: The Organ w/ Sailboats Are White, Deviance @ The Underground(Hamilton, Ontario), March 25, 2005

The Organ in Hamilton: photo by Mike Ligon

I missed The Organ when they played in Toronto last week. I've already bought a ticket for the Exclaim! show in Toronto which the gals will be playing later in April, but that seemed like a long time to wait. I had an itch which needed to be scratch so I decided to go check out The Organ in Hamilton yesterday evening. Having been at home all day with it being Good Friday and mostly everything closed, I was glad to get out of the house. I wasn't particulary interested in checking out the openers since I hadn't heard them so I drove off to Hamilton around quarter after 10 pm, getting there in little over half an hour. Unfortunately, I still got to Hamilton earlier than I wanted and I got to The Underground when the first band Deviance was still playing. I bought my ticket but decided to scoot out after hearing a couple of bars of Deviance's tunes. I didn't really give 'em a chance I guess, but I was way too impatient to wait for their set to end. After a little while, I got back to The Underground and caught the last couple of tunes from Sailboats are White. They had a disco punk sound that was interesting although harsher sounding than I was hoping for which prevented me from really liking it. Sometimes less is more, and uh, y'know what I mean.

Members of The Organ began setting up their gear while vocalist Katie Sketch minded the merch table. I sauntered on over checked out some of the merch, said hello to Katie and asked her about the show they played in Toronto[Strut Magazine party at Church at Berkeley] last week. If I remember correctly, she said it was "strange". I bought their EP and a button while I was at the table. Damn, I wished I had asked her about them touring with The Wedding Present in the near future. She's really nice so I'd suggest saying "hi" to her(and the rest of the band) next time they roll through your town.

After a few more adjustments on stage here and there(including Katie testing the drumkit and falling off the stool), the band was ready. The band pretty much steamrolled through a majority of the songs off their CD "Grab That Gun", with nary a word to the audience other than to say "thanks". I wasn't too disappointed with the lack of stage banter. The songs were sounding fine. I'm really impressed with how melodically solid their songs are, especially on the punctuated guitar sound of "Brother" and the dreamy "Memorize The City". The sound level in the club for the instruments was adequate, but the vocals seemed a little too low in the mix for my liking. The only disappointment was that their set seemed to be over so fast, but that would have to be expected since they only have one album and one EP. They ended their set with a nice tune which was unknown to me at the time; at the merch table after their set I asked Katie and she said it was on the EP. Later on I found out the song was called "It's Time To Go". A conveniently-titled set closer if I've ever heard one. How cheeky girls. A smattering of applause convinced the girls to come up for an encore prompting Katie to ask the audience what they wanted to hear. Some dude yelled out "In A Godda Da Vida". Ha ha. The girls played one of their own tunes instead, thankfully. I'm looking forward to their show in Toronto later this April. [photos]

On March 28th, Camera Obscura will be live in session on the Air Show on BBC Radio Scotland with Guest Presenter and Scotland Football Legend Pat Nevin from 8-10pm, which if I've converted correctly is 3-6pm Eastern Standard Time. Tune in here to listen in.

An ad in the recent issue of NOW says that The New Deal will be in Toronto at The Mod Club on June 3rd. Ticket info TBA.

Good news! Amy of I Am The World Trade Center is in remission and has decided get back to touring. IATWTC will play some live dates in the U.S. during April and May. The dates in May will be with Of Montreal. I wonder if the Over The Top Fest Pre-Party on April 23rd will include IATWTC; the Over The Top Fest website has scheduled, Of Montreal, Better Than Everyone + guest. Guest? Hmmmm. We will see.

Friday, March 25, 2005

This is Radio Free Yo La Tengo

Yo La TengoA one-hour streaming broadcast interview of Yo La Tengo by Tom Scharpling of WFMU, dubbed "Radio Free Yo La Tengo", is available at In the future, it will be available as a podcast downloadable from the Matador Records site and various podcast sites. [info from Matador Records][photo from http://../]

Between thought and expression has a link to which has a download(mp3 format - 14 tracks) of the Ryan Adams/Gillian Welch/David Rawlings "The Destroyer Sessions".

So while Tahiti 80's new website is still in construction, they do have their forum up and running.

Beck discusses his new album "Guero" track by track over at Xfm. The new album comes out on March 29th in Canada. I saw an ad in NOW that the downtown Toronto Sam The Record Man will be selling the new album for $11.99, and that the special edition of the album will also be specially priced. Sweet.

Brooklynvegan has a nice review(w/ photos) of Feist's March 22, 2005 show at Joe's Pub in New York City. Brooklynvegan also points to The Tofu Hut who's taken the time to compile a biography of Feist's career including links to Feist audio(MP3/streaming), some you've heard likely and some which may be new to you.

I'm hoping for a small club tour in North America for The La's. Largehearted Boy says the band's announced three British tour dates. Hey, it's a start.

I didn't end up going to Strut Magazine's 2nd anniversary shin-dig this past Tuesday at Church at Berkeley in Toronto which featured Juliette and The Licks and The Organ. I was really interested in seeing The Organ. A post at 20hz points towards sabrinski's site who has a review and photos of The Organ's set from that night. I kinda wish I went now, but I wasn't sure of the set times or if I had to be on a guest list or something. It turned out to be mostly an industry party from what I read. I do have a chance to check out The Organ tonight in Hamilton though.

With all the concerts coming up in the next couple of months, I really got to start a sidebar or something to keep track of which tickets I've bought and still need to buy. The next two months are going to be FUN!

Update[2:32 pm]: You can download(courtesy of GeekDreams) high-quality mp3's of Fiona Apple's new album "Extraordinary Machine" which her record label refuses to release for lack of a 'hit single'. Morons. The Free Fiona campaign continues. [download link via thingstodowithjello via Technorati]

Update[7:03 pm]: A torrent of "Extraordinary Machine"(CD quality, lossless formatmp3) is available for download here. [download link via Vbe=Vb-Ve via Technorati]

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

At the heart of a travelling band

  • Some more confirmed upcoming Toronto shows courtesy of rootmeansquare:

    - Album Leaf w/ Tarantula @ Horseshoe Tavern, April 4, $8.00
    - Radar Bros. w/ Postage Stamps @ Horseshoe Tavern, April 18, $8.00 [stream the new Radar Bros. album over at Merge Records]
    - Stereo Total, Les Georges Leningrad, Da Hawney Troof @ Lee's Palace, May 15, $13.00
    - Sam Prekop @ Horseshoe Tavern, May 28, $12.00
    - Electrelane w/ Scout Niblett @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 8, $10.00
    - Juana Molina @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 12, $15.00

  • The New Pornographers will be coming out of hiding to play a few select live dates as follows(unfortunately, no Canadian dates yet)[info from]:

    Fri 6/24/05 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club
    Sat 6/25/05 Brooklyn, NY Celebrate Brooklyn
    Sun 6/26/05 Northampton, MA Pearl Street Nightclub

  • little radio is offering a free CD sampler featuring songs from artists including Calla, Castenets, Pinback, Earlimart, Feist, Apostle of Hustle and more. If you'd like a copy send your address to In the meantime check out their online radio programs. Really good stuff.

  • Between thought and expression has a link to an electro/house remix of The Killers "Somebody Told Me".

  • Martha Wainwright will be at The Drake Hotel in Toronto on April 19th.

  • Rilo Kiley will be at Lee's Palace on May 19th. Tickets $13.50.

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    Keep Fishin'

    WeezerHouse of Blues is working overtime. Next presale they've got going is for Weezer who'll be playing Kool Haus on Friday May 6th. The presale will take place tomorrow at 10 am. Public onsale is Saturday March 26th at 10 am. Tickets are $37.50 and its all-ages. Download an mp3(actually mp3 encoded audio of a radio broadcast) of Weezer's first single "Beverly Hills". Sounds like a radio friendly version of Wowee-Zowee-era Pavement. Is it good? I say it's alright but it's nothing close to classic Weezer. [photo from http://../]

    Check out the second instalment of Aeki Tuesday's Not So Mini Mix, downloadable in mp3 format.

    Apostle of Hustle and Wintersleep will be at The Drake Hotel on my birthday, May 8th. [info from SHOT]

    And speaking of May 8th, the Over The Top Fest now has a scheduled lineup for that date which includes Japanther, Republic of Safety, Femme Generation, and Dreamcatcher. Venue is still TBA.

    There's a New Order Special Edition Ipod. How cool. No really. [info from melodynelson]

    John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats lists his 20 favorite records at Also, during a web search, I stumbled upon this page which contains a good number of Mountain Goats live sessions available for download in mp3 format.

    chartattack, specifically SHOT's Brian Wong, writes that Kings of Convenience profess their love for Feist.

    If a trip across the pond isn't out of the question financially or logistically you might want to check out Xfm's 2005 online music festival guide featuring all those music festivals(mostly in the UK) which put North America to shame. Yes to shame.

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    In Search Of ...

    N.E.R.D.N.E.R.D. have called it quits due to a dispute with its record label, Virgin Records. What a disappointment. I did check 'em out with my brother live when they played in Toronto during the summer of 2004. And going into that show with only a passing familiarity with their music I was surprised how much I liked their music. They crossed and mixed many musical genres from rock, hip-hop, r'n'b, with just a touch of punk attitude. Really amazing. And really beautiful to see indie kids, hip hop fans and rock fans agree on something. [news from Pitchfork] [photo from http://../]

    Dan Burke announces over at 20hz the lineup for The 2nd Annual Crucifying Live Easter Tribute to The Jesus & Mary Chain this Thursday, March 24 at The Silver Dollar in Toronto.

    Kasabian's coming back to Toronto to play the Phoenix on May 20th, doors 6 pm, show 6:45 pm, 19+, tickets $20.00, on sale March 24th. [info from 20hz (not yet showing on]

    Doves will perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tomorrow night, March 22nd. By the way, the presale for Doves' show at Kool Haus in Toronto in May begins tomorrow at 10 am over at House of Blues. Otherwise, the public sale begins on March 24th at 10 am Ticketmaster and other vendors.

    Also starting tomorrow at 10 am, House of Blues will also have a presale for The Killers who'll be performing with openers Tegan and Sara at The Molson Ampitheatre on May 31st. Tickets are $32.50 and $45.00 CDN. The HOB presale ends Saturday March 28th at 12 am and the public on-sale begins March 28th at 10 am. ... my jaw's still on the ground that The Killers are playing The Molson Amphitheatre.

    And a reminder again that, The Dears will perform on Last Call with Carson Daly tomorrow night as well.

    A couple of Morning Becomes Eclectic sessions are coming up this week featuring some worthy Canadian music acts including Stars on March 23rd and Kathleen Edwards on March 24th. Morning Becomes Eclectic airs at 11:15 PST which is 2:15 EST. Oh, and Bloc Party will perform on the program tomorrow y'all.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Between The Lines

    SambassadeurOver the weekend I picked up concert tickets at Rotate This for Snow Patrol and Joe Pernice. While I was there, I also picked up Swedish band, The Concretes self-titled disc which they were selling new for a nice $9.99. I've been listening to it all day and it's a spectacular pop record that I wish I'd discovered sooner.

    Speaking of Swedish bands, I've been checking out song samples on the 'net of artists on Sweden's Labrador record label. Currently, the only band on the label of which I have a CD is Club 8, a duo who perform delectably gorgeous girl/boy indiepop. I've read and heard good things about The Radio Dept. but have yet to leap into any purchases. Two bands that the label has signed recently are Sambassadeur and South Ambulance.

    Download Sambassadeur mp3's here[under media].
    Download South Ambulance's "Die 5 times times 5" here, and other mp3's here.

    Sambassadeur's song "Between The Lines" is filled with gorgeous female vocals, lovely background vocals and delicate indiepop instrumentation. On the other end of the indiepop spectrum are South Ambulance whose first single "Die 5 times times 5" is a throwback to c86 style indiepop, with it's ringing guitars, melodic vocals and energetic percussion. Just when I thought that indiepop had run its course[amateurism can only go so far], I'm quite glad to find that there's talented bands to carry on the tradition. [photo from http://../]

    The La's will reform for the Summer Sonic Festival which takes place in Tokyo on August 13th and 14th. [from XFM] A look at the Summer Sonic Festival website also shows that The Arcade Fire will also be performing. Anyone in the mood for a trip to Japan?

    The new issue of Sponic Zine(issue #21) is now online, and includes feature articles on Lou Barlow and Bob Mould.

    It's come to my attention through a concert recommendation in the recent issue of NOW that Juliette and The Licks[which features actress Juliette Lewis on lead vocals...yes, really), and The Organ will be performing this Tuesday March 22nd at Church at Berkeley(315 Queen St. East) in Toronto as part of Montreal-based magazine Strut's 2nd anniversary. I can't find any details such as ticket prices, set times, so if anyone has any info please leave a comment. I'm only really interested in seeing The Organ, by the way.

    Friday, March 18, 2005

    Fingers Crossed

    Architecture in HelsinkiPitchfork reports that Architecture of Helsinki will be travelling to the U.S. for some live dates. The band website doesn't list any North American dates yet. So I listened to some samples over at the band site and I must say I'm definitely interested. They sound like the offspring of Belle and Sebastian sometimes and other times have a slight electronic tinge. The Australian band consists of eight members and man do I love large bands. Their second album comes out April 12th on Bar/None Records. I'm crossing my fingers that they swing through Toronto because I'd be so there. [photo from http://../]

    CKLN 88.1 FM's Wired For Sound will be broadcasting the French Kicks' show at the Horsehoe in Toronto, recorded a couple of weeks ago. Listen in online at @ 12 am EST tomorrow, March 20th. Of course, if you're in Toronto, tune in to 88.1 on your FM dial.

    Damn, I hope something like this happens at the April 28th Arcade Fire show at Danforth Musical Hall(in Toronto) that I'll be going to.

    Hey, the Lollapalooza site says to come back April 1st. Good news, I'm assuming.

    the oh so quiet show has some cool SXSW-related links for those of you(such as myself) unlucky to be there.

    And Splendid is doing an awesome job of covering SXSW! Check out their daily coverage, including photos!

    Check out this fun mp3 of The Raveonettes covering "My Boyfriend's Back". [link via rocksnob(see 18/03/2005 post) via The Mystical Beast]

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive

    review: Hood w/ Under Heaven @ The Drake Hotel(Toronto, Ontario), Tuesday March 15, 2005

    Hood: photo by Mike LigonAs I was already downtown yesterday, I decided to check out the Hood/Under Heaven show at The Drake Hotel. I walked in when Under Heaven had already taken the stage. Their music is all swirling, ambient, guitar soundscapes with keyboards, violin and minimal use of vocal sounds. Melody was non-existent but the music was strangely hypnotic. On a sidenote, I am bewildered that the band chose to perform while a Disney film was being projected behind them. Even more confusing was the fact that the projection screened hadn't been pulled down.(although this thankfully had been remedied by the time headliners Hood took the stage as Hood's set featured some lovely colourful screen projections)

    Hood took the stage promptly around 11 pm. The band consisted of four young gentlemen, which is all the more surprising to learn that the band has material dating back to the mid 1990's. There were some nice keyboard arrangements but I was impressed with the ferocity of the drumming the most. One song featured an interesting funky sampled loop prompting comparisons to Junior Boys in my opinion. For the most part, Hood played their brand of moody modern rock songs. I've read about the band being compared to later period Radiohead, and I guess in some senses that rang true as Hood's music is for the most part accessible but at the same time thoughtfully challenging. ...check out a wealth of mp3's of Hood's music here.[photos]

    Erasure will be at Massey Hall on June 4th. [from feedback monitor]

    British Sea Power(May 17th @ Lee's Palace) and Deerhoof(May 18th @ Lee's Palace) tickets($13.50 and $10 respectively) are listed as on sale at Rotate This.

    Check out Toronto music-based webzine The Ratio. [link from 20hz]

    The Hootenanny Tour featuring Carolyn Mark, Luther Wright, Jenny Whiteley, and Oh Susanna hits the road on March 31st with stops in Quebec and Ontario. The tour hits Toronto on April 8th with a show at the Tranzac Club. [info from Mint Records]

    Death From Above 1979 have hit the road again. They'll make stops in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. They'll be in Hamilton, ON at The Underground for two shows, April 20th and 21st. As far as I know, they'll be playing most, if not all, shows with controller.controller. [tour info from the band site]

    If you missed Death From Above 1979's appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on March 11th, you can download a video(low-quality unfortunately). [note for downloading video: (scroll to bottom, click "free," then wait a moment and the download link will appear)] [link from 20hz]

    The Dears will perform on Last Call with Carson Daly on March 22nd.

    Kathleen Edwards will be on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on March 23rd.

    Tegan and Sara will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 23rd.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    Heavy Songs

    concert review: Shonen Knife w/ The Leather Uppers @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), Saturday March 12, 2005

    Shonen KnifeThe honour of the first band I ever mentioned on my blog goes to Shonen Knife. The last time I had seen the gals was in October 2003 at the Horseshoe Tavern who were promoting their just released new album "Heavy Songs" . My 'review' of that show was little more than me saying they 'rocked' and a year and four months later, they've returned to Toronto to bring the 'rock'(with a good dose of pop) once more. Sisters, and Shonen Knife founding members Naoko and Atsuko Yamano, were back to continue the mission, along with new and totally adorable drummer(pigtails and all), Ettchan. This current tour was to promote the reissue of their first four albums and the band mentioned that they also have a new Japan-only release coming out(with no current plans to release it in North America; boo).

    Surprise, surprise, the mighty Leather Uppers were the openers. I didn't know who the openers were going to be, so when I walked into Lee's Palace and found out The Leather Uppers were the openers I was glad because I'd never had the chance to see them live before. Actually, I'd never even heard their music before that. I'd heard their name floating around from way back in the 90's, and seeing them now, they weren't quite as I would have imagined. Firstly, I never thought they were a duo. Secondly, they were quite younger looking than I imagined. I guess they were only in their early 20's when they formed in the early 90's because they looked like they were only in the early-to-mid thirties at most. However, my assumption that they were a garage rock band was quite correct. The duo played their brand of crunchy garage rock tunes which reminded me alot of The Hives. Things started to sound a litte samey after a full set but I gotta give 'em props for their energy. And the matching striped dress shirts were a nice touch. Y'know looking the part is half the battle.

    With the sound of what I believed was traditional Japanese folk music in the background, Shonen Knife finally took the stage around midnight. Taking the kitsch level up a notch, they wore matching 70's style polyester outfits. Along for this tour was new drummer, Ettchan, who looked like she was in her twenties and was adorable looking in her pigtails. Watching Ettchan pound away at her drumkit(and competently at that) was really fun to watch. Naoko(on guitar) and Atsuko(on bass guitar) alternated lead vocal duties on different songs. Their sound hinted at a variety of influences from The Ramones, to power-pop, to metal cliches and sixties pop. I've always found their song themes quite a lark. What other band could sing songs about spam e-mail("Spam"), being bad at directions("Map Master"), the wonderment of the elastic band("Rubber Band"), and banana chips("Banana Chips"). Throw in a cover of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" and the audience was downright giddy with excitement. I can't remember the last time I went to a concert and people were actually slam dancing. Ok, maybe I've never been to a concert where people were slam dancing, but during "I Wanna Be Sedated" a group of dudes took on the task, while everyone else just tried to stay out of harm's way. It was fun to watch for a minute or two but I think most of us were just too old for that shit. Later on in the set, the girls broke out the heavy metal cliche hand salutes and accompanying power chord strums, prompting the audience to raise their hands and return the salute. The girls had a good amount of showmanship and I loved it when they broke into their heavy metal guitar poses. Not much else I can say except go check out the girls if they come to your town or a town near you. Guaranteed for a good time every time. [photos]

    Brooklynvegan has a tasty mp3 of Bright Eyes covering Feist's "Mushaboom". Also from Brooklynvegan are photos of Stars' show on March 8th at New York City's Mercury Lounge.

    Also, check out some live Feist this Thursday afternoon from SXSW. Listen in at, and check out that site for the full Thursday schedule.[link from arts & crafts Broken Telephone forum]

    The Herbaliser, with openers Bonobo, will be coming to Toronto for a gig on June 30th at The Opera House. Tickets TBA. A week later the "Beats, Breaks & Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival" will make its 2nd annual appearance at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre and the best thing of all is it's free! Last year's festival introduced me to Junior Boys. Details for this year's festival are still TBA. [from feedback monitor]

    Saturday, March 12, 2005


    review:Margaret Cho w/ Bruce Daniels @ Massey Hall(Toronto, Ontario), Thursday March 10, 2005

    Margaret ChoI'd been tempted to finally getting around to see Margaret Cho live on this tour which she's dubbed "Assassins". As usual, the day of the show came around and I still hadn't bought a ticket. However, after reading an article about Ms. Cho in the recent issue of eye(also featuring a cover photo of her) which came out that morning, I decided to scoot on over to the Massey Hall box office to purchase a ticket. I would not consider myself a rabid fan, but I've always respected and enjoyed her irreverent humour. Hard for me to believe, but this was the first time EVER I'd be seeing a stand-up comedian live. Having seen bits of Ms. Cho's concert films, I was going into this show with fairly high expectations.

    Opening her show was openly gay comedian Bruce Daniels. Physically, he's a regular sort of hipster-looking black dude. As might be expected, it was a very homo-centric set of material. As he said, he was one of those gays not interested in 'pride days' and such. But rather than the stereotypical flamboyant gayness that gets exploited in the media, Mr Daniel was quite the opposite. He performed for about 20 minutes to half an hour and had the audience in stitches.

    Without an intermission, at the end of Bruce's set, he grabbed the mic for a grand introduction for Margaret Cho. If I remember correctly, she was dressed in a torquoise sort-of peasant top and blue stretch-jeans, with her hair cut casually shorter than I usually have seen her with. I'd say she's looking pretty good these days(if you're in Toronto check out the photos of her in the recent issue of eye) these days, but considering her noticeable weight loss, I could still tell from some of her comedic material that her weight was still an issue. We've all got our insecurites and one of the admirable things about Ms. Cho is she isn't afraid of being honest with hers. Her material was pretty much all over the place, jumping from casual issues(eg. the absurdity of Posh spice), to sexual politics, to cultural observations(eg. differences between the U.S., British, and Canadian media), to topical events(eg.the recent Canadian news story about the dude who set himself on fire), to friends and family(of course impressions of her mom!), to specific issues like gay rights, and finally to quite a bit of George Bush bashing. Margaret was consistenly funny and biting, if not hilarious at times, but I think in certain ways didn't hit the comedic peaks she previously did on past tours. Maybe it has to do with the fact that on previous tours Margaret was quite open about the dark and depressing elements in her life that provided the motivation for much of her turnaround at the time. From such dark places, her subsequent tours became much more of a cathartic experience. This time around she seems much more happier in her life, which I think's resulted in less of an emphasis on material dealing with herself and more dealing with everything else. Margaret still has a bite, but now it's a little different than before. And of course, Margaret on a bad day(if there ever was a possibility), is still ten times better than most comedians on their good days. Margaret, you rock. [photo credit: Austin Young]

    I tried to get into The Inbreds show at Lee's Palace yesterday but it was all sold out
    so I headed over to the El Mocambo(upstairs) to check out Republic of Safety with special guest Jens Lekman. Upstairs at the El Mocambo was nice as I'd never been there before. The band was playing as part of Dynamite Soul which is a hip-hop night from what I could hear the DJ spinning. Dynamite Soul was giving away free hip-hop mix CD's at the door but the one I put in my coat pocket fell out before the end of the night. :-( Mr. Lekman only provided some vocals on a couple of songs which was a disappointment for some(such as myself) who were hoping for some of his own material. However, it was Republic of Safety's night, who were playing the gig as a pre-cursor to their CD release on March 19th at Stones Place(1255 Queen St. West). The band, and the female vocalist in particular, had great energy on stage. Their music has some American post-punk influences and the hyper-kinetic speak-sing vocal style of the vocalist was really good. There was some frenetic drumming(so frenetic that it appeared that the drummer fell off his drum stool) as well as some great scratch/wiry guitar. The girl on bass guitar kept things simple, and at one point did a fierce punk vocal shout-out. The vocalist reminded me of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And they performed a decent version of The Undertones "Teenage Kicks"! It was a short set, but I'd advise you to check 'em out.

    Electrelane will begin a short US/Canada tour with a three night stint in New York City on June 2-4. The gals will be hitting Toronto on June 8th. So far venues are TBA. [info from Kork]

    Fucking May 13th Toronto date(at Kool Haus) of The Mars Volta tour sold out in 7 minutes yesterday.

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Fuzzy Logic

    The InbredsBack in the mid to late 90's, indie rock meant, for me at least, the east coast, which meant Murderecords. Of course there was Sloan but then perpetual underdogs The Inbreds crept up from behind with their two-pronged pop assault and created their own little niche amongst the Murderecords family. chartattack reports the tracklisting for Sloan's greatest hits package "A Sides Win: 1992-2005" which will be released on May 10th and will include two new tracks, "All Used Up" and "Try To Make It". A special greatest hits package is also being released and will include the 16 track CD plus a full length DVD with all 14 videos, band interviews and live performances. chartattack also has an article on The Inbreds, who will be playing a reunion show tonight at Lee's Palace. [Update: photo from http://..//]

    XL/Beggars Group are set to reissue five Super Furry Animals records that are currently out of print. On March 22nd fans of the Furries will be able to supplement their SFA collection with new pressings of "Fuzzy Logic", "Radiator", "Guerrilla", "Mwng", and "Out Spaced". [from Soul Shine Magazine ]

    Some dude named Beans, who describes himself(in his song "I'll Melt You") as "The Ornette Coleman of this rap sh*t / The link between Suicide, Sun Ra and Bambaata is Ballbeam", will be in Toronto at Lee's Palace on May 9th. My birthday's May 8th, so barring any other shows not happening around that time, I might go and check out this show.

    And possibly today or tomorrow, I may get around to a review of Margaret Cho's show yesterday at Massey Hall in Toronto. She's looking good these days[she's on the cover of the recent issue of eye] and she was hilarious yesterday. And damn does she have a potty mouth on her.

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Do Impossible Things

    Jens LekmanAccording to a post on 20hz, Jens Lekman will be joining Republic of Safety for some songs this Friday at El Mocambo as part of Dynamite Soul. On a relate note, NOW profiles the young Swede. [photo from http://../]

    The Organ will be at The Underground in Hamilton on March 25th. [from 20hz]

    Death From Above 1979 and controller.controller will be at The Underground in Hamilton on April 20th.

    The Mars Volta have just begun an extensive tour which'll take 'em to Europe then back to the States and Canada through the end of April and into May. The band will be at Kool Haus in Toronto on May 13th. [from Pitchfork]

    Rotate This is listing Ben Lee(with Har Mar Superstar) as performing at El Mocambo on April 16th. So not Lee's Palace as Ben Lee's website had originally indicated. Think of all the jokes Ben Lee could have told had he played Lee's Palace. Tickets $13.50.

    thestereoeffect reviews The Arcade Fire's recent show in London, England at Kings College on March 8th.

    chartattack profiles Shonen Knife who begin a short Canadian tour tonight in Montreal. The band plays these parts with a date this Saturday March 12th at Lee's Palace and the next day in Hamilton, ON at Corktown.

    See some photos of controller.controller from their recent tour "including comprimising snapshots of member of Death From Above, the Fever, and the Organ". [news from March 8th news update at controller.controller site]

    Here's a torrent of The Arcade Fire's March 7, 2005 performance on BBC Radio 1 Lamacq Live. [from Largehearted Boy]

    Another torrent link(courtesy of Largehearted Boy again), this time of Broken Social Scene's August 26, 2004 performance at Ottawa Folk Fest.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    No Right Angles

    concert review: Canadian Music Week @ various venues(Toronto, Ontario), Thursday March 3 & Friday March 4, 2005

    Ben Lee(w/ Lara) @ Reverb: photo by Mike LigonI'm a little late in posting this wrapup of the CMW shows I saw on March 3rd and 4th, but here goes:

    Mark Seymour(Thursday 9 pm @ Reverb): I was interested in seeing this gentleman's set after finding out he was the founder and lead singer of 80's Australian act Hunters and Collectors. Remember "Throw Your Arms Around Me"? That song has some of the most romantic lyrics I've ever heard and when Mr. Seymour ended his set with it, it was very beautiful. I did find it slightly obnoxious that a spectactor felt compelled to yell out his request for the song. The fact is Mark is touring currently playing a mixture of solo material and Hunters and Collectors' songs and I'd think the last thing he'd want is to be known as a nostalgia act. I missed the boat on the Hunters and Collectors back in the 80's because I think I was too young to have really appreciated them. Mark displayed a prowess at the Reverb which showed he hasn't lost any of his fervor for performing. He had a physical ruggedness(especially playing guitar) which reminded me of Bruce Springsteen. Mark played a decent set of rustic acoustic tunes that displayed his strong vocals.

    Ben Lee(Thursday 10 pm @ Reverb): My primary reason for being at the Reverb this night was to see Ben Lee. The last time Ben strolled through town was last year at The Mod Club where he performed with a full band, but this time around it was only himself on guitar/vocals and his bandmate Lara on keyboards/background vox. I just picked up his newest CD "Awake Is The New Sleep" and I've been revelling in its pop hooks. Yes, sometimes I think he's a little too clever for his own good. Is the phrase "Awake Is The New Sleep" suppose to be a cop of "Quiet Is The New Loud"? However, it is undeniable that Ben can write a great pop hook. The fact that he's young but his music's free of any trappings of any current musical trends, is even more surprising. Without the distraction of other instruments, Lara's keyboards were brought to the forefront and sounded playful such as on the lead-in intro to "Catch My Disease". Lara was also given the opporuntunity to solo. She's a good keyboardist and displayed a knack for being able to improvise on the spot such as when she worked out the chords to an older Ben Lee track "Chills" before they started to play it. Ben's kinda of a goof(and I mean that in the nicest possible way). He's funny, such as on the "one note" guitar solo he played before handing things over to Lara on keyboards to take over. He also bantered with the audience, making comments about the greatness of the CMW festival. Good set, no encore, but he'll be back in Toronto on April 16th at Lee's Palace according to Ben's website. (Although a concert ad in the current issue of eye is saying the show's gonna be at the El Mocambo?! Stayed tune for confirmation.)

    The Bicycles(Thursday 11 pm @ Rancho Relaxo): After Ben Lee's set I jumped into my car and drove down to Rancho Relaxo to catch what I could of The Bicycles set. I had a little difficulty finding parking but managed to find a spot then dash to Rancho Relaxo to catch about 15 minutes of The Bicyles set. I've only seen The Bicyles live once before which I believe was in May 2003. That time I remembered them being a bit more twee but this time around, I'd have to agree with Tbone that they had an Elephant 6 thing going on. Some of their melodies didn't quite gel as I hoped but I think that had more to do with the looseness of the performance than anything else. There was a jubilant pop vibe with some rocking out on guitars and drums in particular. It was fun to watch them because they were all wearing black t-shirts with the letter 'B' in white lettering. The shallowness of the ceiling and the width of the stage sort of picture-framed the view of the band. For their last song, they pulled up some friends onto stage to join them in a good old-fashioned freak session.

    Sebastian Tellier(Thursday 12 pm @ Reverb): I headed back to the Reverb in time to catch Parisian artist Sebastian Tellier. Sebastian and his keyboardist took to the stage, and started to perform very quietly amongst the chatter of the crowd which was already starting to thin out. Sebastian's on Air's Record Makers label, and I was impressed with some of the samples I heard. However, I found Sebastian's live performance at the Reverb underwhelming. Instrumentation was solely left to the Rhodes keyboard which was itself really nice and warm sounding. However, with Sebastian singing over the keyboards, there was a little too much of a lounge singer aesthetic for my liking. When Sebastian and his bandmate finished the set, he thanked the audience and walked off as non-chalantly as when he first walked onto stage.

    Vegomatic(Thursday 1 am @ Reverb): Vegomatic are also a Parisian musical act. The band features three gents on bass guitar, guitar and drums and an attractive young female singer, who reminded me of a coquettish version of Metric's Emily Haines. The band plays a mixture of new wavey, 60's, surf influenced tunes, and lyrically are quite bonzo singing a song about "G.I. Joe" one time and and then singing a song featuring the lyrics of "I fuck, I suck" sung sexily in repetition by the female singer. The guitarist displayed some great surf guitar skills but also copped Chic-inspired disco guitar riff for a few bars. He was also pretty gonzo such as when he yanked down his pants, grabbed his cock, and then proceed to play the guitar for the rest of the song with his bare butt showing. Um, I didn't need to see that, but I guess it's all in the name of showmanship. The crowd seemed to like them. I liked them enough but I couldn't imagine listening to them often other than a party atmosphere.

    Boy Ballz(Friday 12 am @ The Comfort Zone): Before making it to The Comfort Zone this night, my friend and I tried to take in Bonnie Pink's 11 pm set at The Cameron House. We almost got in but unfortunately the venue had already reached capacity by the time we got to near the front of the waiting line. My friend and I took off for 'Plan B', The Comfort Zone. We made it in time to catch Boy Ballz who rocked the house with their 80's influenced, G-Love, hip-hop, punk pastiche. The lead singer reminded me of Saturday Night Live's Horatio Sanz. The band's all about having fun, and fun they and the audience did have. The lead vocalist busted out some hip-hop lingo, about "licking pussy". You get the idea. They're alright, but my last statement about Vegomatic also goes for Boy Ballz.

    The Zoobombs(Friday 1 am @ The Comfort Zone): What better way to wrap up CMW then a mind-blowing performance by Japan's The Zoobombs. Two previous nights of performances did not seem to have any effect on the band's energy whatsoever(I'm sorry to say that I couldn't say the same for myself). They were noisy, funky and sweaty. When they found a groove, especially on funkier numbers, it was booty-shaking fun! Of course, I had already caught a partial Zoobombs set a couple of nights before, and this Comfort Zone was already approaching 3 am, so I was kind of hoping that things would wrap up eventually. I'm either getting old, or I need more comfortable shoes, but I was exhausted after The Zoobombs. Exhausted but exhilirated. So ends CMW. It wasn't entirely the thrilling experience as I hoped. Nothing necessarily earth-shattering, some disappointments in not getting into certain shows, and some bands/artists I SHOULD have went to see instead such as Boy, Gentlemen Reg, Two Koreas and Creeping Nobodies. Well, NXNE is just around the corner.

    [photos from Thursday March 3rd]
    [photos from Friday March 4th]

    For more CMW reviews, check out SHOT and Tbone.

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Did You See The Moon Tonight

    concert review: Keren Ann and A Girl Called Eddy @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), March 6, 2005

    A Girl Called Eddy at Soundscapes: photo by Mike LigonWinding down 3 nights worth of CMW shows, I took in the appropriately relaxed performances of two current chanteuses-du-jour, A Girl Called Eddy and Keren Ann, over at the Horseshoe on Sunday night. A co-headlining tour as it was being billed, us lucky music fans were treated to two satisfying sets of exquisite songs. I've been looking forward to this ever since this show was announced and I was not disappointed. Preceding the evening, A Girl Called Eddy played an instore performance over at Soundscapes that afternoon, playing intimate versions of "Somebody Hurt You", "People Used To Dream About The Future", and "Golden". My first time experiencing a Soundscapes instore performance, it was quite extraordinary. Given the cramped dimensions, the carpeted floor and dim lighting, it felt like A Girl Called Eddy(aka Erin Moran) and her two bandmates were performing in someone's living room. It was very warm sounding and for three songs I just wallowed in the beauty of it all. Afterwards, I stuck around and got Erin to autograph my CD insert. I also mentioned to her that I had e-mailed her last year asking her(well more like inviting her) to come to Toronto to play live, at the time suggesting that maybe she could play The Mod Club. She responded that it was really the booker who chose the Horseshoe. It would have not been my first choice, but blame the booker. The nicest thing about meeting her was that when I mentioned that I had e-mailed her last year she said she remembered getting an e-mail from a 'Torontonian'. Wow, she remembers me. ;-) [although, for the record, I'm really a Mississaugan, posing as a Torontonian :-) ] [photos during instore]

    A Girl Called Eddy at Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Mike LigonStanding alongside chromewaves at the front of the stage, I had a perfect unobstructed view. I waited in anticipation with a giddy sort of restlessness for A Girl Called Eddy to take the stage, no doubt a result of being quite taken with her music since August 2004. A Girl Called Eddy's evening performance setup was pretty much the same as their afternoon instore setup: Erin on vocals/keyboards and her two bandmates on guitar(both slide and acoustic) and bass guitar. To substitute for a live drummer, they used some pre-programmed beats which were adequate for the casualness of the night. Erin began the performance playing guitar but later moved to keyboards for a majority of the songs. Her music's not so much songs for the broken hearted as songs of the broken-hearted. Lyrically, her songs spoke of heartache and love and I'm reminded of The Smithereens' song title "Beauty and Sadness". I think's it that concept which really defines A Girl Called Eddy's music, in particular her lyrical themes of love. Not so much a dichotomy as two sides of the same coin. Musically, everything dripped melancholy. The raw emotive quality of Erin's vocals were sublime and blended quite nicely with the Burt Bacharach-ish melodies which lingered through the club. Some nice slide guitar and banjo were added to the fold while the bass guitar arrangements were modest but warm sounding. Although, most of the songs followed a melancholic route, it was funny to hear Erin introduce her song "Life Thru The Same Lens" as her 'happy song', as it featured a series of "ba da da" vocal arrangements and a nice bouncy pop melody. As chromewaves mentioned, the added dimension of a live drummer would have made songs like "Tears All Over Town" that much better, but otherwise the intimate stripped down versions of the songs performed by A Girl Called Eddy were near perfection. [photos]

    Keren Ann at Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Mike LigonDown to performing as a duo, Keren Ann and her keyboardist took the stage in front of an enthusiastic audience. Initially I was disappointed that she wasn't performing with the same band setup as her Toronto debut performance at The Drake Hotel from late last year. At The Drake Hotel, she had a guitarist, trumpet player and her keyboard played a real piano. For her performance at the Horseshoe, the band setup was down to Keren Ann on vocals and electric-acoustic guitar and her keyboardist on electric keyboards and some percussive instruments. Surprisingly though, I managed to enjoy this performance even more than her show at The Drake Hotel. I'd have to attribute my enjoyment to actually recognizing songs this time around. Considering how quiet and hush Keren Ann would perform, I think I also made a conscious effort to really listen to every vocal tone, every gentle strum or finger pluck of her guitar and every keyboard note. Keren Ann's vocals lingered mostly in whispered tones and was particulary beguiling when she sang in French. Keren Ann added quite a variety to her guitar sound as her electric-acoustic guitar was hooked up to a series of guitar pedals, ranging from wah-wah effects to a twangy-rootsy sound. Although when she stayed with a simple warm acoustic guitar tone to feature her exquisite guitar arrangements, it was pure heaven. Her keyboardist was quite versatile, playing a variety of styles, from cabaret, jazz and pop. Most of the songs were quite intimate but her 'happy murder song' as she introduced it was a nice change of pace, which featured a nice rhythmic vocal pattern and a sunny melodic bounce to it. A thoroughly charming performance. [photos]

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Mo' Funky

    concert review: Canadian Music Week @ various venues(Toronto, Ontario), Thursday March 3, 2005

    The Zoobombs at Silver Dollar: photo by Mike LigonThe Beautiful Losers(9 pm @ El Mocambo): My first thought would have been to say that that was a terrible name for a band but then maybe they named themselves after Leonard Cohen's book. If that were true, does that make the name anymore bearable? It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that I didn't like about them. The songs were catchy at times and they were excellent musicians. The band consisted of four gents on violin, bass guitar, guitar and acoustic guitar/vocals. They also had some pre-recorded backing tracks if I wasn't mistaken. My gut reaction said that production was just a little too pristine for my liking. Their sound leaned a little to far towards the adult-alternative format for my liking. Next.

    Shawn Hewitt and The National Strike(10 pm @ Horseshoe Tavern): I scooted on over to the Horseshoe for Shawn Hewitt's 10 pm set which had just begun by the time I got there. Good set of prog-rock songs with a carefree sort of indie-rock vibe and soulful, emotive vocals from Shawn. The bass guitar and drumming in particular were quite distinct and added alot of flavour to the songs. Mr. Hewitt put on an energetic performance, at one point in the set picking up a pair of claves and proceeding to bust out into a funky dance routine. He tried to get the crowd to join in the verse to one of his songs but was only semi-successful. 'A' for effort, but maybe a a little too intense for everyday listening.

    A Northern Chorus(11 pm @ El Mocambo): After Mr. Hewitt's set, I jumped on the street car towards Lee's Palace and made an attempt to get into the Cuff The Duke/Guitar Wolf show. Unfortunately, the show was sold out and the doorperson told us that it was unlikely that most of the wristband holders lineup would get in. Decided to scoot back to the El Mocambo where I caught about 3 songs from A Northern Chorus. I was disappointed I didn't catch more of their set. Leaning towards the more atmospheric side of the shoegazer genre(sort of like Mojave 3), but with prominent cello instrumentation and more impassioned vocals. Lead vocals alternated between two gents in the band and the celloist's arrangements(alternating between sweeping bow strokes to modest finger plucking) added dimension to the tunes. Subtle melodies weaved their way in and out of the instrumentation. Very nice.

    Raising The Fawn(12 am @ El Mocambo): Up next were Raising The Fawn, a Toronto 3-piece led by Broken Social Scene guitarist John Crossingham. John has a nice sort of falsetto style of singing and is by far the favourite part of their music. The songs were sort of hit and miss. Most of the songs followed the conventional indie-rock mold. At times the songs were very good, such as on the pop tune which featured a great melodic bass guitar arrangement. Other times, songs either took a little while to get going, or were drawn out and didn't go anywhere. The band was giving away some free 3-song CD samplers at the merch table so I'll have to give it a listen before making up my mind about their music.

    Damon and Naomi(1 am @ El Mocambo): It seems after Raising the Fawn's set, a fair number of people started to leave, leaving only a smaller but dedicated group of music fans(including myself) to watch Damon and Naomi. It didn't seem to faze them one bit, although there was some concern on their part that the loud gig upstairs at the El Mocambo would be too much of a distraction for their quiet and intimate set. At one point they decided to begin their set and it seemed at that point that the sound level at the upstairs gig magically faded to a quieter volume. Damon was on acoustic guitar and Naomi was on keyboards and electric guitar and their songs featured mostly spare instrumentation. They played mostly tunes from their most recent CD "The Earth Is Blue". I've never really been a fan of Damon's voice, and more often it was the songs featuring Naomi's lovely vocals which were melodically stronger. We were able to encourage the duo to come back on stage for an encore, when they performed a cover of a song by a Japanese artist(I forget the name of the artist, but the song title was something like "I am a flower") which had lyrics written by a serial killer. It was little more energetic than their usual fare and it featured a slide guitar riff by Naomi. It's a little hard to define what their sound is although in most simplistic terms I could say that it takes a minimal approach combining melodic elements of folk, pop and experimental.

    The Zoobombs(1 am @ Silver Dollar): Since the Silver Dollar is just down the street from the El Mocambo, I decided to see if I could catch a bit of the Zoobombs set. Knowing the cramped dimensions of the Silver Dollar, I was able to make into the venue no problem. I thought it would be packed to the rafters but found that I was able to comfortably able to make it to a decent spot near the stage. The Zoobombs were already heavy into their set. I estimated that I caught at least a good half an hour of The Zoobombs(including an encore) and it was intense to say the least. Ranging from some funky soul jams, to some noisy experimental excursions, within the span of a half an hour or so it was very satisfying. (I would later find out, when I caught a full set of The Zoobombs on Saturday night at The Comfort Zone, that over a longer period things can begin to sound a little samey).


    Update: hyperlinks, photo above added. [photo above of The Zoobombs at Silver Dollar]