Thursday, August 31, 2006


The Hidden Cameras @ Harbourfront Centre[Indie Unlimited festival]: photo by Mike LigonContinuuing from where I left off from yesterday, next on the agenda was The Hidden Cameras show at Harbourfront Centre CIBC Stage, headlining on the Saturday(August 26) as part of the Indie Unlimited Festival. I made it there and caught a few songs of openers, Toronto's Fritz Helder & The Phantoms, whose punky - gay - dance - party - disco - electro - clash[how that's for a hyphenated genre, huh?] was fun, although certainly not my bag. I believe one of their songs towards the end of their set was actually Madonna's 'Burning Up', or at least it utilized a chorus or two of the song's lyrics. I think they succeeded a fair bit better on one song which was more rap/hip-hop influenced but still with a distinct disco-y/electro clash feel. Of course, a song with lyrics that includes the word "motherf!*ker" will arouse most audiences. The less-than-capacity crowd at the time which probably included a number of passerbys who decided to check out the show seemed quite conservative. Not much boogeying going on except for some people up front and a few people scattered amongst the crowd. But hey, Fritz Helder & The Phantoms did try. And boy, are they a sweaty bunch, especially that caucasian female MC. [Listen: Fritz Helder & The Phantoms @ MySpace]

The seats around the CIBC stage quickly filled up for The Hidden Cameras' set. I've seen The Hidden Cameras live a few times now and the biggest difference really is that their live show appears to moving away from the indie-gay-dance-party vibe of their previous shows to now focus more squarely on the music. So gone are the masked, underwear garbed dancers, the homoerotic imagery of screen projections, the yellow streamers('Golden Streams'), and such and replaced at most with just a bit of flag waving. Ok there was one guy in his boxer shorts. Now their stage presence is a lot more akin to say Belle and Sebastian, albeit spunkier especially when the string section(cello and violinist) really got into their playing and when the 'choir' was in full force(most notably on 'Doot Doot Plot'[YouTube video clip). Also Included in the lineup that night was Toronto's Laura Barrett, mostly on xylophone and sometimes kalimba, and at other times there were at least a Spiral Beach member or two up on stage. The Hidden Cameras performed the entirety of their new album "Awoo". Other than 'Learning The Lie', most if not all of the other songs were entirely new to me, but overall almost immediately appealing in their orch-pop goodness. Still, I'd much preferred it if they'd mixed in older tunes throughout the setlist instead of playing the whole of the new album first. Given the slightly less intense live show this time around, there was still a good amount of audience booty-shaking although certainly not as raucous as the dancing and jumping up and down in the aisles of The 'Cameras previous show at Harbourfront from a few summers ago. By the time, 'I Found Music'[YouTube video clip] came around I was itching for more older tunes, but with the set already running into The Russian Futurists' set over at El Mocambo, I decided to skip out as The Hidden Cameras were to begin their encore. Hopefully, I'll get my fix for some of The 'Cameras older material when they play at the upcoming Virgin Festival at Olympic Island. [Listen: The Hidden Cameras @ MySpace]

A few words about The Russian Futurists and Junior Boys at El Mocambo and The Deadly Snakes at Silver Dollar, hopefully to come tomorrow. S'later.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wandering Eyes

Angela Desveuax at Harbourfront Centre[Indie Unlimited festival]: photo by Mike LigonGiven the intensity of discussions occuring over at Chromewaves and Zoilus about the worthiness of the Torontopia music scene, I'm afraid I have far less intelligently stimulating discourse to offer. Just a good ol' concert rundown of last Saturday. I'll start off with a few sets I caught then hopefully run down the rest within the next couple of days. Last Saturday I was fortunate to catch a number of great acts.

My Saturday afternoon began with Amy Millan's show at Harbourfront Centre's CIBC Stage as part of the Indie Unlimited festival. Following Amy's show, was Montrealer Angela Desveaux at the Toronto Star Stage. Given both these artists' take on the country music genre, it was quite audible the differences that each artist brought to the table. To be more specific, neither were specifically country but both used country music as starting points. Amy performed with BSS' Evan Cranley(on trombone) as well as Toronto Craighurst, Ontario band Paso Mino as her backing band. While some of Amy's songs might have the familiar melodic 3-chord swing of country music, there's an urban-ess to her overall sound. It's not just that she doesn't sing with any sort of country drawl(which I'm not saying is a bad thing in the least) but the overall instrumentation leans towards the rock rather than the twang, comparable to say Neil Young's most subdued moments. It's a very nice sound, although I'm still trying to make up my mind if she really has the tune's to back it up. Her solo version of Stars' "Look Up" was terrific, however. Amy came out for a one-song encore and the crowd ate it up. Deservedly so. More reviews are over at Just Keep Bloggin' and Chromewaves.[Listen: Amy Millan @ MySpace]

Montrealer Angela Desveuax was introduced as follows: "If Angela Desveaux could have three pictures in her wallet, she says they would be of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and her grandmother. These are the figures she holds dear and suggest the influences that have shaped her musical identity." I thought Angela and the three members of her backing band(which included at least that day, Mike Feuerstack aka Snailhouse on guitar) performed a very tight set of tunes. I can only say I have a cursory knowledge of the music of Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams, but I did feel that Angela exhibited in her music the same sort of purity that those artists do. Angela's vocals(range & inflection) fell somewhere between say Amy Millan and Neko Case and combined with the rich melodies of her songs and the solid instrumentation, it was breathtaking. Although, Angela and her band concentrated mostly on a selection of country-tinged mid-tempo songs, they displayed a knack for pop music on at least one strummy-guitar pop song. Mike upped the twang-factor on at least a few songs with some twangy guitar arrangements. The fact that her music sounds fairly conventional(as conventional, but as interesting as say Sarah Harmer) makes it all the more surprising that her debut album "Wandering Eyes" will be released through, of all labels, Thrill Jockey next month. [Listen: Angela Desveaux @ MySpace]

Later that evening I caught The Hidden Cameras' performance at Harbourfront Centre's CIBC stage, cutting out at the start of The 'Cameras encore to make a mad dash to the El Mocambo to catch the tail end of The Russian Futurists' set and then Junior Boys' headlining set, and then finished off the night just down the street from the El Mo at Silver Dollar where The Deadly Snakes were finishing up, what Dan Burke was billing as the band's 'REAL LAST SHOW EVER'. I'll make all possible attempts to post about these within the next couple days, and of course post a link to some photos. Until then, good night.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Summer Skin

CANOE -- JAM! Music Concert Listings is listing the following(see screen cap below):

Neither the official website for Death Cab For Cutie, their MySpace, nor the Massey Hall website confirm this. In fact the Massey Hall website provides this glaring contradiction(see screen cap below): Correction: On closer inspection of the Massey Hall website, I've found out that the second column below actually refers to shows at Roy Thomson Hall, while the third column(which you might notice are OPEN for the dates of October 29-31, 2006!) refers to Massey Hall:

The Death Cab For Cutie official website does currently state that Fall tour dates will be announced shortly. But wouldn't Death Cab For Cutie at Massey Hall make you actually WANT to go see them? It would be glorious.

It was my dad's birthday yesterday which my siblings, nephew, relatives and I celebrated with a birthday dinner out. I had an opportunity to shoot on downtown, but The Deadly Snakes 'last' show at the Horseshoe was totally sold out. But Dan Burke at Stille Post says The Deadly Snakes' "real LAST SHOW ever" will be tonight at Silver Dollar. So come one, come all! Actually, I'm going to check out a little of The Hidden Cameras at Harbourfront, then go to the Junior Boys' gig at El Mocambo, and it would be icing on the cake if I could catch a little of The Deadly Snakes.

emerge over at Stille Post informs that Razorlight will no longer be playing the upcoming Virgin Festival in Toronto since they were support on Keane's tour which got cancelled. Emerge also informs that ohbijou and illScarlett have been added to Saturday's lineup, Amon Tobin has been moved to Saturday and that the DJ lineup will be annouced this coming Monday or Tuesday.

davidc over at Stille Post has a link to mp3's of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's instore in Toronto at Rotate This from August 19, 2006.

This is the confirmed lineup for this year's Mix 99.9 Beachfest taking place at Sunnyside Beach on Labour Day(September 4). I was only really interested in seeing Ben Lee and he's performing a short set starting at 11:40 am. Wuzzah?! And other than possibly seeing headliner Jim Cuddy, I'm not really interested in seeing the other artists although, as usual, the beach'll still be packed. Well, packed at least with all the people watching the Canadian International Airshow overhead.

My, my, hasn't this summer come and gone so fast?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hey Dad

While it's a little difficult to keep track of Owen Pallett aka Final Fantasy nowadays given that he has neither a MySpace nor his own official website(because of legal wranglings due to Owen using the Final Fantasy moniker), the TomLab MySpace site does indicate that he just completed a tour jaunt through Europe at the beginning of August. Owen performed at Germany's Haldern Pop Festival on August 4, 2006 and someare was there to film it. Thirteen tracks in all, the YouTube links are below(and for YouTube videos these are mighty fine quality!):

01 "That's When The Audience Died"
02 "This Lamb Sells Condos"
03/04 "Hey Dad / CN Tower"
05 "Many Lives 49 MP"
06 "All That They Know"
07 "This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine"
08 "Song Song Song"
09 "The Miner Becomes Forgetful"
10 "Sweet Fantasy"
11 "Close to Peach Plum Pear"
12 "What Do You Think Will Happen Next"
13 "Better Than Worse"

Sloan will be having a record release party at Lula Lounge in Toronto on September 19th. Their website says to check back for details on how to get in. The website also mentions that a complete list of Canadian tour dates should be ready for announcement over the next week. Sloan's Jay Ferguson will be guest DJ'ing this Saturday night at Stones Place in Toronto as part of the Shake A Tail 1 Year Anniversary. In accordance with Shake A Tail's 60's dance party mandate, Jay'll be spinning 60s pop, beat, psyche, ska & soul.

chartattack spoke with Junior Boys' Matt Didemus about the comparative differences between their new album "So This Is Goodbye" and their debut "Last Exit". Junior Boy's Jeremy Greenspan responds rather efficiently to interview questions posed by Stereogum.

Billboard reports on the upcoming live DVD chronicles Jeff Tweedy's 2006 solo tour. Entitled "Sunken Treasure" and featuring 15 performances, the DVD will be released on October 24 through Nonesuch.

The Toronto Sun spoke to local indie promoter Ryan Tobin who calls out Mississauga as an indie music hotbed. Well sort of.

Last but not least, Happy Birthday Dad!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Caught In A Wave

The 3rd volume of the DVD series "Burn To Shine" was released this past Tuesday August 22. This time the spotlight is on artists from Portland, Oregon. The artists/bands lineup was curated by Chris Funk of The Decemberists. You can purchase it here. DVD Talk has a review.

NOW speaks to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras as Joel speaks of how his band's music is 'ghettoized' in America(I wonder what his thoughts of his music in Canada are). chartattack also spoke to Joel and does admit that Toronto is his whole life. His revelation of a country album(well country-influenced) and an electronic release(for which only one song is recorded) in the works is interesting news. The Hidden Cameras play a free show at Harbourfront - CIBC stage this Saturday night at 9:30 pm. Their latest album "Awoo" was released this past Tuesday in Canada. Did anyone catch their live performanc on MTV Live a few days ago? I missed it. Anyone know where I can download it?

NOW speaks with Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys, who latest offering "So This Is Goodbye" was released this past Tuesday. Jeremy, who still lives in Hamilton, ON and has no plans to move to a more metropolitan city, admits his liking for second-tier cities(eg. Hamilton's humble rundown charm) and also admits it as an influence on Junior Boys' music. Junior Boys perform with openers The Russian Futurists this Saturday at El Mocambo.

I think that if I go to The Hidden Cameras show I'll have to leave a tad early to catch The Russian Futurists' set. Does anyone know the set times for the Junior Boys/The Russian Futurists show? Door time on the ticket is 9 pm.

AOL Music has a live session from The Lemonheads who visited them recently. They also have an exclusive new mp3 from them.

Continuuing his Jeff Tweedy post from this past March, Pimps of Gore concludes Volume I of his 100 favourite Jeff Tweedy-penned songs, complete with mp3's.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death

The HousemartinsIt's with great pleasure to find out that The Housemartins will be releasing a retrospective of their BBC recordings entitled "Live At The BBC". According to their press release[right click and save], the collection was compiled by band member Stan Cullimore and will feature 24 tracks. Expect its release on September 18th through Universal[although, I'm not sure if that's a UK and/or general release date]. If we're lucky, perhaps we will get a few Housemartins songs when The Beautiful South perform at the Phoenix on November 1. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know whether The Housemartins ever came to Toronto?[info via via The Beautiful South forum] [photo from http://../]

I've just become aware that Bettie Serveert are celebrating their 15th anniversary and in honour of the occasion they have released(or will release) a new semi-acoustic CD & (their first) DVD entitled "Bare Stripped Naked". Both have been out in the Netherlands since August 7, will be released in Belgium August 28 and us North Americans will see their release soon on September 12. If you're lucky, you'll catch them when they tour North America starting at the end of September and through October. Unfortunately Toronto isn't on the tour schedule this time around although if you're so inclined they'll be in Buffalo, NY at The Buffalo Icon on October 3. You can currently listen to one track("Hell Is Other People") from their new acoustic CD over at the band's MySpace site.

The latest news update(August 18, 2006] over at Tag Team Media states that the release date for the new disc from Clinic entitled "Visitations" has been pushed back to January 2007 from its original October 2006 release. In the meantime, their MySpace site is hosting several live mp3's[info] including versions of two songs that will be formally released over the next couple of months including "Lee Shan" (a b-side on the "Harvest" single) and "The New Seeker" (a track from the new album, "Visitations").

Further visual wonderment from The Bicycles' CD release party at Tranzac from this past Saturday night, this time from Rock // Paper // Pixels.

Amy at Stille Post says the Lily Allen show for October 8 has been moved from The Mod Club to Lee's Palace, to be confirmed shortly. Update: Confirmed at Tickets onsale Thursday August 24 at 10 am.

Torontonians, head over to the Toronto International Film Festival website around 1 PM EST today when a complete list of films in this year's festival will be available. I've never gone to TIFF and I think I'll try to see at least one festival film this year. Perhaps something during the festival's Midnight Madness program?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Alright, Still

Lily AllenI've been waiting all summer for her to come to Toronto, but better late than never, Lily Allen will be at The Mod ClubLee's Palace on October 8. And Toronto should consider themselves lucky, given that she only has five North American dates. The rest of her tour dates can be found here. NME reported recently that she'll feature on upcoming UK superstar Robbie Williams' new album. I'm not sure what to think of that. More in line with Lily's rambunctiouness, The Mirror reports Lily lashing out towards Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy who Lily penned a song after. However, as Lily expresses although her song "Cheryl Tweedy" contains the lyrics "I wish my life was a little less seedy. Why am I always so greedy? I wish I looked like Cheryl Tweedy. I know I never will", it is NOT a tribute[Ms. Tweedy took the song originally as a compliment] and was meant to be ironic. Oh, Lily what shall we do with you?[photo from http://../]

MP3: Lily Allen - "Smile" (Gutter Mix)
Listen: Lily Allen @ MySpace

Thanks to both MattR and makeda for leaving comments in my previous post pointing out the musical acts lined up for University of Toronto's orientation. The Weakerthans with headliners Metric will be performing at U of T's back campus on September 8 from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm while Tokyo Police Club and Magneta Lane will be performing that night at Hart House from 9 pm to 1 am. The Weakerthans/Metric show should be easy to stroll into since it's outside although I'd suspect that they might be checking student id's for the Tokyo Police Club/Magneta Lane show. For more detailed information, go here.

Photos from thecjm and bramptonboi taken at The Bicycles' CD release party(evening show) at Tranzac in Toronto which happened Saturday night. Unfortunately, I didn't make it out to the show. Damn, and I had to miss The Bicycles backing Sloan's Jay Ferguson as they performed "The Lines You Amend". Stille Post reaction is appropriately giddy.

From Blown Speakers conducted a poll of his own with other Vancouver music bloggers to come up with their top 23 local acts.

According to The Diableros' Pete Carmichael over at Stille Post, their bassist Gary is leaving the group. Why? Inquiring minds want to know.

My Indie World points towards some info on the recording process of The Shins' upcoming third album courtesy of keyboardist Marty Crandall's girlfriend, a previous America's Next Top Model contestant, Elyse Sewell. She writes at her LiveJournal that as of the date of the post(August 20, 2006), The Shins have finished the last day of recording with producer Joe Chiccarelli. She writes, "The next step will be mixing and arranging all the recorded tracks, then mastering the songs into their final album form, then probably releasing it around December."

The Montreal Mirror spoke with The Sadies' Travis Good about the recording and recent release of their new live record "In Concert Volume One". One question Travis is asked is who'd The Sadies would like to work with and he mentioned Neil Young. Someone's gotta make this happen. I previously mentioned that Neko Case will be appearing on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on August 30th, but I just noticed on The Sadies website that they will indeed be her backing band for that performance!

Last Wednesday August 16, 2006, Camera Obscura's TracyAnne Campbell was interviewed and the band performed a few songs live on NPR's World Cafe. Listen here. They performed sublime versions of "The False Contender", "Tears for Affairs", and "Let's Get Out of This Country".

New Zealand's Stuff looks at the steadily increasing 'cool' factor of country music.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Working Out Words

What irks me about Stylus' unflattering review of The Diableros' album "You Can’t Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts" is not merely the fact that they slag an album that I really like but how far they go to say they don't like it. C'mon, a C-? Gimme a break. Anything below a B- is really heresy. I know reviews are by nature subjective but Stylus' review crosses the line over to arrogance. When the reviewers mentions the difficulty of hearing the vocals on "Through The Foam" and being unable " decipher one iota of lyrical substance" I'm just wondering how aware the reviewer is to the fact that you can't necessarily make out lyrics in ALOT of music. I can't say that I pay attention alot to lyrics myself, and many times vocals for me are just another sound in the mix. Later on the reviewer points out about "Tropical Pets" that it's "...jarring synthesizer thirds, eerie and affecting ten years ago, are forgettable now..." which is something that I just do not agree with. It's the reviewer's final paragraph that really takes the cake as it goes on for four sentences to paint a picture of The Diableros as revivalists but with little substance. Listen to the album and decide for yourself, but I swear that if you aren't moved by these songs, then you're dead inside.

Concert news galore comin' at cha':

As part of Ryerson University's frosh week Shad K, God Made Me Funky and headliners The Stills will be performing at a stage in the campus' quad on August 31st. Show time's between 1 pm and 5 pm. My experience with such frosh concerts is that they don't really check who is or isn't a student so if you're in the area, I'm sure you'd have no problem strolling in[info].

According to their MySpace site, The Silver Hearts have a show coming up on September 7 at The Drake Hotel.

Regina Spektor will be at Phoenix on October 10, tickets $18.50[via Rotate This].

Joanna Newsom's finally coming to Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on October 14th October 4[via Chromewaves over at Stille Post]

The New P0rnographers w/ Noveillero & Immaculate Machine will be at Kool Haus in Toronto on November October 11 as part of the Exclaim!/15th Anniversary Mint Records showcase.

The press machine continues for The Bicycles with articles at chartattack and Jam Showbiz. Remember, their CD release is tomorrow at Tranzac with an afternoon(2pm) as well as evening(9pm) show featuring an army of guests.

Jam Showbiz speaks with Sean Dean of The Sadies about the band's insatiable desire to play live. The band's CD release shows for their recently released double-disc live set entitled "In Concert Volume I" goes down September 8 and 9 at Horseshoe Tavern.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm Gonna Feel This Way Till I'm Six Feet Underground

Smoking PopesI'd originally planned on going to see Smoking Popes tonight at Lee's Palace. They're primarily known for their 90's melodic alt-rock hit "Need You Around" and their album "Born To Quit" from which it came from. I'm squarely in the camp of only knowing the band for that one song, and it almost convinced me to go see them tonight. For the same reason though, I decided it wasn't really worth the trip downtown to check out the band for that one song. God knows how sick they are of people shouting out that request at every show. My guess is that they either play it near the start of the set and get it out of the way or save it for the encore. So I'm listening to a live version of "Need You Around" on their MySpace and I'm thinking to myself, maybe I should have gone to the show tonight? Apparently they'd released a follow-up album in 1997 cheekily called "Destination Failure" from which a few of the album's songs can be heard at their Myspace site. They were(are) definitely not a one-trick pony. It's a shame that they got lost in the corporate shuffle of the music industry during the late 90's. So now I feel a little guilty for bailing on the show tonight but I'm sure they'll rekindle a little interest in more than a few fans there tonight.

Listen: Smoking Popes @ MySpace

Eye Weekly interviews Toronto's The Bicycles. The band's CD release party for their debut album "The Good, The Band and The Cuddly" is two-fold this August 19th at Tranzac in Toronto with an early show scheduled for 2 pm in the afternoon and an evening show later on at 9 pm for you drinkers. Opening the shows will be Laura Barrett. I was originally planning on passing on these shows, but then I saw the list of guests that'll be at the show. This could be really good.

A band for which I recently got a promo CD in the mail, San Diego, CA's The North Atlantic are coming to town for a show at El Amigo in Toronto on September 26th. Also on the bill are Wax on Radio, with more acts TBA[via Stille Post]. They have an interesting blend of hardcore and melodic indie rock influences that at it's best revisits the glory days of Archers of Loaf. Their debut album "Wires In The Walls"(released through We Put Out Records) is in stores now.

Listen: The North Atlantic @ MySpace [recommendation: "Scientist Girl"]

chartattack has the tracklisting for the upcoming new Sloan album "Never Hear The End Of It"(to be released September 19th) which'll feature a whopping 30 songs on one CD(or double-vinyl if you prefer). Listen to the first single "Who Taught You To Live Like That?" over at their MySpace site.

If you hadn't seen the update on my last blog post, I mentioned that the Matador Records website confirms that the Pretty Girls Make Graves show will be at El Mocambo in Toronto on November 4th, and also playing will be a band called A Gun Called. I'm wondering if El Mocambo is too small of a venue for Pretty Girls Make Graves. I'd figure that they'd fill a larger place such as Lee's Palace easily.

If you're still disappointed that Swedish indiepop group Acid House Kings didn't/couldn't make the trek to Canada when they toured the US recently, I direct you to Bradleys Almanac who has available for download in MP3 format, the band's live set from their show at TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA from Monday July 10th, 2006.

NME reports on the string of John Peel session compilations that will be released later this year. Several acts will see the release of their best John Peel sessions including Pulp and Gene who'll both be releasing double albums of their Peel sessions. Other bands to be featured include Siouxsie and The Banshees and The House of Love. I'm really looking forward to the Gene compilation[via neverwalkagain(Gene fan group mailing list)].

Monday, August 14, 2006

Park Life

concert review: DD/MM/YYYY, The Diableros, Stop Die Resuscitate, Neil Haverty, I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can't, Proof of Ghosts, Mantler, and The Lolo Project @ Dufferin Grove Park(Toronto, Ontario), August 12, 2006

Summertime in the city and what could be more enjoyable than an outdoor concert in the park? It's a wonder that more outdoor shows aren't organized given the size of Toronto. There's barriers of course such as permits and financial cost. It was with great pleasure then that I checked out the show organized by ALL CAPS and Toronto Public Space Committee which occurred this past weekend at Dufferin Grove Park. The lineup featured a bevy of local indie acts including DD/MM/YYYY, The Diableros, Stop Die Resuscitate, Neil Haverty, I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can't, Proof of Ghosts, Mantler, and The Lolo Project. What's so great about such an event is not just the music(of course), but it really boils down to part of Toronto Public Space Committee's mandate which is celebrating our shared common spaces. There's all these parks and spaces across the city and it's great to see such spaces put to great use. Similarly, in Mississauga where I'm from, The Beating Heart concert series happening weekly outside of the Mississauga Central Library is also a great example of utilization of space. My only quip with The Beating Heart concert series(based on my experience of catching Femme Generation's set there) was that I found the scale of the production a bit too large for the indie bands they were featuring, what with its large stage and its distanced proximity to the audience. I think the ALL CAPS show at Dufferin Grove Park(featuring a similar strata of indie acts) had a much more appropriately-sized level of production with it's barely-there stage and the more intimate surroundings of the grassy, tree'd environment.

Over the course of three hours I caught four of the eight acts scheduled. I missed Neil Haverty and Proof of Ghosts but made it in time for The Diableros' set. It was interesting to watch the 5-piece bash away within the confines of the tiny tented stage. They performed a new song as well as 'old' favourites. During breaks between sets, ALL CAPS volunteers walked around hoping to collect donations. I felt bad that the only change I had was a quarter and I only had twenties in my wallet which I wasn't able to break at the time. Although I did buy a hotdog and pop which they were selling. Up next were the angular math rock sounds of I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can't. Honestly, I do like this sort of music sometimes and this trio of young gents performed some of the finest math-rock I've heard in a long time. I particularly liked the drummer's dynamite rhythms and his peculiar setup of his drumkit facing AWAY from the audience. Next up was one-man band indie-soul balladeer Mantler. Dressed in a white suit and wearing an ascot and yacht-man's hat, his first song was a great cover of 70's soul classic "I'll Be Around" originally done by The Spinners. With just his keyboard and its preset rhythm tracks and Mantler's vocals, his set had a mellow, relaxed, soulful vibe. Musically, he reminded me a bit of Feist. Last act of the day I caught was Stop Die Resuscitate. The trio had a member on drums, a member on programming duties and a gent on vocals/rapping duties. It was an interesting meld of hip hop influenced beats and rapping, trancey dance rhythms, and dirty, electro-grooves. I caught a few people on the park's grassy hill, dancing up a storm, and I'm almost sure if this were inside a club, the joint would be hopping. Unfortunately, I skipped out on the final acts of the day which were The Lolo Project and DD/MM/YYYY, but I'm sure there'll be a next time. By all accounts, the day was a success.

According to the ALL CAPS website the next event is scheduled for September 9th. Check back at ALL CAPS or their MySpace site for details in the coming weeks.

thecjm has a few thoughts about the show plus a link to some photos he took.

Listen: The Diableros @ MySpace
Listen: I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can't @ MySpace
Listen: Mantler @ MySpace
Listen: Stop Die Resuscitate @ MySpace
The New York Times[Bugmenot] speaks with Neko Case about what she's currently listening to and watching. A reminder that Neko Case will be performing live on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on August 30th. The Traders Den has Neko Case's Peel Session from 2000 available for download[via Largehearted Boy].

Pretty Girls Make Graves are setting their sights for a brief Canadian tour in October and November and already have dates posted at their website. Venues are still TBA, however. According to their website, they have a Toronto show scheduled for November 4th! Update: According to the band's label Matador Records, they'll be playing the El Mocambo in Toronto on November 4th with a band named A Gun Called...which is sort of a small-ish venue for PGMG, don't you think?

Pitchfork lists its 200 greatest songs of the 1960's.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Power Out

Pitchfork reported the week before last that a power outage couldn't stop Ted Leo from continuing his show and now Pitchfork points towards some video evidence. The couple of fan-shot digital video clips include a 30 second clip of "Ballad of the Sin Eater", as well as a full three-minute performance of Hugh Masekela's "Mace and Grenades". The quality of the videos aren't anything to write home about, but man can I feel the vibe. Ted Leo is the man. Ted also has a cameo in this humourous video which has been making the blog rounds.

And speaking of power outages, the 3rd anniversary of the big blackout of 2003(the one that hit the Canada/US east coast) is coming up this August 14th which reminds me that tonight(August 12th), Toronto psycho-poppers The Old Soul will be having their 2nd Annual Blackout Anniversary BBQ at The Silver Dollar which will also be CD release party for their new limited edition tour EP "She's Got Party Davis Eyes". According to Eye Weekly only a 1000 copies of the EP were made and will only be sold at Soundscapes in Toronto as well as on the band's upcoming tour. Openers for tonight's show are Victoria, BC's Run Chico Run and Vancouver, BC's Panurge.

Pitchfork reviews Junior Boys upcoming new disc "So This Is Goodbye".

Billboard has news that plus/minus(+/-) have signed with Absolutely Kosher and will be releasing it's third album, "Let's Build A Fire" on October 24th. Billboard also speaks of an upcoming east coast tour with The Wrens that's still to be announced. There's an mp3 of a track from the album available for download from the Absolutely Kosher website:

MP3: plus/minus - "Steal The Blueprints"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh, Young Lions

Bry Webb of Constantines, live on Last Call With Carson DalyThe Constantines performed "Love In Fear" live on Last Call With Carson Daly yesterday evening. Watch it here. And as bonus, watch their performance of "Young Lions/Working Full TIme" from January of this year, also on Last Call With Carson Daly which you can watch here. The boys hit the Toronto Islands this Friday August 11th for Wakestock then head to Kingston, ON the next day to headline the Wolfe Island Music Fest. [YouTube links via The Constantines LiveJournal site]

You can pre-order over at Domino Records, Junior Boys new album "So This is Goodbye" for £9.00 on cd and £11.00 on double vinyl and for doing so you'll receive a free Junior Boys 1/2 hour DJ mix CD-R, and possibly a badge! Oh, I love free stuff, although with postage and currency conversion, this is a little pricey. As I mentioned before, Junior Boys will be in Toronto for a show at El Mocambo on August 26th.

chartattack reviews the Black Heart Procession/Danielson show from last Thursday at Lee's Palace in Toronto. My reviews just a few posts before this and the consensus is that Danielson definitely stole the show.

Of course, most of you probably already know, but Cat Power will be in Toronto for a couple of solo shows on September 4th, Labour Day. She'll be at Lee's Palace and will be performing a early set at 7 pm and a late set at 10:30 pm. Tickets onsale through tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Never Play Covers

concert review: Starflyer 59, The Coast @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), August 6, 2006

Starflyer 59 at Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonBy a stroke of luck I won a couple of spots on the guestlist for this show courtesy of Chromewaves. However, I could have easily bought tickets at the door without a problem since there were barely a hundred people in the place. I couldn't even blame it being a Sunday night since Monday was a civic holiday in Ontario. I'll have to assume that Starflyer 59 just don't have that much of audience in Toronto. I wonder if the Christians flocked to see them when they played in Kitchener, ON as part of the Nidus festival a few days before? I'm barely familiar with themselves although I've heard a few songs from them and read a lot about them being part of whatever shoegazer movement exists today. Whatever miasmic, melodic guitar qualities Starflyer 59 might possess, I will say after seeing them live they are not soley a shoegazer band. I mean that in the best possible sense since, they possess a more well-rounded sound that I prefer.

For all intensive purposes, the lineup of Toronto's The Coast opening for Starflyer 59 was a good match. Both possess a certain level of shimmering guitar sounds with a good melodic sensibility. The Coast are far more Brit-centric in their sound in my opinion, and having picked up their self-titled EP at the show and listened to it several times, their sound reminds me of later-period Echo and The Bunnymen at their most melodic in it's guitars and vocals. At other times, the music's atmosphere reminds me of The Verve. Having listened to them live(now the 2nd time I've seen them live), they have a propulsive sound in it's rhythm section which somehow never seems to detract from the melodic quality of the guitar and vocals. Having seen them live during NXNE, I can only assume that the illumination on stage provided only by a string of white Christmas lights around the frontman's mic stand is a regular thing with the band. It's a nice touch and a change from the normally harsh red light that usually illuminates the stage. The only disappointment was that the sparse audience chose to sit down or stand at the back of the venue rather than approach the stage. However, with even such a mellow audience, The Coast's set was well received as I could ascertain from the applause after each song. The Coast's set ended on a propulsive tune that manage to infuse nicely into the song a few lines from Jesus and Mary Chain's "Head On"!

Although I'm not quite sure if Starflyer 59 are officially a trio, at least this night there were only three of them onstage. Seeing them live, technically I didn't consider them shoegazer. They do possess some shoegazer qualities in it's languid vocals and some fuzzy, melodic guitar tones but more often than not they approached dream-pop territory(sometimes even a more conventional melodic rock sound) and had less of that harsh quality that I usually associate with shoegazer. One of my favourite songs of the set featured a nice slightly-countryish slide guitar sound melding quite well with the song's more overt dreampop qualities. There's not much I really can say about their live show. There was little to no stage banter but otherwise the music was enough to hold my attention. However small the audience was, at least myself, my friend and the the rest of audience approached the stage for this set and I could tell that some people in the audience were already Starflyer 59 fans given some fans shouting out requests. We coaxed the band to come out to play at least one song for an encore and then the show was over. I picked up a live release of theirs(2005's "Never Play Covers") at the merch table.


Listen: The Coast @ MySpace
Listen: Starflyer 59 @ MySpace
Pitchfork reports that UK indie sensation Lily Allen has signed to Capitol in the US and she'll be releasing her debut album "Alright Still" in the US early in 2007. I'll probably have to pick this up on import(since it came out in the UK in July) because 2007's just too long to wait.

Today's issue of Pitchfork is chalk full of concert info, of which Toronto is included! Jenny Lewis will embark on a Fall tour and will be in Toronto for a show at Trinity St. Paul Church on October 7th. Rogue Wave will hit the road again and are scheduled for a stop in Toronto at Lee's Palace on September 9th with openers The Grates. DJ Shadow is making the tour rounds from August through to December and will be in Toronto for a show at Kool Haus on October 12th.

Thanks to More Cowbell for pointing out Frank Black's upcoming tour itinerary which includes a full band tour which'll hit Toronto for a show at The Opera House on October 26th.

Popmatters explores the first five albums of Jesus and Mary Chain's catalogue(which were recently reissued) and sheds light on some albums that are oft-times overshadowed by the band's debut album "Psychocandy".

Monday, August 07, 2006

Did I Step On Your Trumpet?

concert review: Black Heart Procession, Danielson, Devics, Castanets @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), August 3, 2006

Danielson @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonI'm just a tad late with this review(allergies acting up again, overall feeling a little lackadaisical over the weekend). Unfortunately, I missed first openers Castanets who are part of the Christian-friendly Asthmatic Kitty roster. I haven't heard them before so should I be disappointed that I missed them? On second thought, don't answer that. Second openers were Los Angeles' Devics. While the audience was for the most part standoff-ish during their set(not without a little coaxing from vocalist Sara Lov for the audience to come a little closer), I thought that Devics' music was the most satisfying set of the night. Suave, cinematic, and melodic, their music's not unlike say Luna at times, although Devics use of keyboards and Sara Lov's gorgeous female vocals defines a sound that's entirely their own. The most convincing song for me was the duet of Dustin O’Halloran and Sara Lov on the waltz-ian, slo-core of "If We Cannot See" that infuses the song partway through with an exhilirating ringing guitar arrangement.

It felt good to make good on a promise to myself that I'd go see Danielson live. Last time they swung through town I believe was as part of an Exclaim! concert tour several years ago. When I'd come across their music in the late 90's it was during a time that I was primarily into indiepop so I won't say I was entirely enarmored with the quirky Danielson sound. I'd even picked up one of their CD's used and subsequently sold it. Having broadened my musical horizons to an extent since the late 90's, I'm a little disappointed that I hadn't given them more of a chance then. What I've heard of their fun live show, combined with the band's Christian values(something that's of some interest to me since I'm Catholic) makes them at least something of a curiosity to me.

In retrospect, I think Danielson should have headlined this show. Their quirky, yelpy indie rock was much more suited to ending the night on a high note than actual headliners Black Heart Procession(who I'll get to later). Having seen the band's documentary "Danielson: A Family Movie" recently, I knew what to expect: matching costumes, members' onstage exhuberance, and Daniel's eccentricities. The current touring incarnation of Danielson this time included Daniel's sister Megan on keyboards, brother Andrew on drums, friend Chris on guitar and Jedidiah on bass. According to their website, the band's "still wearing their trademark hearts-on-sleeves and names on their chests. This new uniform is inspired by the drawings and colors from the artwork and the album's inspiration of creative community." Daniel's eccentric nature was illustriously displayed during his intro to "Did I Step On Your Trumpet?" when he went into a weird discussion of how the phrase could be used as an effective response to a situation. It's funny then that as he tried to warm up a trumpet he was going to use for the song, he couldn't get it to work, prompting him to say that maybe someone did step on his trumpet. Subsequently, Daniel put down the trumpent and then launched into the song, micmicing the song's trumpet arrangement vocally, to the delight of the crowd. Partway through the set between songs as Daniel changed a broken guitar string, Chris and Andrew broke into a spy-tune/surfy instrumental drums/keyboards jaunt that sent Megan off to the side of the stage watching over gleefily, barely containing her urge to dance along to the groove. Too bad I wasn't more familiar with the songs(although I'm pretty sure they peformed "Ship The Majestic Suffix") but they were all kinds of quirky fun. And there was good amount of handclapping. The most surprising thing of the set was I didn't pick up on any overtly Christian references when I figured there might at least be a few references to God or Jesus Christ. I'm not complaining one way or another, I'm just saying.

Ending off the night were the appropriately named Black Heart Procession. Piano laments augmented with appropriately sombre bits of violin, guitar and drums I was reminded a bit of Nick Cave and Tindersticks. Not to say that the band couldn't pull themselves out of the gloominess and pull off a nice up-tempo pop music jaunt. However, such excursions were definitely in the minority as the order of the day was a low-key, sad-sounding set. It's interesting that Black Heart Procession got some of the most vocal audience responses of the night(particularly between songs) although I'm not sure if it was alcohol talking, impatience or if it was genuine fandom. I prefer to think it was the last factor. An interesting set overall, but as I'd mention above, I'd have preferred that Danielson had headlined cause I was sort of getting sleepy during Black Heart Procession's set.

Listen: Castanets @ Myspace
Listen: Devics @ MySpace
Listen: Danielson @ MySpace
Listen: Black Heart Procession @ MySpace

cleverLazy recounts a spontaneous group trip to Brooklyn several years back when she experienced the gloriousness of a Danielson show and she also shares a recent interview she conducted with Daniel of Danielson.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summertime, and the living "ain't" easy

What better example to illustrate the importance of conserving energy than to prevent the band you're going to see live having to cancel the gig because the electricity in the club went out due to an overload of the electrical grid. Pitchfork reports that that was what happened on August 1st when Sleater Kinney was suppose to perform at Washington DC's 9:30 Club. But the gals will be making up the time tonight(August 3rd) at 9 pm EST at same venue and the whole thing will be broadcast live(and subsequently archived) by NPR. Thank God it's a bit cooler today and the outlook for the weekend is good. Anyone see any tornados yesterday?

In advance of their set tonight at Lee's Palace, I point you to a couple articles about Danielson over at Eye Weekly and chartattack. Can't wait to see 'em tonight. I'm not entirely familiar with them. Back in the late 90's I'd actually discovered them(even bought a used copy of one of their older CD's, which I subsequently sold) so they've been on my radar for a while although I could never quite get used to the lead Danielson's vocals. However since seeing the Danielson documentary "Danielson: A Family Movie" during this year's NXNE film festival, which was one of the best music documentaries I've ever seen, I'm a lot more interested in seeing the band live. It should be an interesting set tonight.

Eye Weekly's reporting that The Deadly Snakes are breaking up, so I guess it must be true. I want to check out the last show, but that's my dad's birthday, but we'll see. jagoff over at Stillepost mentions that The Deadly Snakes' Andre Ethier will be performing an instore at Soundscapes on August 8th at 6pm

Billboard reports on yet another series of reissues of Elvis Costello's albums. Universal has attained the rights to his first 11 albums and will be reissuing them as what they describe as the 'definitive reissues'. I wonder how much more music Mr. Costello has lying around in the vaults. Hopefully this means I might be able to pick up some of the Costello Rhino reissues on the cheap.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Knives and Gangs

Just Keep Bloggin' has all the Emily Haines-related links you could ask for, mostly to do with Emily's upcoming solo effort "Knives Don't Have Your Back".

I see The Dears new website is up and running. The website points out that you can preview the band's new album "Gang of Losers" over at Bella Union.

Emerge confirms more acts for the Virgin Festival taking place at Olympic Island in Toronto in September. Razorlight has been added to the September 9th lineup and MSTRKRFT, Mooney Suzuki, and Born Ruffians have been added to the September 10th lineup.

Did I miss something, but are The Deadly Snakes going to be no more? I just noticed that the Horseshoe Tavern website is indicating their August 25th show at the 'Shoe as "THE LAST SHOW EVER". I notice that their official website is no longer working. Their record label Paper Bag Records mentions no news of a breakup.

According to their MySpace site, Barrie, ON's Doris Day will be in Toronto for a show at Ciao Edie on August 26th.

Damien Jurado will be in Toronto for a show at El Mocambo on October 3rd. Tickets $10.50 in advance.

Pollstar is indicating that the Ladytron/CSS show for October 2nd will be at Guvernment(rather than The Docks as had originally been planned). This suddenly is looking a lot more attractive.

The Windish Agency is listing a few new upcoming Toronto shows including Dr Octagon aka Kool Keith with Spank Rock at Circa on October 6th and Jamie Lidell at Lee's Palace on November 14th.