Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dears @ Sonic Boom, Toronto (February 17, 2011)

The Dears @ Sonic Boom

In celebration of their most recent full-length Degeneration Street, and touted as a comeback of sorts, The Dears played an entertaining instore set in the basement of Sonic Boom last Thursday night. With founding members and husband and wife, Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak, welcoming back into the fold were keyboardist/guitarist Rob Benvie, guitarist Patrick Kief, bassist Roberto Arquilla (who'd been in an early incarnation of the band prior to 2001), and current drummer Jeff Luciani. The band was in good spirits, especially vocalist Lightburn dressed in all black including his nerd-chic eyeglass frames. Acting like a loveable goof, Lightburn exclaimed "aww snap" when just before the band was to start Benvie was experiencing technical difficulties with his keyboards. Later Lightburn would call out Pitchfork on their recent 2.4 rating of the band's new album, then jokingly exclaimed to the audience that they're still 'indie-rock'. The band played four songs from the new album, stripping away some of orchestral/athemic qualities of their past work and the dourness of their previous album Missiles for a more upbeat direct approach. Don't get me wrong - they still sound like The Dears, Murray still sings with a certain Morrissey-inflection, and the music still has an Anglophilic feel, but the new songs I'd heard thankfully were more direct and weren't mired in cacaphonic wankery. The band ended the short but sweet set with an invigorating version of "Hate Then Love" from their album Gang of Losers.

NOW Magazine has a a clip of The Dears from the Sonic Boom instore. has a review of the show plus audio of the whole Sonic Boom instore set available for download.

Photos: The Dears @ Sonic Boom, Toronto (February 17, 2011)
MySpace: The Dears

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Preview --- The Radio Dept., Young Prisms at Lee's Palace tomorrow night

One of the most anticipated shows of the year hits Lee's Palace tomorrow night with Swedish dream-pop purveyors The Radio Dept. with what I believe will be their debut Toronto, if not Canadian, gig. Now three albums deep into their career, their most recent being last year's Clinging To A Scheme, and having recently released a restrospective collection entitled Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010, the band have quietly built a small yet fervent following, that around these parts has culminated in a sold out show at Lee's Palace tomorrow night. My favourite song by them is one of their contributions to the 2006 period - piece - with - a - post - punk - soundtrack film "Marie Antoinette":

The Radio Dept. - "Pulling Our Weight"

Do yourself a favour and show up early for openers Young Prisms all the way from San Francisco. I saw this young female-fronted five-member shoegaze outfit this past October in NYC during the CMJ festival. The band were adept in creating a hazy, guitar-drenched, melodic racket and will be a fitting opener tomorrow night. The band have been building a name for themselves since the late 2000's with a series of small releases [split cassettes, CD EP, 12 ", split 7" singles] and recently released their debut full-length last month entitled Friends For Now through Williamsburg, Brooklyn indie label Kanine Records. Check out a sampling of the band with the music video below, and some other media after that:

Young Prisms - "These Daze"

Video: Young Prisms - "Breathless" @ SMMR BMMR 8/14/10
MP3: Young Prisms - "Sugar"
MP3: Young Prisms - "Weekends and Treehouses"

If you didn't get tickets to tomorrow's sold out show at Lee's Palace, you can try catching Young Prisms earlier in the day when they play an instore at Sonic Boom at 4 pm or when they come back to town on April 21 when they play Parts & Labour with The Fresh & Onlys. Via Chromewaves.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Natural's Not In It --- Gang of Four in town this Friday; new disc "Content" just released

  Gang of Four (photo via)

The Toronto Star, chartattack, The Toronto Sun, Eye Weekly, and Spinner all have pieces on seminal post-punk outfit Gang of Four who play a show in Toronto at the Phoenix this Friday and are promoting their recently released new disc Content. They were a band that I'd caught on to about 5-7 years ago(or perhaps more) when I randomly found a copy of their Peel Sessions release, then found that the public library system in Mississauga had a copy of their retrospective collection 100 Flowers Bloom: Anthology. Over time, as luck would have it, I'd collect their albums on vinyl including a near mint copy of their debut Entertainment which I found at a local Goodwill for $2. But my interest was further piqued when the band reissued their debut album on CD in 2005, as well as the band's inclusion (with their song "Natural's Not In It") on the soundtrack of the 2006 Sophia Coppolla-directed film "Marie Antoinette". Most recently a segment of the band's song "Natural's Not In It" can be heard in of all things, a television ad for Xbox Kinect.

For the price of an e-mail , you can download the track “You’ll Never Pay For The Farm” from the new album Content - head over to the band's website.

Rural Alberta Advantage talk with AUX.TV. Watch the band's recent music video for their song "Stamp" from their upcoming new album Departing, out March 1, 2011 on Saddle Creek.

Toronto electro-rock trio Young Empires have announced they will be playing the Canadian Music Fest showcase, along with Yukon Blonde, at The Great Hall on March 10.

The pyschedelic-looking new music video from UK outfit The Go! Team is cool, but the song entitled "Buy Nothing Day", with vocals from Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, is pure pop terrificness. Best Coast are in town for a show at the Phoenix this Sunday February 6 with openers Wavves, and No Joy. The Go! Team play The Opera House in Toronto on April 10; the band's new disc Rolling Blackouts came out February 1.

Have been meaning to check out Toronto outfit Bonjay live and a probably have to skip their upcoming instore at Soundscapes on February 12(at 7 pm) since their Facebook Event Page says it's gonna be a short performance, but that doesn't mean you have to skip it. One of these days.

The Journal interviews Julie Doiron. She's at the Horseshoe tomorrow night for a show.

So long to The White Stripes.