Going to a show like this is undeniably fun. As Chromewaves said, it was great to see so many different groups of people sweat exactly the same amount. Other than Daft Punk a few years back, this was the only show where so much evaporated sweat was gathering above our heads that the ceiling and ductwork had pure sweat condensation saturated all over the venue. Near the end of the show, it was literally raining sweat. Well more like spitting sweat. From the ceiling. LCD Soundsytem: the shows where 5% of the sweat is yours.
They played some classiques and some solid new offerings from their new record, This is Happening. This is fun, repetitive, backbeat-based music with a scholarly knowledge of rock’s broad history. Simultaneously immature and mature, smart but primal.
I saw Bristol’s own Fuck Buttons last night at the El Mocambo with electrofriend Eric. You don’t like their name, and there’s just too many tiger and wolf shirts. So in an effort to freshen up the adjective onslaught similar to most aloof music bloggers, it’s fair to say that their music is a geographic compromise between the rock sounds of Brooklyn and Paris, falling fortunately right around Bristol. Noise, repetition, hypnosis, acoustic drumless, analog thru MIDI, fuzz, Gameboy music and assorted childhood musical toys. Song “Olympians” is a reasonable look at their more structured songs. 8 minutes of repetition and minimal dynamic can be trying, but I like the message. Good show.
Friend/commenter Eric earned a big victory – he invited me and a buddy to Telefon Tel Aviv at the ElMo last night. It’s not often that I go into a show knowing admittedly little about the band – a simple 30 minute album scan the afternoon before the show.
But goooooooorsh, it was amazing. A perfect mix of modern analog pad sounds, M83 inspired slappy drum tracks, a healthy amount of glitch, and the washiest indistinguishable vocals I’ve ever heard for some well placed atmosphere.
Add in some rewarding stranger exchanges, $10 pitchers next door, a beautiful dinner at the new Caplansky’s, and an Annex hangout, pretttty pretttttty prettttty great. Predicting future influence on a powersound I’m working on.
One of the nicest first verses I’ve heard in a longk time. Rock-based songs are always best and most successful when the verses are catchier than the choruses. Always. I have a soft spot for songs that inherently demand a large venue with bigness and a proportionate amount of verb, especially in downtempo parts. Beautiful video, Jamie.
Me and some other lovelies are going to Lee’s Palace for a brilliant show tonight. Friends in Bellwoods 2 is a compilation of rare and unreleased tracks from a variety of Toronto’s best/emerging bands and musicians. All proceeds from the sale of the compilation go to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto. Don’t you find it inspiring that musicians that can barely pay the rent still pour their art into supporting a good cause? Posty sticky: we all have few to no excuses.
I’m sure many have thought/declared/sermonized this, but I find this newish group of Toronto bands to be a new Arts & Crafts ish family. The Bellwoods family. Ohbijou, Bruce Peninsula, The Acorn (although from Ottawa), etc. And what a great family it is. Authenticity, warmth, uniqueness, and beautiful melodies return to Toronto. Not to belittle Kevin Drew, he’s just an easy target. I love Broken Social Scene, but it’s just nice to see a beautiful and original group of bands start up again. The only interesting impact of this is the apparent musical nepotism. It seems to be the only way bands can be successful in Canada anymore. Nothing wrong with friends, and birds of a feather. Maybe it’s a great thing. Better 5 bands than 1 band breaking through. But there are also great bands that may not have clear associations with other bands that deserve much more attention. Maybe we should just follow the advice of our dear friend Beck.
Going to see the fuss aka Rural Alberta Advantage at the Horseshoe tonight. Should be great, with the Canadiana references shpackled across every song title, and a haunting resemblance to Neutral Milk Hotel singer Jeff Magnum. I will witness the cult that are Neutral Milk Hotel fans swoon over the literary, ironic whines. Here’s a lovely tune.
Brother Dave and I have been waiting longtime for this sight – Nova Scotia’s Mardeen on the Horseshoe stage. Had a quick bite at Shanghai Cowgirl and made it over for an early 9PM set, advertised as a pre NXNE show. This was the type of show that you’ll tell your friends in 2-3 years that you saw this band in front of a dozen people with just you and your brother geeking out at the front of the stage. And may or may not have been screaming lyrics and stomping your unsupportive sneakers until thin and worn soles remain.
New songs sound great, but just wanted more songs. Opening slots + anthemic songs make Mike go something something.
Thank you Toronto. Thank you for proving to me that on a sweaty dense Monday on Sherbourne, you can outcrowd some big Montreal shows. Quite a night ladies. Phoenix @ The Phoenix were literally flawless. With a drummer that completely took me for a long hard triple take. When I think of Phoenix, I’d assume their drummer would be the 7A open handed quick and tight kind of drummer. But this guy BASHES. Bat for bashes. garr. He’s a Bonham-Grohl school style drummer which made their stage presence go from a 4 to an 8. Thomas Mars’ voice feels like a ctrl+c ctrl+v from CD to stage, almost scary perfect.
I liken Phoenix to a French Sloan around their One Chord to Another / Navy Blues days, buuuuut catchier uppier rockier tunes on the whole. It’s just greatunashamed Beatles revival, so down. Fellow concertmate Hunter and I agreed on the French pop aesthetic – slightly femininized, kiddy innocence and fun, touch of silly, catchy as eff, already signed up. Lead single 1901 off new record Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the Feel Good Hit of the Summer.
Here’s 1901 again, because it has already clinched its position as #1 Mike summersong.
Saw them last night at Sala Rossa. I was a bit hesitant because this sort of stuff isn’t always up my alley. They are of the experimental/noise variety. Went with Chrismyman, Alex, and Ari. I like tempo and melody too much too often, but I was pleasantly surprised. Technical skill, dynamic, tempo changes, and knowing when to kick into something groovy made the Japanese darlings a joy to watch. Plus who doesn’t like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon beards. Respect.
Ktooooooown! Kickin it. It was my first time at the steadily amazingly improving KRock Centre, and me, Cara and the Don had a great time. Neil was perfect - ratty white tshirt, no pick, standardly great vocals. I was hoping for more classiques and less electric car new album mediocrity, but he still gave us more than a handful of the favourites. Year long Neil Young openers Everest were a massively large pleasant surprise – killer voices, Cardinology friendly Americana, great live chops.
At the bar at Atomica pre-show. Quickly becoming one of my Kingston go-tos. Wood fired proscuitto pizza, and the mushroom bruschetta is easily one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had in my life.
The Don, still proudly wearing the Iron Ring, feeling out the greatness.
And some hilarious videography c/o yours truly and YouTube – Cinnamon Girl and Needle and the Damage Done.
When You Dance I Can Really Love Johnny Magic Everybody Knows This is Nowhere Spirit Road Pocahontas Cortez the Killer Cinnamon Girl Mother Earth Hit the RoadThe Needle and the Damage Done Light A Candle Lost In Space Heart of Gold Old ManLike a Hurricane Get Behind the Wheel Just Singing A Song All along the Watchtower Rockin in the Free World
Slower marquee day for Friday’sSxSW festival. Lots of repeats from yesterday (Beach House, Airborne Toxic Event, etc) which makes sense, but some goodies today too.
Shearwater – #1 for the day. Tea and dry biscuits and aristocracy and serious rock. They made my picky 2008 top 10 list too. Dinosaur Jr. – hoping Lou Barlow plays solo stuff, or J Mascis shows me his guitar and/or split ends. Glasvegas – I would only stay if it was low-maintenance entry. Lineups and inevitable sillyrabbits warrant instant departure. Silversun Pickups – guilty pleasure band of the day. allowed. Would like to hear how their new record sounds too, the single is expected 4chord radio ready alright. Ben Harper and RELENTLESS7 – that’s easy. Third Eye Blind – Swear to nature, this band is one of the most sought after of the entire festival. Guilty pleasure band already taken. Nostalgia band of the day allowed? Cause you tell me you don’t want to scream out Graduate or Losing a Whole Year while simultaneously ignoring lyrics about Kentucky Fried Chicken and shower petting. I miss good 90s power pop, e.g. Sloaner. Doug Benson (comedian) – friends with Patton Oswalt, thus worthy.
An improved list of my SxSW drooly bands. Thursday is much better than Wednesday, makes sense since things really start today.
K’Naan – want to see some original dusty foot freestyling again. Young Galaxy – for a psychadelidose. Big Boi – c’mon. As Tall As Lions – unashamed, heart on your sleeve atmospheric rock. Acorn + good emo. Arkells – we played with these guys 2 years ago and they were great. Good for them, deserved. equals Springsteen + Constantine. Grizzly Bear – Radiohead openers, American innovators. Sebastian Grainger - to get a better judgment as to exactly how less great it is compared to DFA1979. Two Hours Traffic – Nighthaaawwwks wins. King Khan – Just have seen one set of his online, but it was PARTY. Datarock – that would be fun, but I hope you guys ditched the jumpsuits. Passion Pit- just to do an American Apparel candid photoshoot, and dance to only the beginning of Sleepyhead. Julie Doiron - be nostalgic and hope for Eric’s Trip songs. Or any old solo songs that are wintry, depressed versions of Feist songs. Akron/Family – for my effed up show of the day. +/- – great collection of songs, a very underrated and understated band. Ohbijou – irrefutable Ontario cuteness. Dead Confederate – Darker Kings of Leon, with similar sizes of balls. Andrew Bird – he’s so cool you guys cause he says mitosis and palindromes all in one song. The Airborne Toxic Event – a highly diluted version of Interpol and U2. But if it worked out I’d probably still go. Beach House - Great hapsichordy girly Beach Boys influenced indie pop. This band is like a sweet but persistent mother. A big naggy but with a smooooth finish.
I am eternally grateful I acted quickly. The very first My Morning Jacket release I bought was a live DVD, the mythical “Live from Okonokos”. I heard recently it’s been discontinued, but legacy my friends. Jamais mort. What’s that line from Sandlot? “Legends never die”? I can’t remember. It had truthiness, dear friends.
Stay for the first minute of DVD promotion (cause you should get it!), and you’ll hear the jewels.
I definitely have a like/hate relationship with festivals. Maybe it’s cause I’m 26 and have become less tolerant of silly rabbits. Tens of thousands of them to be more hyperbolic. All random conversations end up being band naming competitions, so I say get thee. I have friends going to Bonnaroo this year that are pleading to get more people to join them. Sounds good on paper, but 4 days of scorching heat, no My Morning Jacket, and 2 nights of Phish? Mmmmmnot my sort of time when the headliners are not my go-tos. The only big act I’d truly enjoy is Wilco.
So SxSW starts today in the mecca of sweet’n'tasty Austin, TX, from now until Sunday. Every day I will show my scenester colours listing who I would run and queue to see. One of these days Alice.
Went to an early show at the Musée D’Art Contemporain De Montréal on Friday with Cara, so glad we went. One Friday evening per month, the museum features a local band with an encouragement to mingle, drink, and check out the museum itself. Kudos to MACM for trying something different. Montrealers Plants and Animals are also playing soon, will definitely be there for them.
After waiting in line for about an hour inside (with upscale lychee cocktails in tow), we just barely made it in to the 250-capacity room. A 25 ft rectangular projector screen behind them with slow-mo closeup campfires and permeable metal nets to accompany tight psychadelic rock with a falsetto that will force Beach Boys comparisons, and dare I say occasionally surpass them. Montreal seems to love Brian Wilson, and me es no complaino.