Aug 30, 2007

Okkervil River-Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe

Okkervil River's new video from their wonderful new album "The Stage Names". I must get around to reviewing it shortly!

Aug 29, 2007

New Music (Well Sort Of), And Yes It Includes Sunset Rubdown

Anytime I post about Sunset Rubdown is a good time I believe. I have come to the conclusion that Spencer Krug is some sort of genius. So when "Random Spirit Lover" is released in October I implore you to buy it. It is quite definitely a masterpiece. An exquisite statement of brilliance. Jagjaguwar recently made a track available for consumption and it is a joy to behold. Having said that if you haven't heard "The Taming of the Hands That Came Back to Life" off the same album you are in for a treat and a half. It is my song of the year.
MP3: Up on Your Leopard, Upon the end of Your Feral Days

Band of Horses will release their much anticipated second album "Cease to Begin" on October 9 on Subpop. I loved their debut so this is definitely one to look forward to. The first song made available sounds pretty good to me.
MP3: Is There A Ghost?

I love Two Gallants. Their music is fiery, passionate and full of life and soul. They release their third album, self titled, on Saddle Creek on September 29. If you love harmonica this track will kill you, I am sure.
MP3: The Hand That Held Me Down

An album I picked up this year and have enjoyed immensely is "Aw Come Aw Wry", the 2005 release by Phosphorescent. Cut from the same cloth as Will Oldham, the music is essentially the project of Brooklyn based Matthew Houck. He has a new album "Pride" due out in a couple of months, his first for new label Dead Oceans. Here is a track to enjoy.
MP3: A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise

Here is some other music you might enjoy
MP3: Leader and the Falcon-Head of Femur
MP3: No More-Dirty Projectors
MP3: Art Isn't Real (City of Sin)-Deer Tick
MP3: To the Dogs or Whoever-Josh Ritter
MP3: Myriad Harbour-The New Pornographers
MP3: Seahorse-Devendra Banhart
MP3: Fireworks-Animal Collective
MP3: Vice Rag- A A Bondy
MP3: Apocalyptic Owl-Manatella
MP3: Sailing to Byzantium-Liars

Aug 28, 2007

Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything

I know, more Wolf Parade. But if you don't enjoy this I really can't help you. Recorded last Friday in Montreal. If we all cross our fingers at once maybe they will tour.

Aug 27, 2007

Wolfe Island Music Festival

Wolf Parade at Wolfe Island. This was perfection, but there was more, much more. Firstly, this festival is modest and relaxed, held on a small oval at the Community Centre on Wolfe Island. One small stage hosts the music and for just $20 to say it was value for money would be a massive understatement. Of course the standout was the amazing Wolf Parade. Although it was two weeks ago the memories are still vivid and I doubt I will ever forget this special night. I will discuss their magical performance first before I get to the other acts that I enjoyed. Of course you know by now that Wolf Parade have been on somewhat of a hiatus with Spencer Krug amazing us with his Sunset Rubdown work and this year Dan Boeckner giving us the stunning "Plague Park" by his "other" band Handsome Furs. In fact they hadn't played for 10 months and I was heavily anticipating what new material they would play. It turned out they would play 7 new songs (where do they find the time to write all this material) and to be perfectly honest, they all sounded quite incredible.

They opened with a new Dan song "Language City", a song of great scope and passion and then Spencer answered with "Billy J" which built and built before bursting into life. Spencer also gave us "Chinese Way" which just floored me with its epic heights of passion. "Stevie" is another delectable Spencer creation. However Dan's songs might have been even better (I know, hard to believe). "Fine Young Cannibals" was almost blues like and "Crazy Horse" was introduced as a 12 minute epic and it surely was. I can't wait to hear this in a recorded format. Of course they didn't neglect their back catalogue (although no "Grounds For Divorce"), playing "Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" and "Shine a Light" back to back which nearly caused my head to explode. Then when they played "I'll Believe In Anything" I just screamed and yelled until I lost my voice. As I caught the ferry back to Kingston I came to the conclusion that this band and all its myriad outlets produce music that fills my heart like no other. They just have it, that monumental combination of pulsating rhythms, heartfelt lyrics and amazing passion. Dan Boeckner is so incredibly cool on stage yet also plays with astounding heart. Spencer Krug is concentrating so hard I wonder whether his heart can take it. Dante DeCaro is possibly the coolest bassist on the planet, driving the rhythms with drummer Arlen Thompson. And Hadji Bakara weaves his magic on keyboards to add yet another edge. Yes, yes, yes this IS the finest and most talented band on earth. End of story.

Set List (some previous titles in brackets)
Language City (Long and Bitter Road)
Billy J (Call it a Ritual)
It's A Curse
Chinese Way (You Will Remember Me Most By My Funeral)
Soldiers (Beds Exploding)
Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
Shine A Light
Stevie (On the Radio)
We Built Another World
Fine Young Cannibals
I'll Believe in Anything
Crazy Horse (I Wish You Wouldn't Cry)

Fancy Claps

Some other reviews-
Chart Attack
Radio Free Canuckistan

Trendwhore has a stack of new MP3s to enjoy.

Apostle of Hustle were interesting and entertaining. Opening with "My Sword Hand's Anger" and "National Anthem of Nowhere" was a great start, although I sometimes felt that some songs meandered after that. Although Andrew Whiteman is a mesmeric guitarist sometimes he goes a bit overboard with the pyrotechnics. But closing with "Haul Away" brought all the loose ends back together nicely.

I was very excited to see Born Ruffians and they didn't disappoint. Although just a 3 piece they manage to keep every song varied with their syncopated rhythms. Their songs are surprisingly complex and the ones they played that are going to be included on their debut album showed that they have certainly developed their songwriting since their first EP (which was pretty damn good anyway). This band is very exciting and I will watch their progress with interest.

I really love "Oh, My Darling" the new album from Basia Bulat. But I have to say that her live performance added even further to my enjoyment of her music. Quite possibly it was the fact she had a veritable army on stage with her. I think I counted 10 at one stage. I saw 2 violas, a violin, cello and even a flute. This added even greater depth and scope to her already impressive blend of folk and pop. Basia has a beautiful voice and it floated across the field, delighting the mid afternoon audience. I think she is a major talent who can only get better.

I also caught Weeping Tile (apparently they are big in Canada, but I don't see what the fuss is, very dull AOR rock), Holy Fuck (very impressive, but like all electronic music repetition sets in very quickly) and Holy Fuck leader Brian Borcherdt (he was extremely impressive, playing a short set of stark and moving slow numbers). Surely a day I will never forget, a day of great music, topped off by the majestic genius of Boeckner, Krug & Co.
Wolf Parade at Wolfe Island

I know it's a little late, but I just got back. To see a band of such amazing talent walk on stage and then play brand new songs sent shivers down my spine. This song is called Language City. I also believe that Dan's talent might be as prodigious as Spencer's. Holy cow, what a band, what a night. Will have a full review shortly.

Aug 26, 2007

Back to Reality...

The worst thing about returning from a holiday is facing the reality of the real world. No more comfy hotels, no more new sights and sounds, no more carefree days of pleasure. But I am back, so I thought I would share with you some of the things I have been up to. Firstly, Portland, Oregon. A city quickly becoming a personal favourite. Now it's not a city with major tourist attractions, in fact it's comfortably medium sized. But it is a city with plenty of big time sophistication, but without the crowds. It is undeniably friendly, has great food and shopping and lots of great neighbourhoods to explore. It is also becoming a mecca for great music. Unfortunately one of the best music stores I have ever visited is about to close its doors on August 31. Music Millennium in the Northwest District will be no longer, due to rising rents and falling CD sales. Sad, but seemingly inevitable in this age of digital music sales. Anyway I had a wonderful time in Portland and was able to see Bishop Allen at the Doug Fir Lounge (they were great fun) and attend a day at the Pickathon music festival. This festival was truly special, a great setting and Po'Girl and Horse Feathers were truly sublime. I plan to write a more in depth review of this festival in the coming days.

Now Toronto feels like a big city. I really enjoyed my short stay there. It is very easy to get around, there is plenty of great shopping and being in Canada, there are always plenty of great bands coming through. Very clean and friendly, it is certainly a city I could easily return to.

Sunset on Lake Ontario. On the way to Wolfe Island from Kingston. Kingston was a wonderful surprise. For a short time the capital of Canada, this small city has oodles of history and charm and a gorgeous setting. This was fitting because the Wolfe Island Festival was truly exceptional. Of course the freakish talents of Wolf Parade were the stunning highlight. It seems completely unfair for one band to have not one, but two such uniquely talented songwriters. This day was truly special to me and I will give a complete review very shortly.

Montreal. A slice of France in North America. Plenty of history, yet very modern, this city has plenty to offer. Of course there are so many wonderful bands coming out of there at the moment, so a trip there is definitely worth it. I managed to catch The Winks and Oh No Oh My, together, whilst I was there. Both were excellent. Also the city has a wonderful subway system. Sydney, are you taking note?

The rest of my trip was a journey through the great west of the USA. Spectacular scenery, small town Americana, history and enormously friendly people were a refreshing way to end my holiday. Pictured above are Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, bison in Yellowstone National Park and the magnificent Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Yellowstone, the world's oldest National Park is truly a spectacular sight. Words or photos can never do it justice. I also visited Salt Lake City (those crazy Mormons), Jackson Hole, Cody (founded by Buffalo Bill), the Badlands of South Dakota and Deadwood (the setting of my favourite TV show). Whilst keeping in touch with some parts of the music world, I know I have missed plenty. Of course Okkervil River and New Pornographers have released albums, so I look forward to getting to know those records better, as well as everything else that has been making news.

Aug 1, 2007

I Am A Runner and I Am My Father's Son; Or Holidays Beckon And Happiness Ensued

Hello everyone. I am very happy. Because as of tomorrow I am going on holidays for 3 weeks and my first destination is pictured above. Portland, Oregon. I first visited there in 2005 and quickly fell in love with the place. Safe, extremely friendly, environmentally sound, community minded, surrounded by greenery and mountains, great music, cool shopping, etc, etc. Luckily while I am there I will attend the Pickathon Music Festival for one day where I will catch Horse Feathers and Langhorne Slim, amongst others. Also I will see Bishop Allen and Page France at the Doug Fir Lounge which should be fun. I have been lucky to travel to various parts of the world, but I find lately I am perfectly happy to return time and again to the USA. For all its social and political problems it is, in my opinion, the friendliest country on earth and it is a country that is always exciting, makes an effort to get off its backside and achieve things. Plus the music and sport is the best there is. Hey, they invented Baseball, enough said.

After Portland it will be all new for me. I am off to eastern Canada where my primary mission is to attend the Wolfe Island Music Festival in southern Ontario. This is headlined by the mighty Wolf Parade and it is their first show in nearly a year. To say I am excited would be a massive understatement. In fact I think I might pass out at the sight of Spencer and Dan. Also playing at the festival are Holy Fuck, Apostle of Hustle, Basia Bulat, Born Ruffians, amongst others. I also am having a few days in Toronto and Montreal, two cities I have always wished to visit so this should be fun as well. To round off the trip I am having a few days through the west of the USA, taking in Mount Rushmore, Deadwood and Yellowstone National Park. All in all, a nice little trip for this humble writer. Chances are I won't go near a computer for 3 weeks, so it is good chance things will be very quiet around here for a while. I will miss Magnolia Electric Co. and Ryan Adams whilst I am away, but I think my expedition overseas will more then make up for it!

Here are some tunes I am enjoying at the moment and some from bands I am seeing soon-
MP3: Rain-Bishop Allen
MP3: Click Click Click-Bishop Allen
MP3: Blood on the Snow-Horse Feathers
MP3: Shine a Light-Wolf Parade
MP3: Junglor-Holy Fuck
MP3: My Sword Hand's Anger-Apostle of Hustle
MP3: Hat and Rabbit-Page France
MP3: Hedonistic Me-Born Ruffians
MP3: I Was A Daughter-Basia Bulat
MP3: In The Midnight-Langhorne Slim
MP3: I Live in The Mess You Are-Zookeeper
MP3: Guns of Navarone-Maritime
MP3: Thankless Marriage-Spokane
Born Ruffians - Hummingbird @ Hillside

Born Ruffians, playing at last week's Hillside Festival. I will be seeing them shortly at the Wolfe Island Music Festival, more about this shortly.