Friday, March 30, 2007

Shows, Shows, Shows

Concert Announcements:

May 08/07 - Daniel Johnston @ The Underground[Hamilton, ON] [%]
May 09/07 - Silversun Pickups @ Lee's Palace [*]
May 10/07 - Richard Lloyd @ Horseshoe Tavern [&]
May 17/07 - Bebel Gilberto w/ Federico Aubele @ The Mod Club [!]
May 28/07 - The Bravery w/ Guests tba @ The Opera House [!]
Jun 07/07 - The Ladybug Transistor @ venue TBD [%]
Jun 29/07 - Kid Koala @ The Mod Club [$]

! - Emerge
* - Eye Weekly
& - Horseshoe Tavern
% - Kork Agency
$ - The Windish Agency

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weekend In The City

Kele of Bloc Party on MTV Live

Straight from their warm reception at the Kool Haus on Sunday night, Bloc Party took time out of their busy schedule to fit in an appearance on MTV Live yesterday evening where they were interview and also performed several songs live for the young un's.

Watch the videos below[sorry, only Canadians will be able to view the content.]:

Video: Emily Haines interviewing Bloc Party (and honestly, she does a decent job at it)
Video: Bloc Party - "The Prayer" (live on MTV Live - March 26, 2007)
Video: Bloc Party - "Hunting For Witches" (live on MTV Live - March 26, 2007)
Video: Bloc Party - "Banquet" (live on MTV Live - March 26, 2007)

Bloc Party are on Late Show With David Letterman this Thursday March 29 and Last Call With Carson Daly on April 6.

MySpace: Bloc Party

Oh, and Kele from Bloc Party DJ'd at an afterparty at The Social in Toronto after their show at Kool Haus. I don't know about you but, indie kids watching(rather dancing to) Bloc Party's DJ set is more than a bit ridiculous.(On second thought, this video might not be from the afterparty since it looks like it's daytime when you see the windows - but the video is still funny, nonetheless.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Traffic and Weather

Fountains of WayneIn support of their new album "Traffic and Weather" which is being released on April 3, Fountains of Wayne are going on tour, stopping in Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on June 10. You can pre-order the album right now - you can also check out 30 second song clips from the album through that pre-order link or else check out a full-length song["'92 Subaru"] from the album over at their MySpace.

Billboard spoke with Carl Newman of The New Pornographers about the band's 'epic' follow-up to their last album "Twin Cinema" and reports that the band's new disc is scheduled for a release through Matador Records in late August.

According to Art & Crafts, Apostle of Hustle will be at Lula Lounge in Toronto on Friday May 18.

Ms. Neko Case guest DJ'ed on World Cafe this past Friday March 23/07 but you can catch a short segment of the show which is streaming over at NPR where Neko discusses her love for African American gospel singer Bessie Griffin.

Some live concert footage of Phoenix is currently being featured over at AOL Music's Spinner 3X3.

Y'know spring's in the air when Brooklyn Vegan's posting about NYC's upcoming summer concert season. And as I've said before, I can only hope Toronto's is just as good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pre-order Madness

The Cowboy Junkies - At The End of Paths TakenThe Cowboy Junkies' new album "At The End Of Paths Taken" is officially released April 17 in North American(April 9 the rest of the world) and you can currently pre-order it over at Maple Music - every preorder will receive a link to download exclusive Cowboy Junkies demos from this recording.

MySpace: Cowboy Junkies

Wilco - Sky Blue SkyWilco's new album "Sky Blue Sky" has it's official North American release on May 15 through Nonesuch Records but the definition of 'pre-order madness' can definitely be seen here where you can pre-order the new album with a bunch of different goodies(vinyl, t-shirts, tote bags, multimedia downloads, etc) in a variety of different combinations.

MySpace: Wilco

And was anyone else disappointed with The Arcade Fire "Neon Bible" preorder through Merge Records which had only come with a poster and a sticker(which I believe was indicated on the website at the time), although if I remember correctly the Merge website had alluded to the possibility of other additional goodies which never materialized?

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Singsong And A Scrap

ChumbawambaOMG, Chumbawamba are coming to the Hillside Festival in Guelph, ON taking place this July! According to the band's MySpace they'll be at Hillside on July 27. Other Canadian dates include the Calgary Folk Festival on July 28 and the Canmore Folk Festival on August 4. Although I have a few of their CD's, off the top of my head, I'd be hard-pressed to name any of their songs other than "Tubthumping" or their heartfelt acappella song "The Day The Nazi Died" but I must say I've always enjoyed the vocals of the band's female vocalists in particular. Their political bent might be interpreted as heavy handed, but when they wrap their songs with such terrific melodies they are hard to resist. I haven't thought about them in ages but the songs they currently have featured at their MySpace show that they haven't been resting on their laurels. Apparently now down to a four-piece, their lyrics are as biting as ever like in the 1950s-ish sounding "Tony" which utilizes the lyrical format of doo-wop to criticize British PM Tony Blair. Even if I'm not attuned to the historical background of "Smith and Taylor" off the band's 2006 album "A Singsong And A Scrap", there's no doubting the song's irrestible melodies and vocals. According to their MySpace, Chumbwamba also have a recently released live album entitled "Get On With It" which features the band's allegorical tale against consumerism entitled "Buy Nothing Day".

Canadian Tour Dates:
- Jul 27/2007 - Hillside Festival (Guelph, ON)
- Jul 28/2007 - Calgary Folk Festival (Calgary, AB)
- Aug 04/2007 - Canmore Folk Festival (Canmore, AB)

MySpace: Chumbawamba
YouTube: Chumbawamba - Bankrobber (Clash cover - live)
YouTube: Chumbawamba - Coal Not Dole (live)
YouTube: Chumbawamba - The Cutty Wren (live)
YouTube: Chumbawamba - On Ebay (music video)
YouTube: Chumbawamba - She's Got All The Friends (music video)
YouTube: Chumbawamba - Tubthumping (music video)
Lyrics: The Chumbawamba Lyrics Page

Thursday, March 22, 2007

There Is A Light

Great Lake Swimmers on MTV Live

Great Lake Swimmers were on MTV Live yesterday. GLS' Tony Dekker talked about the new album "Ongiara" then him and the band performed new songs "Your Rocky Spine", "I Am A Part Of A Large Family" and "There Is A Light". (Sorry, I think only Canadian residents will be able to view this.) I found the first 2 songs more 'uptempo' than I'm used to hearing GLS. The third song was more how I like GLS - hushed, tranquil, and atmospheric. I'm looking forward to seeing Tony and co. when they come to Church of the Redeemer in Toronto on April 14[two shows scheduled, one at 6 pm and the second at 9 pm - get tickets while they're still available]. Check GLS' MySpace or band website for more tour dates.

The new GLS album, entitled "Ongiara", will be released on March 27th 2007 in Canada (two weeks later in Europe, and in May in the U.S.).

Tony spoke to The Star Phoenix about the experience of recording the new album in " abandoned grain silo on the outskirts of Port Colborne, Ont., near Lake Erie in the rural area where he spent his youth."[via Largehearted Boy] Hamilton, ON's View Magazine also spoke to Tony.(Hope I can make it to GLS' show in Hamilton at Pepper Jack's tomorrow.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Get Behind Me Satan

A bunch of websites recently jumped the gun with announcing a White Stripes tour which turned out to be a mistake(apparently 2005 tour dates had been posted in error as the band's upcoming tour), but Brooklyn Vegan points out that the band posted a message on their website which expressed that although they haven't confirmed tour routing yet, their upcoming tour will include "...all 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada, as well as the remaining 16 states of the United States the band have yet to play." Canadian White Stripes fans can rest assured.

Stereogum points to another Feist 'webisode', this time for her cover of Nina Simone's "Sea Lion Woman", a song included on Feist's upcoming album "The Reminder".

Wayne Petti will be performing an instore set of his troubadour alt-country stylings at Criminal Records in Toronto on March 25 at 4 pm[via Stille Post]. He starts a tour of the Golden Horseshoe at the end of the month and will be in Toronto at the Rivoli on March 29.

Pitchfork announced a bunch of North American Modest Mouse tour dates this morning(which didn't originally include Toronto) but booking agent Inland Empire Touring indicates that Modest Mouse will be in Toronto for a show on April 24 at (of all places) Hummingbird Centre. For the best deal in town, you can pick up the band's new album "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank" at HMV for $9.99.

The likeminded The Russian Futurists will be opening for Junior Boys when they come to The Mod Club in Toronto for a show on April 5. [via The Russian Futurists' MySpace]

According to booking agent The Windish Agency, blog faves Fujiya & Miyagi(whom I've yet to hear) and Au Revoir Simone(whom I've only heard sporadically) are on the bill with Sweden's Peter Bjorn & John(whom I've hardly heard at all) at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on May 6, 2007(and don't be confused by the band's MySpace which lists the show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre being in Phoenix, Arizona).

A gem of a discovery for me over the last few days has been Victoria, BC's Himalayan Bear who perform forlorn minimalist pop songs that remind me of Jens Lekman. Check out their MySpace. They'll be opening for Frog Eyes at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto on May 24.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Who Do You Love

Ted Leo and The PharmacistsThe new Ted Leo and The Pharmacists album "Living With The Living"(Touch and Go) is out tomorrow in Canada. Ted Leo is featured in the new issue of Punk Planet(print magazine) where he discusses touring, politics and the "power of song to create change". Chartattack had a Q & A with Ted recently while Pitchfork kept things more casual and picked Ted's brain for his favourite music and such. To get you in the mood for the new album, here's some live video of Ted performing a few of the new songs solo:

YouTube: Ted Leo - 'A Bottle of Buckie' (live solo @ AOL The Interface)
YouTube: Ted Leo - 'Who Do You Love' (live solo @ AOL The Interface)

The full Interface session can be heard/download here. Video from the session(including Ted interviewing for a Job at AOL) can be seen here.

AOL Spinner is also currently streaming "Living With The Living" in its entirety.

Of course, there's Ted Leo's MySpace where you can listen to several tracks off the new album.

Ted speaks out about being a vegan.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists will be in Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on May 2, tickets onsale now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I know there's countless SXSW experiences to be read, but you must be kidding if you think I'm gonna list them all. Some Canadians made it down to the fest though and I've posted some links below. Maybe I'll make it down to SXSW some day(something which I shouldn't necessarily have to think about if only NXNE could get it's act together and become more comparable to SXSW).

Ben Rayner of The Toronto Star lists his Best of the Fest picks of this year's SXSW.

Chromewaves gives his rundown of his SXSW experience: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Stuart Berman of Eye Weekly gives his rundown of SXSW: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Closer to home, the Zoilus-sponsored Queen West West Equitable-Development Beach Partee at the Gladstone in Toronto goes down tonight. Not merely just for fun although fun is definitely a must, the show is for a good cause. Proceeds go to homelessness-aid organizations PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre), and Na-Me-Res. Full details at Zoilus. The show will feature Blocks Recording Club artists The Phonemes, Bad Bands veterans Garbage!Violence!Enthusiasm!, Ghostlight and an improv group featuring John Oswald, Scott Thomson, Eric Chenaux and Jake Oelrichs, plus a cameo appearance by Tomboyfriend (whose lead singer was lead organizer on the event), tracks from DJ Misty Rock'n'Roll, and quite possibly between-set dance lessons. I'll likely not make it down for the event, but after hearing some song samples of tomboyfriend over at their MySpace and reading about them over at Zoilus they seem like loads of fun.

chartattack alludes to the fact that The Shins(who played a sold out show in Toronto at Kool Haus yesterday night - umbrella eyes has some photos) who will be on the festival circuit this summer, might make it back to "one of the late summer events on this side of the border." Could they be talking about the Virgin Festival in Toronto in September perhaps?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Hope Edition

concert review: My Latest Novel @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), March 12, 2007

My Latest Novel @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

Prior to Clinic's set at Lee's Palace a few nights, earlier that night I checked out Scotland's My Latest Novel at Horseshoe Tavern. With my CMW schedule last week already picked out, I missed the band's headlining set at The Drake on March 9. They were booked to play a late night headlining set at Kathedral on March 10 and I'd headed to the venue that night after The Pipettes show at Rivoli only to find out My Latest Novel's set had been cancelled. Ultimately, everything came down to me catching My Latest Novel at the Horseshoe on Monday night. Fortunately I was able to see them on Monday night and even though it was only a half an hour set it was so totally worth it. With the pastoral vocals of lead vocalist Chris Deveney over the exquisite folk-pop instrumentation, the songs melodies revealed themselves beautifully. For many of the songs, violinist Laura McFarlane's pretty violin arrangements were in my opinion a central part of their sound, while keys and xylophone fleshed ou the sound further. While My Latest Novel are purveyors of the great Scottish pop traditions they also utilized somewhat less pop conventions like spoken word verses and extended gradually louder codas. The band performed songs off their debut album "Wolves"(Bella Union) but also introduced at least one new song which unfortunately I don't recall the name of although it likely could be "I Declare A Ceasefire" or "If The Accident Will" which were a couple of new songs the band played in Aberdeen, Scotland recently and which will be included on the band's second album according to a post at their MySpace. Not necessarily grandiose(thankfully), but very much expressive, My Latest Novel make pop songs that make one feel.

Here are my photos from the show.

MySpace: My Latest Novel

Concert Announcements:

Jun 8/07 - Dinosaur Jr @ Phoenix (onsale Mar 17/07) via

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


concert review: Clinic @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), March 12, 2007

Clinic @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

The four masked gentleman of Liverpool's Clinic came to Lee's Palace to do what they do best which is to perform their brand of sinister, maniacal, pop-abilly. The last time I saw them live was in November 2004 which I believe was the last time they were in town, and they absolutely slayed the capacity crowd. This time around, dressed in burgundy hospital scrubs and white masks with black tophats, musically it was just more of the same, and therein lay the problem. Overall, the band had their moments and at least some of crowd was into it, but it was a reserved excitement which I thought was due to Monday night doledrums(on the part of the crowd) and that Lee's was maybe only 70 % at capacity. The set plus encore was about an hour but with one song seguing into the next for almost the entire set, only broken up when members of the band switched instruments, the set flew by. Without any sort of interesting lighting effects or screen projections and with the band projecting little to no emotion[at the very least, the masks hid the band's facial expressions], there was little on stage to keep me visually interested. I think I would have preferred dim lighting[at the expense of me taking decent non-flash photos] because at least the band draped in shadows might have created a little more of a creepy atmosphere. Disappointing. Chartattack has a similar opinion of the show. I think maybe I should have went to see Dean and Britta at The Mod Club[see chromewaves' review] or Jenn Grant at Cameron House instead.

My photos from the show to come.

Unfortunately, I missed openers Uncut's set due to checking out Scotland's My Latest Novel's early set(and also free) at Horseshoe Tavern. Review/photos of that show to come soon, but it was a terrific set.

MySpace: Clinic
belletristic impressions had a Q & A with Jenn Grant prior to Canadian Music Week last week. chartattack has a couple of photos from her CMW set.

Pitchfork directed us to a "webisode" of Feist's "My Moon My Man" which features the song along with footage of Feist and her band in the recording studio as well as clips from previous Feist videos. Blacking Out The Friction was one of the lucky few to catch Feist's secret, intimate gig at The Music Gallery last week when she previewed songs off her soon-to-be released new album "The Reminder"; he even snuck a photo(tsk, tsk).

Sub Pop reminds us that The Shins are on Late Night With Conan O'Brien tomorrow night[ie March 14].

Concert Announcements:
Mar 15-16/07 - The Zoobombs @ The Silver Dollar [#]
Mar 27/07 - Amiina @ Rivoli (moved from The Music Gallery) (sold out?) [&]
Mar 29/07 - The Rheostatics @ Horseshoe Tavern [!]
Apr 16/07 - Interpol @ Element [Kitchener, ON] [*]
Jun 19/07 - "The True Colors Tour" w/ Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Harry, Erasure, Margaret Cho, The Dresden Dolls, The Gossip, The Misshapes @ Molson Amphitheatre [%]

& - The Music Gallery
# - Stille Post
! - Horseshoe Tavern
* - Pitchfork
% - Pollstar

Monday, March 12, 2007

They Are The Pipettes

concert: The Pipettes (as part of Canadian Music Week) @ Rivoli(Toronto, Ontario), March 10, 2007

Rose and Becki of The Pipettes @ Rivoli: photo by Michael Ligon

I was one of the lucky ones to catch The Pipettes(as part of Canadian Music Week) at the Rivoli this past Saturday. However, rather than go into a regular review here's the text of my comments about the show I posted on a couple of websites:

What I posted on Stille Post after coming back from The Pipettes show on Saturday night:
Just came back from the show at the Rivoli. I left right after The Pipettes' set because I was gonna check out a couple more bands down the street at Kathedral(only to find out once I got to Kathedral that the headliner cancelled - I didn't end up going back to the Rivoli).

First of all the 12:30 am set time for the Pipettes was more like after 1 am. I got to the Rivoli about a quarter after midnight only to have to wait in a TICKETHOLDER lineup for 45 minutes. Someone said that the people inside prior to midnight had to be cleared out before ticketholders for The Pipettes would be let in. I was about 3/4 of a way back in the line and by the time I got inside and to the ticket person, the door guy had to cut off the line because there was suppose to only be 100 people inside the back room(including staff). He said something about he was only following orders and that even people who'd bought tickets MIGHT NOT get in because of the 100 person capacity rule and would likely be refunded their money. At that point, I almost didn't care about getting in but fortunately I overheard the door guy being told that they could let another 20 people in, and well long story short, I got in. Funny, once I got in and seeing most people crowded to the front of the stage(and people along the sides of the room), the room seemed only half full. Which makes me wonder why the 100 person capacity was established. And the show itself: it had it's moments, the girls were pretty(the brunette was cute and she played keyboards!), "Pull Shapes" was great, the girls dance moves were fun....but one thing I didn't bowl me over as much as I thought it would.

What I wrote over at BlogTO in response to Beth's review of the show:
It was a great, fun show although I came out of the show not liking their music as much as I thought I would. I really like the song Pull Shapes but I'm probably in the minority here but I think I prefer them on record more than live. I'd agree that part of the live act was too cute/over the top for me but musically they put a decent spin on the girl group genre. Musically, they didn't stray that far from a genuine girl group sound. Their revisionist spin on the genre is far more subtle(maybe in the lyrics perhaps ie the riot grrrl punk & feminist ideals you mention) in my opinion.

To add to that last thought, I'd been listening to The Aislers Set on my mp3 player all that night before the show. If ever there was a band who melded riot grrrl punk aesthetic/ideals with
lovely girl group pop melodies in a totally unique and fresh way it was/is The Aislers Set. The Pipettes take a far more conventional approach to girl group music in my opinion akin to say the song "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman. Pristine pop melodies yes, and I've always appreciated the girl group genre, from The Supremes to The Ronettes. In a live setting, The Pipettes put on a great dance party but I honestly don't know how often I could listen to The Pipettes' sugary sweetness(the melodies at least - I am aware of some of their lyrics) without it leaving a bad taste. I am hopeful though that The Pipettes have a life after their debut album "We Are The Pipettes" given what Rose said during an interview over at Cokemachineglow about what's in the band's future:
There will definitely have to be musical development – we don’t want to end up, like some other bands, as a horrible pastiche of ourselves. Definitely not. This album, and this style will only act as a foundation… we might try different sounds, production or even re-evaluating all of our roles in the band.

Check out my three photos from the show.

YouTube: The Pipettes - Pull Shapes (music video)
YouTube: The Pipettes - Judy (music video)
YouTube: The Aislers Set - Hit The Snow (live at Williamsburg Publik House - Brooklyn
Mar 29 2003)

YouTube: Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know (music video)
YouTube: The Supremes - Baby Love (television appearance)
YouTube: The Ronettes - Be My Baby (television appearance)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

CMW - March 9, 2007

concert review: Canadian Music Week in Toronto, March 9, 2007

1)The Besnard Lakes, Rock Plaza Central, Wayne Petti, Woolly Leaves @ Lee's Palace

Wayne Petti @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

I'd unfortunately missed Baby Eagle's set and only caught a few songs of Woolly Leaves acoustic country-folk but did manage to catch Cuff The Duke's Wayne Petti's set in its entirety. I was already a fan of Cuff The Duke's brand of alt-country, a band who put an interesting spin on country music with an interesting, sometimes artier interpretation but always had a knack for writing a good melody. Wayne's solo material maintains that melodicism with great success. He even tried to get the audience along for a sing-along which he achieved with at least partial success. Torontonians might not dance but they can definitely sing.

Rock Plaza Central @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

Rock Plaza Central definitely had a more energetic show this time around compared to their opening set for the Apples In Stereo at Lee's Palace a few weeks ago. They had the benefit of a 10 pm slot, and an energetic and appreciative crowd. The simple 3-chord melodicism of "Gutterdance" with the urgency in it's instrumentation and vocals was the highpoint of the set for me. The band's 3-way brass arrangements and background vocal harmonizing also were standouts as were the drummer's fluid playing and the violinist's lovely playing. At one point or another, every one in the band had their moment to shine. Best banter of the set: one of the brass playing members of the band who took the task of renaming everyone in the group using names of members from Public Enemy. I wonder if Public Enemy(who were in Toronto for CMW coincidentally) were in the audience if they would have found the joke funny.

The Besnard Lakes @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

The Besnard Lakes performed a set of eerie-sounding rock-pop psychedelia, utilizing alternating male/female vocals from Steve Raegele's cool falsetto at times to Jace Lasek's sweet(but not too sweet) vocals. Definitely something I'd like to explore in the future. And having read reviews about the band's music(well the vocals, melodies) being compared to the Beach Boys, yes I did hear that influence but Besnard Lake's version was more eerie than I would have imagined.

Here's the rest of my photos from Lee's Palace that night.

2)The Zoobombs, Mongrels @ The Comfort Zone

The Zoobombs @ The Comfort Zone: photo by Michael Ligon

I rounded out the evening choosing to catch Dan Burke's show over at The Comfort Zone where I caught a portion of Montreal's Mongrels who played a devasting set of rock riffage led by the Janis Joplin-esque vocals of their female frontperson who wore a satin-y black/white/grey patterned dress with long black boots. Closing out the evening were Japan's The Zoobombs who didn't let the Mongrels upstage them in the least. I'd say that The Zoobombs played a much more varied sounding set this time compared to the times I'd seen them live in the past, going from garage rock, to funky jams, to something which almost aspired to hip-hop and even a song that closely resembled melodic indie rock. The Zoobombs only played about an hour with no encore, but since it was getting late I couldn't really blame them.

Here's the rest of my photos from The Zoobombs' set that night.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Same Fabric As Fabric

concert review: Under Byen, Frida Hyvönen, Ohbijou (part of Canadian Music Week) @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), March 8, 2007

Ohbijou @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

It was much nicer to see Ohbijou on a smaller stage, but then heck anything smaller than the Rose Theatre in Brampton when I last saw the band was bound to be better. To be up close and to have their dreamy pop tunes(augmented by strings, horns, guitar, keyboards and Casey's swooning vocals) wash over you is wonderful. There was some interesting percussion like when a member of the band started tapping out rhythms on a what looked like part of an air vent. Thankfully, there was some banter from Casey, even her mentioning that it was International Women's Day and prompting a shy 'woo' from her. I still think the band have to work on expressing more emotion on stage, maybe smile more often, but I guess I can't fault them for concentrating on creating good music. And the rush I get every time I hear "St Francis" in all its orch-pop glory is unsurpassed.

Frida Hyvönen @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Previous to the show, I'd probably only heard a song or two of Sweden's Frida Hyvönen(her record "Until Death Comes" released through Secretly Canadian) and hadn't given it a second thought but I'll say live, just her and her electric piano, she puts on an entertaining show. Protypically Swedish, she is blonde and leggy and even if she gave off a certain eccentric/flaky vibe, there was no doubt that when she wants to she get's in a zone and expresses a lot of sincere emotion in her vocals and piano playing. The obvious(but also quite appropriate) comparison is Tori Amos, as Frida's vocals/piano playing were infused with a dynamic quality. But if Tori was/has been accused of a certain pretentiousness at least in her vocals, Frida's are far less affected but passionate nonetheless.

Under Byen @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Topping off the evening in fine fashion was Denmark's Under Byen(signed to Paper Bag Records) in Canada. There was a smorgasbord[ok, it's a Swedish term, I know] of musical influences in their music that at various times reminded me of Sigur Ros[instrumentation], Bjork[vocals] and trip-hop[rhythms]. I see that me and Eye Weekly's Liisa Ladouceur were on the same wavelength. I wish their vocalist would stand out at the front of the stage though rather than being flanked by the band around her, but it was a interesting setup. The double drumkit setup(with a male AND female drummer) to the right of the stage was spectacular. Overall, the way the vocals, percussion, strings, keyboards, and other instrumentation came together combined with the great screen projections / light effects was simply amazing. According to their setlist, they only played eight songs, but over the course of an hour it was a more than satisfying introduction to the band.

Here are my photos from the entire night.

Check out Chromewaves for his review and photos.

Update: Chartattack graded Under Byen, Frida Hyvönen, and Ohbijou's performances.

MySpace: Ohbijou
MySpace: Frida Hyvönen
MySpace: Under Byen

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shows, Shows, Shows

Concert Announcements:

Apr 06/07 - Ben Folds @ Kool Haus [@]
Apr 20/07 - The Fembots, Nathan Lawr & The Minotaurs @ The Music Gallery [;]
May 03/07 - EL-P @ The Opera House [~]
May 04/07 - The View @ Lee's Palace [#] (make-up date for cancelled March 5 date)
May 05/07 - Air @ Kool Haus [!]
May 12/07 - Pop Levi, Mando Diao, The Films @ Horseshoe Tavern [~]
May 16/07 - Ladyhawk (opening for Tapes 'N Tapes @ Lee's Palace [/]
May 19/07 - !!!(Chk Chk Chk) @ Lee's Palace [$]
May 22/07 - Bright Eyes, Gillian Welch, Oakley Hall @ Massey Hall [+]
May 25/07 - Joel Plaskett @ The Opera House [%]
May 26/07 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Kool Haus [/]
May 28-29/07 - Mystery Jets @ The Drake Underground [/]
Jun 05/07 - The National @ The Opera House [^]
Jun 11/07 - Rufus Wainwright @ Danforth Music Hall [*]
Jul 14/07 - Maximo Park @ The Mod Club [/]
Aug 05/07 - Daft Punk @ Arrow Hall [&]

@ - Rotate This
; - The Fembots @ MySpace
~ - Billions
# - The View @ MySpace
! - Brooklyn Vegan
$ - Inland Empire Touring
+ - Ground Control Touring
% - The Opera House
/ - Pollstar
^ - chromewaves
* - NOW Magazine
& - Brooklyn Vegan
Canadian Music Week started off for me with a bang yesterday evening at The Mod Club where I saw Ohbijou, Frida Hyvönen, and Under Byen. Stay tuned for a review, but in the meantime here are my photos from the show.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wandering Star

Portishead in Bristol - Feb 25, 2007

Portishead, circa February 2007. February 25, 2007 to be exact, Beth, Geoff, and Adrian of Portishead performed "Wandering Star" live in Bristol at a local pub. I think that if you look closely, you can see people in the audience shitting their pants. [via Pitchfork]

YouTube: Portishead - Wandering Star (live) - in Bristol - February 25, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Here Comes That Feeling

concert review: El Perro Del Mar, The Submarines @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), March 5, 2007

El Perro Del Mar @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

What is it about Sweden that produces such wonderful pop music? While we all wait for the next Jens Lekman release, his friend/collaborator singer/songwriter Sarah Assbring aka El Perro Del Mar is currently making a name for herself touring North America with the melancholic pop of her self-titled album. Her and her 3 piece band came to The Mod Club in Toronto this past Monday night and enraptured the audience with their sad-eyed take on girl-group pop music.

Opening the show were Los Angeles duo The Submarines comprised of John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard. Electro-pop rhythms met melodic guitar arrangements and girl/boy vocals to produce simple yet satisfying pop songs that I could easily have imagined on pop radio as much as on any indie playlist. With additional instrumentation including melodica and xylophone, there were some interesting ideas in the mix. I couldn't help but feel that even The Mod Club's stage was too big for The Submarines; their music didn't evoke anything more than pleasantness and there wasn't much to the duo's stage presence(aside from the girlish banter of the very cute Blake Hazard). Hey, pleasantness is a start and with a little more edge I could like them even more.

Contrary to the posed, made-up image of Sarah(El Perro Del Mar) that graces her self-titled album, Sarah took to the Mod Club stage casually dressed in a baggy top and black leggings with her hair longer than I'd expected. She reminded me of a young Marianne Faithfull. Her dapper 3-piece band were dressed in dark suits and ties and were seated with their instruments(keyboards/bass/guitar) to Sarah's right as Sarah positioned herself behind her mic which was located on stage on the audience's right. The set was almost entirely devoid of any banter from Sarah so all that was left for the audience to do was wallow in the sombre, pretty, and prissteen atmosphere of the music presented to us. Sarah took to the stage and graced us solo with her first song's gentle guitar strums and her fragile voice, before the band took stage for the rest of the set. It was a sequence that she'd repeat for her encore also. A good portion of the quieter songs could have quite capably been performed solo but the band's presence was most notably felt on more 'uptempo' numbers like with the lush string sound of "God Knows". I'd only recently endeavoured to listen to her music but with the songs seeping into my consciousness, I found most of the songs during the show so instantly familiar. With the set and encore at an hour length or so, it might have seemed brief but I felt it was more than satisfying.

Photos to come. Update: Here they are.

In the press, The Seattle Weekly and The San Francisco Examiner get personal with Sarah.

MySpace: The Submarines
MySpace: El Perro Del Mar

Monday, March 05, 2007

Around The World

My internet went down over the weekend inexplicably. I don't realize how much I want/need it until it's gone. I was forced to buy my Feist tickets(for the May 26 show at Massey Hall) from Ticketmaster over the phone rather than online through the Massey Hall website which I usually'd prefer. I also missed the stream of the Wilco album entitled "Sky Blue Sky" on the band's website on Saturday night; I didn't know about the event until I read Pitchfork today. Stereogum had also mentioned it and by the comments left it seems that the opinion on the new album is split; someone mentioned, 'too adult contemporary'. The only song I've heard off the new album so far is "Impossible Germany" and it's one of the smoother sounding Wilco songs I've heard, but it's also one of the most melodic ones and I really like it.

From Blown Speakers points out that Daft Punk could be touring North America in July and August including stops in Canada(Toronto included). Info hasn't been confirmed yet apparently, and the source of the info is the Coachella Message Boards. But it looks like a possibility.

chartattack spoke to frontman Don Matsuo of Japan's The Zoobombs about of all things his addiction to donuts. The band has a string of Ontario dates lined up for the next few weeks include a 3 night stint in Toronto at The Comfort Zone from March 8-10. Lineup info over at Stille Post courtesy of Dan Burke. And he really wants you to go or else.

BlogTO and Chromewaves caught Swedish artist El Perro Del Mar's instore performance at Soundscapes yesterday. She performs at The Mod Club tonight with openers The Submarines.

Pollstar points out that Page France and Headlights will be at the Tranzac on May 5, although take this info as tentative. The Tranzac website lists an Over The Top Fest BBQ scheduled for that date but doesn't list any bands. The Over The Top Fest website nor Headlights' website/MySpace doesn't list the show at all. Page France's Myspace lists the show as them and Matt and Kim at Tranzac on May 5. Pollstar is known to be inaccurate but I'm really hoping they're right; Headlights ARE touring with Page France. I'm just hoping this includes Toronto. I'd really like to see Headlights live.