Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath w/ Julie Doiron at the Mod Club, Oct. 30th 2012

It seems like fate as IKvsDK and Tuco took to the streets on a rainy October evening for some eats at The Lakeview and a show at The Mod Club. It has been 20 years since the "last" show of The Grapes of Wrath in Vancouver but the healing power of music (and money) has conspired to bring the star-crossed talents of Kevin Kane and Tom Hooper back together again. And we fans of music, particularly Canadian music, are very very grateful for this.

According to the Grapes of Wrath site, the night promised to bring out some classic GOW tunes and a few new ones from their upcoming effort. On hand were a number of guest stars, some kept as surprises, and all skillfully captured by a CBC media truck.

I have to admit, I was stoked as I'd never seen the Grapes of Wrath and You May Be Right has turned into a sort of "comfort song" (think along the lines of comfort food) for me. Back in the days when I had all the free time and hope of a student, I, like many others, had picked out the tune for All The Things I Wasn't on the guitar and a few other GOW melodic signature tunes; these guys can write a song.

So after a pint and some victuals at the Lakeview, IKvsDK and Tuco sallied forth and made it to the Mod Club at a few minutes past 8pm. There was a back table set up with some CDs from the opener and the latest compilation from GOW entitled Singles. Unfortunately, a gaggle of fans obstructing access to the table and a lack of signage dissuaded a purchase.

The venue was about a third full. I snagged a 416 and whiled away the minutes chatting with IKvsDK and a hot young lady who happened to live in the same building as me. Small place, Toronto.

9pm strikes and Julie Doiron, (of Eric's Trip - somehow IKvsDK knew this without googling) took to the stage with a drummer and bass player. Eric's Trip has the distinction of being the first Canadian act to sign to 90s label SubPop. Doiron was a little chatty but took the audience through a 45 minute set - part rock, part dreamy acoustic. The dreamy parts are the kind that separates Live from Studio. It takes a very special audience that can appreciate these kinds of passages live.

After about a rather long interlude, Buck 65 did a short introduction and was not seen or heard from again. Tom, Chris and Kevin bounded on stage along with a keyboardist and guitarist and started off with, I think, Misunderstanding. Sorry, but I did not have my act together and figured someone else would have a setlist. After the opening two songs, Ron Sexsmith joined for a few.

Other guests included two guys from Great Lake Swimmers, two from White Horse (on Do You Want To Tell Me), two guys from Hayden and Sam Roberts. GOW sure have some recognition/pull in the world of folk rock. I think these weren't just label-mates. As Ron Sexsmith quipped, he had toured with BOTH Kevin Kane and Tom Hooper when they were feuding. Small place, the world.

They did try out a few new numbers and they were good. The great thing about folk rock and melodic pieces is that they do have a timeless quality about them. I always cringe a little when hearing a legend of rock coming back after a number of years trying to recapture that fire of youth (e.g. Van Halen's last effort Tattoo). Doesn't happen with the mellower genres.

My lone technical complaint on a night with so many changes on stage was that Kevin's guitar wasn't nearly loud enough, particularly on the guitar solos.

Will post a propert setlist when one surfaces.

You May Be Right w/ Sam Roberts

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dot Dash - Countdown (Hype 0290)

Nice buzzy pop track from Dot Dash taken from their album Winter Garden Light. It's out on The Beautiful Music label.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Indians - Cakelakers (Hype 0289)

Great track from Indians forthcoming album Somewhere Else on 4AD. The band is currently on tour and will be at the Horseshow Tavern on November 23, 2012. The single is also available on limited edition 7 Inch


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Saint Etienne Opera House Toronto October 24, 2012 Review With Setlist

In 1991 I bought my first Saint Etienne record. It was the 12 Inch to Only Love Can Break Your Heart from the local dj shop Starsound on Yonge street. The purchase was to lead to a 21 year obsession with the best band in the world. On Wednesday night Saint Etienne kicked off their North American tour in support of their latest album Words And Music with their only Canadian stop, Toronto. This was the band's fifth stop in Toronto over an 18 year period. The band was last in town 10 years ago (they missed Canada on the 2006 North American Tour).

History of Toronto Shows
SETOR1 Phoenix Concert Theatre September 21, 1994
SETOR2 Lee's Palace May 24, 1999
SETOR3 Opera House October 4th , 2000
SETOR4 Opera House November 23, 2002
SETOR5 Opera House October 24, 2012

Night started out good with the opportunity to purchase a 2CD US pressing of Words and Music with a bonus disc of some rare unreleased material not available anywhere else. A present from the band for going so many years of scrambling for UK only pressings.

The opening band for the night was Snowblink, a Californian/Canadian duo on the Arts and Crafts label. Some nice soft indie acoustic music. Lead singer with guitar with antlers. Hmmmmm.

Saint Etienne hit the stage at 10:15. No band this time around. Just Bob and Pete behind the electronics buried in the back. Up front centre Sarah in a gorgeous glittery discoball type outfit. Debsey in tow for background vocals and instrumentation. Nice!!! Started out with Like A Motorway and a whirlwind through the hits. Instant dancefloor!!. By the end we had grooved through 16 tracks including 6 from the new album and 10 singles. Rumoured third single DJ from Words and Music sounded epic on the big system. Felt like the early nineties all over again. This was the set list:

Like a Motorway (Tiger Bay 1994)
Who Do You Think You Are (So Tough 1993; sorta)
Burnt out Car (Continental 1997)
Popular (Words And Music 2012)
Spring (Foxbase Alpha 1991)
Haunted Jukebox (Words And Music 2012)
When I was 17 (Words And Music 2012)
You're In A Bad Way (So Tough 1993)
Good Thing (Tales From Turnpike House 2005)
Sylvie (Good Humor 1998)
Tonight (Words And Music 2012)
Only Love Can Break Your Heart ((Foxbase Alpha 1991 (Original)/Foxbase Beta 2009 (Remix))
Dj (Words And Music 2012)
Nothing Can Stop Us (Foxbase Alpha 1991)


I Got Your Music (Words And Music 2012)
He's On The Phone (He's On The Phone Single 1995)

*Note no tracks from Sound Of Water (2000) and Finisterre (2002)

By the end of the encore the crowd looked for more and chanted and clapped for about 5 minutes even with the cue of pre-recorded music to end of the night humming in the background. Alas it wasn't to be and the lights came on leaving us hopeing that they will be back sooner than 2022.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? (Retro 033)


This was the U.K. number one thirty years ago today, knocking "Pass the Dutchie" off the top spot. Sounds like the U.K. was mad for reggae back then.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saint Etienne Opera House Toronto October 24, 2012

Saint Etienne, in colour #NorthAmerica #2012 First stop Canada, home of the

Once again, best band in the world, Saint Etienne travel to our side of the pond for a mini North American tour in support of the new album Words and Music which starts at the Opera House in Toronto Canada this Wednesday October 24, 2012.

History of Toronto Shows
SETOR1 Phoenix Concert Theatre September 21, 1994
SETOR2 Lee's Palace May 24, 1999
SETOR3 Opera House October 4th , 2000
SETOR4 Opera House November 23, 2002
SETOR5 Opera House October 24, 2012

The rest of the North America tour as Saint Etienne cross the border to the USA:

10/25 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
10/26 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
10/27 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
10/29 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
10/31 – Portland, OR @ WOnder Ballroom
11/01 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
11/02 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
11/03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theatre

Read our review of the Toronto show here: here


The Pretenders - Back On The Chain Gang (Retro 032)

There goes the weekend and i'll be back on the chain gang tomorrow. Great eighties track from Chrissie Hynde and crew taken from the 1984 Learning To Crawl album but was released in the UK as a single in 1982.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

El Perro Del Mar - Walk On By (Saint Etienne Remix) (Hype 0286R)

Perfect timing for this fantastic remix of El Perro Del Mar's new single off her new album Pale Fire. Saint Etienne kick off their North American tour here in Toronto on October 24th in support of their new album Words And Music. This was available as a free download but has since evaporated.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Public Image Ltd (PiL) at The Opera House, October 18th

Thursday night and Johnny Lydon (nee Rotten) was in town bringing some PiL to the Opera House. Tuco was at the scene, drinking beer and taking notes. A light drizzle in the city wasn't enough to stop this post-punk legend act from bringing the noize but it was enough to delay a decent crowd from getting to the venue on time. The festivities kicked off at quarter to nine, not without a fire alarm going off and some Toronto firefighters heading back stage.

The crowd was definitely older; not surprising since PiL have been around since the late 70s. Besides the iconic PiL graphic emblazened on a few Ts, I noted an Echo and the Bunnymen T as well as a Day Glo Abortions T. Those were the days.

PiL bounded on stage at quarter to nine and opened the set with their big hit (This is Not A) Love Song. I'd managed to snag a decent spot on the floor with a decent sightline. First thing I noticed was the odd oud-shaped guitar played by Lu Edmonds. Edmonds went through no less than 4 guitars during the night. Scott Firth, the bassist also managed to trot out some kind of a digital upright bass, a traditional bass, keyboards and a laptop.

The sound was pretty good actually - and the shape of most of their longer songs took on a certain characteristic. A short guitar riff or bass riff repeated several times allowing Lydon to sing/talk over top of the whole structure at his own pace. Johnny's still got those unique vocals - belted out , shaking, but still in controlled.

Of course, Johnny Lydon has his own brand of charm which he used to work up a tepid crowd that was compared unfavourably with the lot from Montreal. That's been a consistent theme with musicians that come to Toronto - weak audience feedback. I guess we came to hear PiL not each other.

The bass was really turned up throughout the night and Firth didn't miss a trick. He stayed right on top of the reverberations accented by a solid performance by drummer Bruce Smith. While the guitar and bass got a few chances for some soloing, the drummer didn't get as much. Of course, the main event was Johnny Lydon - everyone knew that. He even had a music stand up at the front with him like a conductor of an orchestra (sans baton).

PiL played for two hours and the show was done with the crew breaking down the set seconds after the band had exited stage right.

The set list did not stray far from PiL's recent DVD release "There is a PiL in Heaven":

(This is not a) Love Song
Deeper Water
One Drop
Flowers of Romance
Reggie Song
Death Disco
Bags / Chant
Out of the Woods
Open Up

Best moments: Religion, Warrior.

Awkward moments: Chastising the audience of predominantly old men for showing less enthusiasm than two young women near the front. That's pretty much always going to be the case Johnny.

FYI: The Grid did a little interview/write-up with Johnny Lydon - check it out if you want to know more. Apparently he prefers Donna Summer to Radiohead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alt-J (∆) - Tessellate


Some people are tipping ∆ (pronounced Alt-J) to win the 2012 Mercury prize with their debut album "An Awesome Wave", which seems like a pretty good shout given the quality of the tracks that I have heard so far. The album was released in May in Europe and September in North America. Looks like a band that will be worth catching live if you can -- they have plenty of tour dates listed on their website, although they might not be passing through your locale any time soon (there are currently no Toronto dates listed). Enjoy.

Teeel - Mygirl (Hype 0284)

Great eerie new wave experience...Teeel just released his second album University Heights this year although this great track isn't on it..Keep churning them out!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Whigfield - 4Ever (Hype 0283)

Brand new track from nineties eurocrush girl Whigfield who brought us club cuts Saturday Night, Another Day, and Think Of You back in the day. Its 20 years and she is back with some nice bubblegum dancepop.


Payolas - Soldier (Retro 031)

Released as a b-side for the huge hit Eyes Of A Stranger this became a hit single in its own right 30 years ago.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Purity Ring - Belispeak II feat Danny Brown (Hype 0282)

Great remake of Purity Rings Belispeak cut with additional vocals added in from Danny Brown. 4AD madness once again. Their album Shrines was released this year.


Sylvester - Do You Wanna Funk (Retro 030)

Essential disco/club track from 1982 that cracked the UK top 40 but was ignored by North America pop charts. Classic!!!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Myrath - Tales of the Sands (Hype 0281)

Oriental Progressive Metal band from Tunisia. Dream Theatre in a Desert. Apparently these guys were on tour with Tarja Turunen (formerly of Nightwish) earlier this year. Really hope they tour North America!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Inc. - The Place (Hype 0276V)

One might think we have a side deal with the label given the number of 4AD items we post on this website. This is the official video release of our previously hyped track. The album is out in 2013.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I imagine the North American clubs are going crazy when this song comes on. Great track and crazy video. Novelty? Maybe. Massive? Definately.


Monday, October 8, 2012

First Aid Kit - When I Grow Up (Fever Ray cover)


Thanks to Josh for the shout out and for posting another fantastic Retro track. Today's track is one I have been meaning to post for a while. It's a cover of a Fever Ray song of the same name; Fever Ray is the pseudonym used by Karin Dreijer Andersson, who is half of electronic duo The Knife. Incidentally, Fever Ray, The Knife, and First Aid Kit are all Swedish. First Aid Kit, which comprises the Söderberg sisters, play a lot of folk songs. They are on a North American tour at the moment, but we've missed them. Perhaps next time.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Joe Jackson - Steppin Out (Retro 029)

Glad Dunstan jumped in with a retro post. Things had gotten busy for me and I hadn't posted for awhile. This Joe Jackson single hit the North American charts in October 30 years ago too but maybe alittle later in the UK. New Wave pop goodness.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie (Retro 028)


This was the U.K. number one thirty years ago this week, wresting the top spot away from Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. Enjoy.