Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fear Made The World Go 'Round

The Dears' Murray LightburnWord over at The Dears' MySpace site is that the recording of The Dears' third album, entitled "Gang Of Losers", is now complete. There's mention of "french horn in 2 songs and saxophone in another", "some mellotron-ny stuff", and "no real violins, violas or cellos". So expect less of the band's orchestral side on the new album. The band's been streaming new song "Fear Made The World Go 'Round" at their MySpace site, so take a listen because the song will only be up until tomorrow. Torontonians will get a chance to see the band live when they come to Harbourfront for a free Canada Day(July 1) show. [photo from Under The Radar]

About a week and half ago, I discovered through The Diableros' MySpace site that they'll be playing a free outdoor show in Mississauga(near the City Centre) on July 7th. I was at the band's MySpace site today and saw that one of their MySpace friends was The Beating Heart which I found out is a summer concert series of free shows which will be taking place every Friday night from July 7th to Sept 1st on the lawn outside of The Mississauga Central Library. The series will kick off July 1st with a show featuring headliners, The Diableros and Magneta Lane, with Kover, The Monument Works & DJ Trails filling out the rest of the bill. Most of the lineups for the rest of the summer are already posted at The Beating Heart MySpace site, with some acts still TBA. Check out the schedule and see what tickles your fancy. I do recognize alot of the band names(mostly from Stille Post), but unfortunately haven't heard most of them. Can anyone make any recommendations? Being a resident of Mississauga, I'm glad for the upcoming invasion of indie rock into the neighbourhood(finally) although, being 30+ in age, I'm not looking forward to the all-ages crowd. Now, if only Mississauga had a decent live music venue.

City Field are streaming(and also making available for download) a demo of a new song, "Lace Face" over at their MySpace site.

If Neko Case's 'punk' roots were ever in question, take a gander at the music video for "Ms Lefevre", performed by Maow with Neko on vocals. I can't believe that this video came out almost 10 years ago and I'm only seeing it now.

Watch the new maple leaves-embellished music video for Matt Pond Pa's "So Much Trouble"[via wedge-esque].

Also, watch the new music video for The New Pornographers' "Sing Me Spanish Techno".

Friday, April 28, 2006

On The Radio

still from the The Concretes new music video for 'On The Radio' points the way toward the new music video(right click & save) for The Concretes' "On The Radio". The video was directed by Daniel Levi who operates out of production company, Independent. Mr. Levi directed The Concretes' previous music video for "The Chosen One" as well as Interpol's "Slow Hands". I haven't actually watched the new Concretes video since I can't install the most up-to-date version of Quicktime on my computer which is still running Windows 98, although I'm sure the video is great. Ok, I'm optimistic.

If you noticed my sidebar, I've updated my concerts list with the shows I will go to or am considering going to. It's filling up quickly. God, I love Toronto. I've been meaning to check out vibraphone-frinedly 'pop orchestra' Hylozoists for a while now and this time I'll try when they hit Horseshoe Tavern for a show on June 17th; tickets $8. I guess I'll be missing the show at The Music Gallery on that same day which'll feature Pedro The Lion's David Bazan; tickets $17.50. Pitchfork reports that Montreal DJ extraordinaire A-Trak will be hitting the road for a North American tour and will be in Toronto for a show at Spin Gallery on June 2nd. Jason Collett will be opening the Calexico show at Phoenix on July 6th according to Pollstar. Of course the show I'm most excited to see, and by this point you've probably already heard, Wilco will be at Massey Hall on July 7th; tickets onsale soon.

Pitchfork reports that Jesus and Mary Chain's long out-of-print first five albums are being reissued by Rhino Records on DualDisc format on July 11th. The five albums being reissued are 1985's "Psychocandy", 1987's "Darklands", 1989's "Automatic", 1992's "Honey's Dead", and 1994's "Stoned and Dethroned". The discs offer newly remastered versions of the albums on the CD side, while the DVD side features the albums in high-resolution audio format along with three music videos. I'd normally have been excited about reissues, but I'm not a big fan of the Dual Disc format, and I'd sooner want one DVD with all the band's music videos rather than have to buy the five Dual Disc reissues separately. Maybe someone will read this and fulfill my wish.

I'm completely excited about the news that Filter reports on Phoenix joining the Arts & Crafts family. Their show at The Opera House on April 5, 2005 was damn good and I can't wait for them to return. [via Chromewaves]

Popmatters reviews a recent Metric show and declares that "...Metric's opening days are done." Didn't we all know Metric were destined for stardom, expecially for a band with a website URL of

I hate it when shitty things happen to good bands. The madness has to stop.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Summer Lovin'

The summer concert season is continuing to shape up quite nicely:

The most exciting news I've come across so far is this Harbourfront Centre Media Release which gives some details of music artists to expect during some of Harbourfront's upcoming FREE summer concert season. Of note are:

  • July 1 - to include The Dears, Jason Collett as part of Canada Day

  • July 7-9 - to include Konono N°1, Jamie Lidell as part of Bud Light Beats, Breaks & Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival

  • July 21-23 - to include Nortec Collective as part of Ritmo y Color: Focus Mexico

  • July 28-30 - to include Weakerthans as part of Great-West Life From the Peg!

  • Note: Other than the Canada Day lineup, I'm not sure what specific dates the other artists will be performing on during their respective festivals. Stay tuned for Harbourfront to eventually update their website with a schedule.

    In related Harbourfront news, according to the website of booking company The Windish Agency, the following tour date info gels with the dates of the Bud Light Beats, Breaks & Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival:

  • Fri 07/07/06 Harbourfront Centre, The Juan Maclean, Prefuse 73

  • Fri 07/07/06 Harbourfront Centre, MSTRKRFT, The Juan Maclean(dj set)

  • In other concert/music news:

    The Hillside Music Festival website says they should have their lineup of artists for this year's festival(July 28-30), available by the end of the week and tickets for the festival go onsale this Monday May 1st. Stay tuned.

    The Most Serene Republic, The Meligrove Band and The Rest will be at Casbah in Hamilton, ON on May 27th[via Stille Post].

    Victoria, BC's Immaculate Machine will be at Horseshoe Tavern on June 15th, tickets onsale April 25[info via].

    According to the tour dates at Arts & Crafts, Feist will be at this year's Mariposa Folk Festival at Tudhope Park in Orillia, ON on July 7. The festival website indicates that Feist will be headlining the evening of July 7th.

    According to Eric Warner over at Stille Post, it's now confirmed that Ladyhawk will be playing the Rivoli in Toronto on July 21st.

    Billboard reports that Lemonheads have followed the recent footsteps of such acts as The Hold Steady and The Futureheads, and signed with Vagrant Records. The new Lemonheads album is scheduled for a September 2006 release. The group which is now a trio, features Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    Talk To Me From A Detached Mind

    City FieldEver since I saw them in December 2004, it's been a rare occurence that City Field have performed live in and or around Toronto. It's a shame because I was quite taken with their music immediately. Their music has hints of new wave, guitar-pop, and glam but above all it's fun with a capital 'F'. Of course, how could it not be when it features The Super Friendz' Matt Murphy. As I'd read in the past, City Field is hardly an ego-driven side project. Most of the songs on their debut EP "Authentic City", released independently in late 2004, don't even feature Matt on lead vocals and the EP is very much a band effort with various members taking control of lead vocals. I bought the EP when I saw them in December 2004 at Bovine Sex Club and I'd asked Matt, somewhat nervously, when they might release an album. I'm pretty sure I got the impression that it might be sometime in 2005. Oh, well that year came and went. Their MySpace site does indicate that the band's recently been recording their debut album which they've entitled "Digital Perm" so I'm hoping it'll be released by the summer. What actually set me off on this City Field post was that Rotate This' most recent concert list indicates that City Field will be at The Drake Hotel on May 4th, unfortunate for me, since I'm already going to go see The Concretes at Horseshoe Tavern the same night. It's good news though, that according to their MySpace site, they'll be playing during NXNE on June 8th at a venue TBA. Yay!

    In the meantime, the band points out on their MySpace site a couple of YouTube links which you can watch the band performing a couple of songs live, at North End Pub in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 17, 2006 and at The Grawood in Halifax on March 15, 2006 respectively. Watch them perform "The Pretenders"(my favourite!) and "New Shape". You can also listen to some songs at their MySpace site or at their site at New Music Canada.

    Currently, you can download an mp3 of City Field's song "Pigeon Quest" at their MySpace site.
    BlogTO reports back on the Regina Spektor show at The Mod Club yesterday which was apparently amazing, and that I unfortunately couldn't make.

    Pimps of Gore has a nice primer post, including some mp3's, on Built To Spill's album "Perfect from Now & Then". He also has several bonus BTS mp3's!

    Indieinterviews interviews Voxtrot lead vocalist Ramesh Srivastava who also graciously provides a nice solo acoustic version of Blondie's "Shayla". [via Largehearted Boy]

    The 2006 Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival lineup has just been announced. Check out the
    Feature Concerts as well as the rest of the lineup(unfortunately this link is not working at the time of this posting). I'm hardly a jazz enthusiast, solely based on my unfamiliarity with the genre, and I tend to be more excited by the participants who aren't actually jazz artists. Case in point: De La Soul will be at Harbourfront as part of the festival - it is a paid concert mind you, but it's De La Soul and they're the ones I'd most want to see. Unfortunately I don't have the show date since the link I mentioned above isn't working right now. Patience kiddies.

    Mike Doughty will be at Lee's Palace on June 9th[via Emerge].

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    The Good, The Bad, And The Cuddly

    The Bicycles @ Rancho Relaxo during Canadian Music Week 2005: photo by Mike LigonToronto's The Bicycles will be hitting the road in support of their debut album "The Good, The Bad, and The Cuddly" for a Canadian/US tour starting the end of May and into June. They'll be at The Drake Hotel on May 7th as part of Over The Top Fest with a whole lot of bands including Saturday Looks Good To Me. They mention on their MySpace site that they'll be starting their tour on May 30th in Vancouver with The Boy Least Likely To, and in fact will be touring with them for the duration. The Bicycles and The Boy Least Likely To will be in Toronto for a show at Revival on June 10th. Check The Bicycles' MySpace site for all their tour dates and to samples some tunes off their debut CD "The Good, The Bad, and The Cuddly".

    According to Cities In Dusts' MySpace site, they along with Controller.Controller, Magneta Lane, Uncut, and Tokyo Police Club will be at The Mod Club on June 9th(I'm assuming as part of NXNE) for two shows(afternoon at 4pm and evening at 9pm).

    Beggars Group Canada says that Cat Power will be in Montreal for International Festival de Jazz on July 2nd. No other Canadian dates as of yet.

    The Cansei de Ser Sexy show scheduled for The Mod Club on July 14th which I mentioned a few posts will also feature fellow Brazilians Bonde do Role as well as a headlining set from DJ extraordinaire, Diplo[via The Windish Agency].

    Pitchfork reports on Metric frontwoman Emily Haines upcoming debut solo effort "Knives Don't Have Your Back" which will be released September 26th through Last Gang Records. The article does reveal the following:
    Emily plans to play out her songs later this year, and already has a gig set at the Toronto Film Festival in mid-September. For the occasion she hopes to put together a multimedia presentation invoking images from Canadian film director Guy Maddin. That is, if she can summon the nerve to perform!

    "Really, it's scary. It's so hard to just be alone up there. But I like it."

    Finally, these sidewalk chalk drawings are SO COOL.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Cast Away The Clouds

    Rose MelbergPitchfork reminds us that Rose Melberg's long-awaited new album, entitled "Cast Away The Clouds" is out this Tuesday(April 25th) through Double Agent Records. While Ms. Melberg's now apparently living in Canada(I think in Vancouver), she does't have any Canadian tour dates lined up. However, starting tonight in Seattle, she will embark on a short US tour that'll take her to a few select US cities and end up in her old K Records stomping grounds of Olympia, WA on May 18th. Listen to some new tracks over at her MySpace site and order the new record(or her older records) over at Double Agent Records.

    Aversion reports that UK punk gods, Buzzcocks will embark on a very short North American headlining tour which will bring the guys to Toronto during NXNE for a show at the Phoenix on June 10th. Also, Punk Turns 30 reports that Buzzcocks, along with Germs and Joan Jett among others, will be part of this year's Vans Warped Tour, which'll make a stop in Buffalo, NY at Darien Lake Fields on August 1st, Barrie at Park Place on August 12th, and Montreal at Parc Jean Drapeau on August 13th. There are some Canadian west coast dates in July. Check the tour's official website for complete tour date info.

    The Rich Girls Are Weeping's post starts out as a review of Neko Case's recent show at Austin, TX's La Zona Rosa, then concludes with download links to some rarer mp3 tracks from Neko Case and Kelly Hogan.

    Popmatters speaks with Valerie Uher and Derek Westerholm of Toronto's The Creeping Nobodies. Their sophomore record "Sound of Joy" is out May 2nd and they play a record release party a month later on June 2nd at Horseshoe Tavern.

    Revolver Films has the new music video for The Most Serene Republic's "(Oh) God" available for viewing. [via Wedge-esque]

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Outside Music

    DanielsonPitchfork has the 411 on the upcoming tour by Danielson in support of their forthcoming album "Ships" which will be released May 9 through Secretly Canadian. According to Pitchfork's listing of the band's tourdates, Canadian dates will include August 3rd and August 5th in Toronto and Montreal respectively, both at venues TBD, as well as a date in Kitchener, ON on August 4th as part of the Nidus Festival which'll also feature Starflyer 59 and "lotsa Christian people"; the Catholic in me is tempted to check this out, if not for the music, but to see how weird this might be. Ahem, "Saved". [photo from http://../]

    What's been bugging me lately is that it seems to be taking forever for any of the Southern Ontario/Toronto music festival/outdoor shows lineups to be released. I'm eagerly awaiting the lineups for Hillside Festival, NXNE, Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, and the Harbourfront Centre Summer Festivals in particular. It doesn't help that the weather's been amazing lately, especially for April, and it's feeling more and more like summer. It's also killing me that it seems like every other post coming from Brooklyn Vegan lately is about yet another New York City outdoor summer show/festival announcement. If only Toronto could come close to New York City's concerts awesomeness. Still, Toronto has the Olympic Island concert(June 24th) featuring Broken Social Scene, Feist, J Mascis, Bloc Party, Raising The Fawn. That's something, right?

    Eye Weekly does mention a couple of Harbourfront Centre summer festivals(but no lineups yet) including BEATS, BREAKS & CULTURE(July 7-9) and INDIE UNLIMITED(Aug 25-27). The Indie Unlimited festival sounds promising. You can read more about these festivals, plus other Harbourfront summer festivals, here.

    Lovefoxx of new Brazilian Sub Pop signees, Cansei de Ser Sexy, left me a comment that her band has a show in Toronto on July 14th at The Mod Club.

    Hamilton, ON's View Magazine speaks with Young & Sexy vocalist/guitarist Paul. Young and Sexy perform this Saturday at The Drake Hotel in Toronto and this Sunday in Hamilton, ON at Corktown Tavern.

    Thanks to Torr for pointing the way towards Binky The Doormat who has an interesting cover of The Cardigans' Nina Persson performing The White Stripes' "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" which'll by included in a Swedish film called "Om Gud Vill"[trailer].

    Snow Patrol performed a live session today for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe. Listen here[session is about 1 hour and 40 minutes into the program; program only archived for a week]. They performed "You're All I Have", "Chasing Cars", and "Run".

    Mates of State performed a live session for KEXP this morning. Listen through the 14-day streaming archives by date and time[April 20th; approx 9:13 am PST].

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    So Long

    The Fembots - 'So Long'The new music video for The Fembots' "So Long" is now up on the band's website(under Audio/Video). Or you can download the video here. In addition to The Fembots matinee set on May 6th at The Drake Hotel as part of the Over The Top Fest, they also have a two-night stint at the Rivoli in Toronto on May 5th and 6th.

    More concert news comin' at cha':

    I can't even remember the last time they were here(were they ever here?) but The Charlatans UK have a show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on May 22nd.

    Irish punk legends Stiff Little Fingers will be at Horseshoe Tavern on June 13th[last two items via].

    Locally, according to their MySpace site The Diableros will be playing a free outdoor show on July 7th in Mississauga at 301 Burnhamthorpe Road West(somewhere around the Mississauga Civic Centre). Details here.

    Pollstar reports that Fiona Apple is set to hit the road for her biggest headlining tour in six years, a 32-city amphitheatre trek stretching from late June into mid-August. Fiona's website has a listing of the confirmed dates. Unfortunately, no Toronto date.

    Chartattack interviews Will Johnson of Centro-matic.

    From Blown Speakers has graciously ripped to MP3, the MPR: The Current acoustic live session Metric performed recently. Go download it while you can.

    Finally, via the Mojave 3 message forum, I was directed to Rachel Goswell's MySpace site where she posts about the health issues she's been experiencing over the past several months. She details about losing a moderate amount of hearing in her left ear, going through medical tests and medication, and having to go through physiotherapy(in terms of regaining proper balance when walking/standing.) Unfortunately, she mentions that touring(with Mojave 3) doesn't seem to be an option for her at the moment. I hope everything turns out well for her. Send her your love and best wishes.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Heavy As A Heart

    controller.controllerPopmatters spoke with controller.controller's frontwoman Nirmala Basnayake who states that their most recent record "X-Amounts" wasn't made to please critics. Nirmala says, "So, we go in and make what me make and if people think it's not dance-y enough, maybe there will be some remixes. And if people feel like it's a little too dance-y and there is not enough soul searching than I don't know, maybe we can talk." I must mention that the Goth-slant of the interviewer's initial questioning was just awkward. [via Largehearted Boy]

    The cool thing about MySpace is jumping from one band's MySpace site to the next. I was over at controller.controller's MySpace site then hopped over to The Diableros' MySpace site and found out The Diableros' next Toronto show is at Sneaky Dee's on June 9th. From there I jumped over to Uncut's MySpace site and found out Uncut will be at Horseshoe Tavern on May 19th.

    Bradleys Almanac has graciously provided an mp3 download of The New Pornographers live at the Paradise in Boston from April 10, 2006.

    UK zine Wear The Trousers has some interviews with some Canadian artists including The Organ[interview] and Neko Case[interview]. [via Porchlight(registration required)]

    Porchlight also points towards Kwaya Na Kisser who has a download of a live session of Neko Case at CBC Studio 2 on November 4, 2002.

    Don't call it a (Jayhawks)comeback, but Jayhawks principal members Gary Louris and Mark Olson are hitting the road to play some live dates together on the US west coast from the end of April through the first couple of weeks of May. Gary does not rule out the possibility of recording with Mark and says, "I wouldn't want it to be the record that I have to market for the next two years, but I would enjoy making a record with Mark." [via Billboard]

    If I could live anywhere else in the world for part of the year it would be New York City in the summer.

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Ecoutez Bien

    Eux AutresI'm pretty sure that in the past, I've come across blog mentions of Portland based, brother-sister duo Eux Autres but never took the time to listen to them until now. Amongst the countless indie music acts that I've come across through music blogs over the last little while, Eux Autres are the diamond in the rough that I've been looking for. The Omaha-born, Portland-based duo is made up of brother and sister, Heather and Nicholas Larimer, both sharing lead vocals with Heather on drums and Nicholas on guitar. The duo perform a potent blend of sixties French pop with a stripped down, duo-based garage rock sound and a dash of sixties girl group sensibilities. A description like this might give the impression that their music's all gimmick and no substance, but I swear the songs' infectious melodies are undeniable. With songs like the rockier Stereolab-ish "Ecoutez Bien" or the infectious indie-pop of the Heather-sung "Other Girls", Eux Autres should appeal to Zoi Zoi fans and indie-rock/indiepop fans alike. Their debut album "Hell Is Eux Autres"(recorded by Portland engineer Jeff Stuart Saltzman and Sleater Kinney/Quasi's Janet Weiss) was released in 2004. Although sure to frustrate fans who've been following the band since 2004 and are waiting for a new record, it's good news to me to find out that Montreal-based indie label Grenadine Records are rereleasing the album in early June, with expanded artwork and lyrics. Hopefully, the band can capitalize on the upcoming exposure. Last week a person from Grenadine Records posted a message on Stille Post and mentioned that they're looking to book Eux Autres a show in Toronto on June 16th; the other day someone replied that they are bringing the band to Toronto. No other show details to mention, but I'm keeping the whole month of June open just to be safe.

    MP3: Eux Autres - "Other Girls"
    MP3: Eux Autres - "Ecoutez Bien"
    MP3: Eux Autres - "The Sundance Kid"
    MP3: Eux Autres - "Patric Nil"

    Thanks to Young Poisoner for the mp3 links.

    Visit the band's MySpace site and the band's new record label Grenadine Records.

    Check out photos of the band at their Flickr site.
    Here's a torrent(registration required) of a live set of Neko Case at Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, Va on April 11, 2006.

    Metric's Emily Haines and James Shaw were in MPR: The Current's studios last week on April 10, 2006. Emily and James performed some excellent acoustic versions of "Ending Start," "Monster Hospital," "Live It Out," and "Between the Bars." Listen to the archived session.

    The New Pornographers were in NPR's studios on April 14, 2006 to speak with World Cafe's David Dye and perform some songs live. Listen to the archived program. [via Live Net Music]

    The final issue of Comes With A Smile(Issue # 20 with The New Pornographers on the cover) is already on newsstands. However, check out some reviews and interviews which didn't make the final issue due to space limitations including interviews with Glen Kotche and Stephen Merritt.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Tired Of Being Sexy

    Cansei de Ser SexyI'd have thought Good Friday and Easter Weekend would have made for a slow news period, but concert/music news is coming more furiously than ever. Filter report about UK's The Boy Least Likely To's upcoming North American tour which'll include a stop in Toronto at Revival on June 10th. Bright Eyes, with opener Gruff Ryhs(of Super Furry Animals) will be at Massey Hall on June 14th[via Ground Control Touring]. Pollstar indicates that The(International)Noise Conspiracy and The Fever will be at Reverb on May 30th, while UK legends, The Yardbirds will be at Lee's Palace on July 11th; ok so The Yardbirds lineup doesn't include, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, or Jimmy Page. Hey, it's cool they're playing Lee's Palace and NOT Casino Rama. Finally, Chromewaves offers exciting news on upcoming Toronto shows for Calexico[July 5th @ Phoenix] and Mark Kozelek[July 12th13th @ Lee's Palace].

    I'd spoken a few days ago about word of the The Fall's upcoming North American tour bypassing Canada entirely, and Pitchfork confirms that Mark E. Smith and company will only be hitting US cities. Damn it.

    Filter reports that Sub Pop have signed their first ever South American act, a Brazilian six member outfit called Cansei de Ser Sexy(which translates to "Tired of Being Sexy"). Check out the band's sound at MySpace. Their dance-electro-rock sound isn't exactly my thing, but I can picture indie hipsters drooling all over this. They'll be touring from April through to August through Brazil, the US and Canada - no Toronto date yet surprisingly although their MySpace sites lists some Canadian dates including Ottawa(July 16), Calgary(Aug 2) and Vancouver(Aug 4). Southern Ontarians can always check out the band in Buffalo, NY on July 13th. [photo from http://../]

    Ireland's The Belfast Telegraph spoke with Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew.

    The Montreal Mirror spoke with the nerd-friendly Owen Pallett(Final Fantasy). According to the article, Owen's official website is temporarily down and MySpace has shutdown his MySpace site due to Owen copping a registered trademark. It seems The Law has finally caught up with Owen, but didn't we know it was going to happen sooner or later?

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    The Start Of Something

    concert review: Voxtrot, Irving, Spiral Beach @ Sneaky Dee's(Toronto, Ontario), April 13, 2006

    Sneaky Dee's played host to a worthy triple bill yesterday night that drew Toronto(and surrounding) indie fans out in full force. It did help that the show was taking place on the cusp of an Easter long holiday weekend and that the temperature oustide was quite mild yesterday. It was a surprisingly packed house for first openers, Toronto's Spiral Beach. The band's young members, looking barely out of high school, featured one female in a polka dot top, skirt and Converse hightops while its curly-haired male members were gussied up in shirt and ticket or jackets. Their music drew on influences that I wouldn't have expected from a band so young; at various times I was reminded of The Slits, The B-52's, and Talking Heads with just a touch of new wave. Maybe they've been listening to their parents' records; if so, they have some cool parents. Quirky vocal harmonys and unconventional melodies dominated their music. The more adventurous side of me says they're a good band, although I'd definitely have preferred a more direct pop approach. For what it's worth, their set did manage to convince at least a few people to buy their new self-titled CD afterwards.

    I'd like to mention that I wasn't upfront near the stage for this show as I was feeling pooped and decided to plant myself on a bar stool for most of the show. Second openers, Irving were more along the music I'd enjoy. While the sum of their influences wasn't compelling enough to convince me to buy any of their merch, they did put forth an admirable effort nonetheless. Their strummy guitar pop, filtered through a Strokes-ian casualness, with a modern twist on a sixties' Beat sound, was catchy enough but on a whole, their set was sort of lacking a cohesiveness I was hoping for. I must remind you, this is only a first impression. I hadn't heard the band before this so the anonymity factor is definitely at play. With time, I think I'd dig 'em more. On a funnier note(well to me at least), one of the band's guitarists looked to me like a cross between Jeff Tweedy(in his mid-length hair days) and actor Gary Sinise; I'm sure I'm the only one who thought that.

    In all honesty, the only Voxtrot song I'd ever heard previous to the show was their song "The Start of Something". With that song's overt Smith influence I was fully expecting Austin, Texas' Voxtrot to sound like a Smiths tribute band. Part of me was hoping that might be true and I don't think I'd have been disappointed if it were. With lofty expectations even before their set started, I sprung for both their EP's(their first EP "Raised By Wolves" and their just released EP "Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives") at the merch table. The EP covers definitely owes a nod to The Smiths' album art. Strangely, and probably for the better, Voxtrot transcended The Smiths' influence to offer us a great set of sunny, strummy guitar-pop filtered through a genuinely American indie-rock sensibility. Even when the band ended the set on consensual fan favourite "The Start of Something", lead vocalist Ramesh Srivastava sung it while exhuberantly pogoing; I wouldn't expect Morrissey to pogo on his next tour. With the great melodies, lead vocalist Ramesh's clear-tone vocals and the band's energetic pop instrumentation, they definitely live up to the hype.

    Related links
    - Chromewaves' review and photos from the show
    - Voxtrot @ MySpace
    - lead singer Ramesh has a blog called, unsurprisingly, The Voxtrot Kid[via Spot The Music]
    - My Old Kentucky Blog recently posted an mp3 download of the band's recent KEXP live session

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Here Comes The Weekend

    So leading into this long Easter Weekend, I really have nothing too substantial to offer. It was a beautiful 20 Degrees Celsius this afternoon in downtown Toronto which makes those mid-afternoon coffee breaks at work so much better! I'll probably check out the Voxtrot show tonight at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto.

    Here are some concert announcements: Local eighties alternative act Chalk Circle will be at Lee's Palace on June 19th; I liked them back in high school, although with tickets priced at $20, I don't think I like them that much. The Spinto Band and The Lovely Feathers will be at El Mocambo on June 6th[via Pollstar]. The Bellrays will bring a "maximum rock n' soul" party to the Horseshoe Tavern on June 16th. Here's a little retro-sounding soul, horn-filled number from The Bellrays to tantalize your earbuds(man, this song reminds me alot of Otis Redding):

    mp3: The Bellrays - "Third Times The Charm"

    And word on the street is that there's now NO Canadian dates for The Fall's upcoming North American tour; it seems the Vancouver date has now been pulled(after the already pulled Calgary and Edmonton dates). Eric Warner over at Stille Post has a whole wack of Toronto show listings for many a band I haven't actually heard/heard of; I always thought I was sort of on top of new music, but damn, I now realize I can't keep up with all these new bands.

    Chartattack reports on the upcoming expanded reissue of The Jam's "All Mod Cons" which'll feature two discs(one CD and one DVD) and'll include a bunch bonus demos!

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    It's Not Your Day To Shine

    Barsuk's newest signing, SmooshSpring is in the air and news of recent indie record label signings are starting to sprout. Aversion reports that tween sister indie-rock duo Smoosh have joined the Barsuk roster while chartattack reports that Hamilton, Ontario's Sailboats Are White haved signed with UK's Alan McGee-run Poptones label. I'm happy for Smoosh, in particular, although I'm still miffed that before they'd hit the 'big-time'(back in 2004), I'd e-mailed their dad who was running their website, and requested a free CD(I think it was a CD-R at the time, because it was even before Smoosh had their record deal with indie label Pattern 25) and I never got it. Ok, I won't hold it against them. They're still going through that awkward puberty phase vocally, but their stripped down pop tunes show potential. Smoosh open for Eels at The Mod Club in Toronto on June 17th.

    Sweet Static points out that The Super Friendz' Charles Austin recently released his first solo effort under the moniker Lost Wax Guild. Download his song "Sleep Will Come For You".

    Those noisy and so likeable Torontonians, The Creeping Nobodies are having a CD Release Party on June 2nd at Horseshoe Tavern.

    According to Camera Obscura's website, they will be going on a UK tour in June and a US tour in July. I'm presuming that the US tour will include at least a few Canadian dates.

    Via Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone forums, I came across a link to Schedule Two who are hosting some decent quality video clips of Jason Collett live at The Fine Line in Minneapolis, MN, on January 29th, 2006. Check out the clip of him and Feist performing "Hangover Days"!

    More Feist can be found at rbally who is hosting an mp3 download of a live show of Feist at Park West in Chicago. [via The Rawking Refuses To Stop]

    Finally check out Feist fansite All Things Feist who are hosting a bunch of great Feist rarities and sessions for download.

    I totally LOVE NPR for posting mp3 downloads of the Neko Case and Martha Wainwright sets from their show recently on April 9th at 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.

    BBC 6 Music's Dream Ticket with Clare McDonell rebroadcast yesterday The Concretes' live acoustic BBC 6 Hub session they performed for the radio station in September 2004. Listen here(session is around 2 hours and 20 minutes into the program; program only archived for a week.) Photos from the session here. The Concretes will be in Toronto on May 4th for a show at Horseshoe Tavern. This will be awesome.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Goin' Against Your Mind

    Album Review: Built To Spill "You In Reverse" (2006 - Warner Bros.)

    Built To Spill - 'You In Reverse'My earliest introduction to Boise, Idaho's Built To Spill was a thread on the Indiepop mailing-list back in the 1990's, with two camps debating on the band's pop music ingenuity. The indiepop camp were firmly of the opinion that Built To Spill were too 'rock' for their tastes while the other camp admired Built To Spill's melding of rock and pop music influences. Unfortunately, I'd never taken the time to actually listen to them until recently when I got an advanced copy of their most recent album "You In Reverse" which is officially released tomorrow through Warner Bros. I can't speak for the band's earlier catalogue but the new record may just become one of my favourites of the year. Over the span of ten tracks, the record encompasses a variety of rock influences but never loses track of a good melody. The record even breathes life into that most hated(or perhaps loved) of rock cliches, the guitar solo, which I thought I'd never come around to.

    The album starts off strong with the melodic indie rock urgency of "Goin' Against Your Mind" then dives into the mid-tempo pop-rock of "Traces" which reminded me a little of Versus. The gorgeous R.E.M.-ish jangle of "Liar" was a real treat. Built To Spill introduces a Neil Young-ish guitar squall into "Wherever You Go" and "Gone" but sandwiches between those two tracks, the power-pop crunch of "Conventional Wisdom". The album ends on a subtler note with it's last two tracks, the languid Velvet Underground-sounding "Just A Habit" and the cosmic country-ish balladry of "The Wait". With such a strong group of tracks, even the album's slight(but only slight) falters were tolerable: I like Death Cab For Cutie as much as the next indie rock fan, but I could not get over how much Built To Spill's "Saturday" sounded like DCFC. The middle eastern influenced guitar melody of "Mess With Time" was too post-grunge sounding for my tastes, but saved itself partway through the song with its shift to a bouncier rhythm.

    Overall, the record's a winner. Even more, it's renewed my faith in the trio. When it seems like bands these days are getting larger and larger[don't get me wrong I still love Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire, and Belle and Sebastian], it's great to see Built To Spill prove how only three persons can still create such beautiful music. "You In Reverse" is a rock record with a pop music heart, and that's as simple as I can put it.

    Listen to the band at MySpace.

    Stream Built To Spill's new album "You In Reverse" at VH1.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Bodies And Minds

    concert review: Centro-matic w/ Great Lake Swimmers, D Trevlon @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), April 5, 2006

    Great Lake Swimmers at Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Mike LigonWednesday night I caught a trio of musical acts at the Horseshoe who performed satisfying sets for the fickle Toronto audience in attendance. It's a shame that the audience weren't more attentive for Kirkland Lake, Ontario artist D Trevlon because he performed a decent set of noir folky, country tunes that were reminiscent of Lee Hazelwood and Johnny Cash. Ok, so maybe the gist of my description of D Trevlon's music was lifted from his MySpace site, but so be it. D Trevlon's vocals are less baritone than Lee Hazelwood, but the moody atmospherics of Lee Hazelwood is stamped firmly all over the music, which really was just D's vocals, acoustic guitar, and a little bit of footstomping here and there. The streaming audio tracks over at his MySpace site is a good place to sample some of his songs. Also check out the MySpace site for some future live dates(he even has a show on April 19th in Mississauga at Executives of all places, but will also take part in the Toronto Roots Festival which'll be running from June 23rd to 25th).

    My experience with trying to catch Great Lake Swimmers live(either as a solo act or as a band) has been like trying to catch a glimpse of Snuf-a-lufagus: I just kept on missing them. For the most part, it's been sheer laziness that I haven't made it out to any of the numerous shows Great Lake Swimmers have performed in and around Toronto. (I almost caught a Tony Dekker solo performance during this year's Canadian Music Week but that show was as an opener for Isobel Campbell, and of course you know that got cancelled.) It was a great pleasure to see them finally, and it was the full band version that performed Wednesday night. It was quite obvious by how fast the immediate area in front of the stage filled up after D Trevlon's set, who most people were there to see. It was a beautiful set of hushed folk-rock with the vulnerable vocals of Tony Dekker guiding the songs along. Actually, the songs were slightly more spunky at times than I'd expected such as on the band version of "I Will Never See The Sun". Centro-matic's keyboardist contributed some violin on several songs. Tony's own band added varying bits of guitar, banjo, bass guitar, and brushed drum rhythms with a respectable subtlety that matched the music's melodic beauty. The turnout for Great Lake Swimmers was much larger than I'd thought especially for a Wednesday night, so it made for a thoroughly enjoyble set.

    Unfortunately after GLS' set, the crowd thinned out a bit. Well, too bad for those that left, but headliners Denton, Texas' Centro-matic definitely brought the goods. I'm new to the band and it's more than a little mind boggling how prolific this band has been over the last 10 years. Yes, there's definitely a lot of catching up for me to do. My best reference point for Centro-matic's music during their set is "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"/"A Ghost Is Born"-era Wilco. I anticipated a little bit of a country rock influence and while that influence did rear it's head, the music was much more dynamic than that. I was surprised and also grateful to hear a dominant pop influence, from the sing-a-long vocals/background vocals, to some bits of crunchy power-pop guitar work and tuneful keyboard arrangements, and finally a arsenal of vacuum-tight pop melodies. Will Johnson's affecting lead vocals were dynamic, quiet and confessional one moment, then yearning and urgent the next. I loved how he'd step away from his mic and still continued to sing, giving his vocals a distant-sounding quality. The enthusiasm level of the band seemed high as displayed by their physical enthusiasm onstage and Will Johnson seemed very grateful for the band's reception from the smaller-than-during-Great-Lake-Swimmers'-set but enthusiastic crowd. Great set for the band's Toronto debut. The one-song encore was a nice ending to the night, and if I remember correctly after asking the guitarist at the merch table, was a song called "Love Has Found Me" which is the catchiest slice of keyboard driven pop music since Wilco's "Hummingbird" which coincidentally Centro-matic's song is very remniscent of. Although, Centro-matic's song first came out in 2000 on a split 7" single they released with Tripping Daisy.(Download the mp3 here.)

    [photos from the show]
    Download an mp3(courtesy of Team Clermont) of new song "Artic Circle" by Final Fantasy off his upcoming new album "He Poos Clouds".

    UK's White Rose Movement will make up their cancelled Toronto date with a show at Lee's Palace on May 10th. [via Emerge]

    Eric Warner informs over at Stille Post that, Saturday Looks Good To Me will be performing a matinee show as part of the Over The Top Fest on May 7th at The Drake Hotel. And there'll be BBQ. Hmmm. BBQ. Check the newly launched Over The Top Fest website for all the details about this year's festival.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Star Witness

    concert review: Neko Case @ Berkeley Church(Toronto, Ontario), April 3, 2006

    I was initially excited to find out that Neko Case was going to be at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto this past Sunday April 2nd, but was turned off by the $32.50 CDN price tag. I justified my decision to not go, saying to myself I saw her twice live last year(three times if you count the show she did with The New Pornographers) and am going to see her at the end of May when I head to the Sasquatch Festival with my brother. Still, it is without a doubt that I'd have felt a little twinge of disappointment for skipping her show this weekend[btw, reviews of that show over at chartattack and The Toronto Star]. Whatever disappointment I'd have felt melted away yesterday evening cause I got to see Neko and her band live in concert at the cozy Berkeley Church in Toronto. I was fortunate enough to get a spot on the guestlist for this show which was being taped live in front of an audience for a US cable television program called "Beautiful Noise". It was a doozy of a show and it had its share of brilliant moments even if a couple of things threatened to put a damper on the show.

    The show started out quite conventionally with an introduction over the sound system of Neko Case and her band as they walked down the center aisle, took the stage then dived right into a series of well-chosen favourites, including "Favourite" and "If You Knew"(featuring fantastic backing vocals from Kelly Hogan). Reality did eventually set in that this show was being taped for a television program which meant interruptions throughout the evening such as touching up Neko's and other band members'(including Kelly's) makeup, changing recording tapes mid-show and the audience co-ordinator reiterating rules every now and then. Such interruptions were made all the more bearable as Neko and sometimes Kelly, used such down times to humourously banter with the audience. There weren't really any stories of substance[the funniest banter centering on the band's un-rock-n'-roll like behaviour with Neko making mention of no drug use, even though they'd been offered 'real' drugs twice since they'd been in Toronto] but it was humorous nonetheless to hear her ramble on. Neko seemed giddy during the show but also genuinely modest about the experience. She didn't express an ounce of diva-ness given the fact that she was being recorded for a television show, and such modesty was really refreshing. She did confess to having an irritating stomach problem during the night, but the trooper that she was, she got through the show with barely a whimper.

    I thought the acoustics of Berkeley Church were spectacular. Dark, southern gothic country ballads like "Favourite", "Star Witness" and especially "Dirty Knife" were spine-tingling within the pristine acoustics of the church. The interior of Berkely Church was transformed by the series of interesting lighting effects and back wall projections during the show which managed to set the mood and atmosphere quite nicely. With pen and paper in hand, I jotted down the setlist which was as follows:
    Favourite // If You Knew // Fox Confessor Brings The Flood // That Teenage Feeling // Set Out Running // Star Witness // Dirty Knife // At Last // I Wish I Was The Moon // A Widow's Toast // Maybe Sparrow // Bucket of Rain [Bob Dylan] // Deep Red Bells // Hex // Furnace Room Lullaby // Hold On, Hold On // John Saw The Number

    As much as I liked to have heard some rave-ups, the quieter, moodier set list that we got to hear complimented the surroundings very nicely. Given that this was a free show and that it was being filmed for a television program, I felt lucky to hear the 17 songs that we got. It was unfortunate that Neko's burning stomach got the best of her as we all saw her talking to the stage director and rubbing her tummy, then wave to the crowd and walk off the stage amidst our applause as her bandmates followed her. It seemed an all very sudden conclusion to the night, but it was quite obvious why she had to stop the show at that point. I hope she's feeling better now, but I'd like to thank Neko for giving us her all, and then some.

    ps. Once Neko and company left the stage, the camera men prompted the audience to stand up and raise the enthusiasm level of our applause and cheers. I thought possibly that Neko might come back for an encore but she didn't. Now I realize that our 'standing ovation' was probably being filmed to be inserted into the final edit; given Neko's somewhat sudden exit, I don't think our bewildered expressions was quite what the director was looking for. ;-)
    In other concert news, more new concert info continues to roll in:

    The first Toronto area festival-style outdoor show to make an announcement for this summer is a show at Olympic Island scheduled for June 24th which will feature a lineup including Broken Social Scene, Bloc Party, Feist, J Mascis, and others TBA. [via Emerge]

    Guillemots will be back in Toronto(after only playing at Horseshoe Tavern on March 15th; my review) for a show at The Mod Club on May 4th. Unfortunately, I'll be seeing The Concretes at Horseshoe Tavern that night.

    Pink Mountaintops will be at Horseshoe Tavern on June 11th. [via Pollstar]

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Oh Yoshimi, They Don't Believe Me

    The Flaming Lips @ Coachella 2004: photo by me!Are the rumours true that The Flaming Lips will be making an appearance on MTV Canada(which broadcasts from the Masonic Temple on Yonge St. in Toronto) today? My office is on Yonge St. near College Park and I was just thinking how cool it'd be to see Mr. Coyne bouncing down the street in his infamous giant bubble. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen Wayne in the giant bubble as you can see by my photo of The Flaming Lips at Coachella 2004.

    In the meantime, if you haven't already seen the following video clips, watch The Flaming Lips performing a cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody live at this year's SXSW as well as the band performing "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" live on Late Show With David Letterman on March 30, 2006.

    Jam! Showbiz profiles the evolution of The Flaming Lips' sound, leading to their newest disc "At War With The Mystics" which is in stores this Tuesday April 4th. The Flaming Lips have a sold-out show at the Phoenix the same day.

    Mates of State have a snazzy new website! And of course, no Toronto tour date for the forseeable future.

    Mary Timony AND Jon-Rae Fletcher will be at The Music Gallery in Toronto on May 30th, and damn, I'll be out of the country at the time. [info via Stille Post]

    According to Kork, Danielson will be coming to Toronto for a show on August 3rd at a venue TBA.

    According to an update of The Fall's provisional US/Canada tour dates, there's now only one Canadian date for The Fall's upcoming US/Canada tour. Edmonton and Calgary tourdates have been taking off the sched. Seems a little silly now to call it a US/Canada tour when there's only one Canadian date(Vancouver on May 20th @ Richards on Richards) left.

    Chartattack reports on the new Big Star tribute CD(featuring the likes of Wilco, Idlewild and Teenage Fanclub) which is in stores on May 23rd.

    Ben Lee has started his own podcast. The first episode features the Melbourne singer/songwriter Jen Cloher, who is celebrating the release of her debut album, "Dead Wood Falls". Jen also performs two songs live.

    Thanks to Are You Familiar? for pointing me towards One Louder's thoughtful commentary on the relationship between music blogs and promotion companies, and how the 'harmless' acceptance of free items(CD's, concert tickets', etc...) by music blogs from promotion companies isn't so harmless. So far, I haven't yet been corrupted by promotional companies...I don't nearly get as many as so of you do. Still my primary motivation is to talk about music I like, so there is always the possibility that I might mention a music act that's been brought to my attention through promos I've received in the mail.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    You Know, The Junos

    The Chicago Sun Times' Jim Derogatis had a brief Q&A with Neko Case. Jam! Showbiz continues the Neko press, in advance of her show in Toronto at Danforth Music Hall this coming Sunday April 2. As I mentioned yesterday, I was fortunate to secure a guestlist spot for the audience taping of US show "Beautiful Noise"(featuring Neko live in concert!) which'll be taping this Monday at Berkeley Church in Toronto! Finally, here's the music video for Neko's "Porchlight" which I'd never see before.

    Jam! Showbiz spoke with Fembots' Dave Mackinnon. Fembots new music video for their song "History Remade" was shown on Much Music's The Wedge yesterday, but I damn I missed it. I can't find a link to the video anywhere on the 'net.

    The Chronicle Herald speaks with Juno nominee Joel Plaskett.

    Watch this student project clay-mation video set to Feist's "Mushaboom". There's two segments actually, the first part set to an acoustic version of "Mushaboom" and the second segment set to the studio version. The first segment in particular, is great! Leslie will be presenting an award at tomorrow's Juno Awards.

    And btw, Futureshop is selling current Juno-nominated albums for $9.99 until April 6th, and depending on what's instock at your local Futureshop and if you don't already own 'em, why not pick up some of the following:

  • Broken Social Scene - s/t

  • The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

  • The Arcade Fire - Funeral

  • Martha Wainwright - s/t

  • Joel Plaskett - La De Da [I got this today]

  • Kathleen Edwards - Back To Me

  • Sexsmith and Kerr - Destination Unknown

  • Neil Young - Prairie Wind

  • Hot Hot Heat - Elevator

  • Metric - Live It Out

  • Tegan & Sara - So Jealous

  • Here is the list of performers for this years Juno Awards which will be broadcast tomorrow night(April 2nd) live from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I can't wait for Broken Social Scene!