Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Uk outfit with their first album in seven years. Where does the time go. Hard to believe its been approximately 21 years since they dropped their life changing Foxbase Alpha. Follow me as I take us through a guided tour of the new album track by track.
1. Over The Border: Nice way to open up the album with a nice conversational track reminiscing about the good old times and how everything always comes back to music even as we all grow older (and we do grow older). A very large number of Etienne's long term fans have probably hit forty by now so this song hits home pretty strong. The mention of Dexy's and Peter Gabriel brings chills. Nice!
2. I've Got The Music: The rumoured second single and its a europop disco stomper which will have you dancing right away. Nice!
3. Heading For The Fair: nice slow groove pop track. Reminds me of a possible outtake from Tales From Turnpike House or Finisterre.
4. Last Days Of Disco: This definately feels like a low key slow disco track from the seventies.
5. Tonight: The first single and anthemic track simply about "going out" Dbl Nice!!!
6. Answer Song: Possibly Saint Etienne's answer to the cut and paste style of the Avalanches. Swirling pop track. Backing vocals by seventies disco singer Tina Charles.
7. Record Doctor: a minute long acappella interlude
8. Popular: Housey disco sounding track....hmmm....
9. Twenty Five Years: Ouch, another song about getting older and potentially having only 25 years left. Slow track.....hmmmmm.....
10. DJ: Hi-Nrg track....has some nice rises and a very cool chorus but its not quite a single though. Maybe the remixes will elevate.
11. When I Was Seventeen: Future space-age pop....
12. I Threw It All Away: Slow drifting track leading us to the end.
13. Haunted Jukebox: Ends on a funky upbeat track.
Wow......7 years....I'm left wanting more. Cheers Saint Etienne.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Unfortunately had to head to Victoria BC for a funeral this past week. Not the best reason to check out another part of our wonderful country Canada. Victoria has a population of about 80,017 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 344,615, the 15th most populous Canadian metro region. Its a great place to visit. My first night in the city I was out at a concert. Given its population Victoria doesn't get every musician coming through but they do get a few. I had picked up their weekly entertainment guide called Monday Magazine. Ironically it comes out on Wednesday. Noted the Reverend Horton Heat were in concert. My friend Paul is a huge fan and given that I had never seen the band I thought this would be a good opportunity. I located the venue on the city map provided by the hotel and headed out to see what Victoria night life was all about.
The concert was being held at Club 9One9, under the Strathcona Hotel. A downstairs basement concert/club venue with a very cool silver dance floor sunken in front of the the stage in a very odd cavernous dingy dark club. The bill also included The Real Mackenzies and the The Spittin' Cobras.
The first band was the Spittin Cobras from Seattle who were definately some rock and roll dudes who tried to engage the crowd early. The lead singer jumped into the crowd a couple of times to try to drag people to the dancefloor just in front of the stage.
The second band were The Real Mackenzies, a bunch of kilt wearing guys punk rockers from Vancouver who have nine albums to their name (who would have known) and even rock the bagpipes.
It was about 11:00 PM when the band hit the stage and the crowd was quite into the band. I had two people chat with me during the break. Surprisingly, this is about 2 more people/strangers that have ever chatted with me at concerts in Toronto. Victoria may be a friendlier place. Or maybe it was all the alcohol flowing that night in the bar.
Funny that on a Thursday in Toronto, the concert would be pretty well have ended by midnight if not earlier. Not in Victoria. Reverend Horton Heat took to the stage and played almost up to 2:00 PM. He started by running through a track from each album he has released starting with Psychobilly Freakout off the first album Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em. Half way through the show he had a guest guitarist from George Thorogood's band join him on stage. George Thorogood was also in concert that night in Victoria and the guitarist had made his way over to the show. All in all a great concert, great venue, and a great night out.
This is what the twitter crowd said:
@cpudan: Going to see these guys tonight with The Reverend Horton HEAT!... I think it's going to be a party :) (taking a... http://vsb.li/y4WdDV
@CLUB9ONE9: Reverend Horton Heat tonight @CLUB9ONE9 !!! Doors open at 9pm.
@cpudan I'm at CLUB9one9 for Reverend Horton Heat and The Real McKenzies (Victoria, BC) http://4sq.com/LchdLU
@abc4: i was tenderized in the pit @ the real mackenzies / @revhortonheat show in #yyj so sore so happy
Check out the opening part of the show thanks to a Youtuber:
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Not so much Hype "Track" of the Day as Hype "Podcast" of the Day. This podcast was released ahead of Fantastic Mr Fox's upcoming "San'en" EP. If you saw The xx during the band's 2010 North American tour, Fantastic Mr Fox was the DJ spinning tunes between the sets of the different bands. Enjoy.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On a thunderstorming day, IKvsDK and Tuco took to the streets to Occupy Indie Rock at the Phoenix. Joining us were an eclectic bunch with young Amélie-smitten ladies rubbing shoulders with aged cinephiles. Doors opened at 8pm and there were a surprising number that arrived early. By the time we got in, the balcony seating was all gone.
The merchanidise table was set up in the back of the Phoenix (usually it's in the room off of the coat check) with some vinyl, CDs, and a Yann Tiersen piano book which looked tempting. Settled in about two-thirds of the way back near the centre with about half of the venue populated.
Kicking off the festivities was Felix, a British trio: drummer, guitar and singer/synth. I think this is the singer's youtube channel. Felix introduced themselves and quietly eased into their opening track.
The guitar and drums are spare and the synth is minimal. This band is really about the singer. She finishes a track (or two) and pauses to introduce the band who happen to be part of Yann Tiersen's band as well. She also mentions they have sold out of their CDs so there is no more for any new fans at the show. IKvsDK grits his teeth at the missed opportunity.
The singer has a nice voice. Some words are getting lost due to some chatter going on. Tuco notes alot of young ladies wandering around - spring time in Toronto. Felix is quietly singing; it's a "coffee house" vibe despite the venue. One would think of adapting the song a bit to the surroundings. They seem to like odd time signatures like 6/8 time and 5/4 time.
The songs seem to get quieter and more melancholy. Solemn with no effects except at the very end with a guitar strum and a feedback loop. The roadie politely shuts it down after a few minutes.
Next up is the main act. Six guys bound on stage: drums, guitar, bass and two synths and what looks like a DJing deck with a crash cymbal attached to the stand. Yann Tiersen is front and centre. There's a white background behind the stage which would see some soothing Hallmarkesque visuals throughout the concert. A lone Orange amp drives the sound.
The band starts off with some down tracks - straight rock beat with swimmy effects; a marked contrast from the opener. In the second song, Tiersen seems to have some problem with his guitar and this gets sorted out by the end of the song. Tuco likes the bass and generally the balance of the whole ensemble. No overpowering bass or drums - just a nice level to everything.
Another gloomy "depressing" track but a great tune. Very melodic. So far the songs last about three to four minutes with the endings being very clean and kind of out of the blue but it works. Alot can be said in this time frame and the songs don't seem to want for length.
Tiersen introduces another with: "Next one is a love song. It's called 'Fuck me'." Gets a giggle out of the appreciative audience. This one is a bit more rock with a heavier bass which invites an odd crowd reaction. Despite one girl who is kind of swaying in front of me, most are standing sort of in their own private reverie soaking up the sound. The sightlines are pretty good this time around.
Tiersen hauls out a talk box and uses it with a light touch. This is not T-Pain, it's something else. This time it's spelling as the word "PALESTINE" beams onto the backscreen. Tiersen works the talk box to spell it out and some in the crowd start to cheer. The French seem passionate about places OTHER countries have ruined.
Some of the songs featured Tiersen singing/chanting into a microphone but a number included three and four part harmonies with others in the band. These were simple but very effective. One track had a duet with the guitar picking out the chords underneath - nice technique.
Some songs were more indie rock with two chord jams. The chords would be separated by a minor third and would alternate chords then alternate in volumes (loud then soft then loud again). Reminded me a bit of Mogwai. One notable change from this was the drum building up a crescendo over a few bars and then merging into a synthesizer. Wish I knew the name of that track.
The prize though was Tiersen's violin which was impressive. Visually it was impressive to see Tiersen sawing in the middle of the stage surrounded by amps and synthesizers, two loose fibrous strands from his bow dancing in the spotlight. It was like he was holding technology at bay. One solo had the audience whooting in recognition - likely a movie soundtrack theme.
"More 'Nash the Slash'" muttered IKvsDK. Tuco nodded.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Got to the Garrison alittle too early (9:00) to hear Blouse doing Soundcheck. I relagated myself to the front bar in the Garrison. The venue has recently revised its layout to half concert venue/half Ossington hipster bar with IPOD dj in the front. Nobody was in the hipster bar either so grabbed a Grid and a beer and chilled. My company for the night Panic Manual had bailed on me so was taking this on solo.
Doldrums started at about 10:00 so I figured this was going to be a late night. I was super impressed with the cut and paste sound of the Doldrums which tonight was one person on keyboards and vocals. I'd heard some tracks via the internet and it hadn't really done much for me. May need to revisit.
Finally at about 11:45, Bear In Heaven hit the stage . Lead singer Jon Philpot encouraged us to get up and join his dance party as the band went through a solid set of mesmorizing high energy indie electro pop. Joe Stickney (1/2 drum machine, 1/2 human) took drumming to the next level. The band is currently out supporting their superbad album I Love You, It's Cool which is definately worth picking up. I have a feeling that if this band can add a few more songs to the playlist, reorder the energy of their set, this band will be playing venues like the Sound Academy, or the Phoenix next.
This is what they said on Twitter:
@IKvsDK Doldrums. Pretty good. One guy. Thought it was a woman singing until I put on my glasses. #garrison
@tianafeng: Doldrums!! A tad bizarre hahahaha
@IKvsDK: Doldrums #cut #paste #nice #garrison Blouse
@joahspearman: About to get treated to my second serving of @BearInHeaven & @BLOUSE in 2 weeks!! I'm liking this #Austin #Toronto #livemusic connection.
@IKvsDK: Blouse taking the stage #garrison #capturedtracks #new4AD
@IKvsDK: Blouse just put on a nice dark set at the garrison #capturedtracks #toronto
@KDahlinNolan: #Blouse was fantastic at the Garrison tonight! Looking forward to discovering more about them. Also, fave new drummer = #BearInHeaven
@Blouse Toronto loves weed. (IKDK: No, our drug of choice is Captured Tracks)
Bear In Heaven
@IKvsDK: Bear In Heaven #11:30 #garrison #yawning #waiting
@jamiesoncox: Bear in Heaven's drummer is very impressive, and their lead singer is equally hilarious.
@IKvsDK: Bear In Heaven's lead singer exudes rock star. Fantastic show #garrison
@jamiesoncox: Bear in Heaven's drummer is simply excellent. I don't have a pithy comment for him.
@StephDuce: Bear in heaven at @TheGarrisonTO #toronto #band #show #igtoronto #igers #ignation #dance #party...
@InsidiousGhost: Cool beats from Bear in Heaven last night in Toronto. Freaking awesome show!
Search the blog for video reviews of Bear In Heaven and Blouse tracks.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
47. Too young!!!! Not sure what to say for this one. Saw the Beastie Boys for the first time back in 1985 in Toronto. Licensed To Ill wasn't even out yet. Again, got to relive the madness in 2007 at the ACC in Toronto. One day we will figure out this cancer thing. I'll leave this with Hey Ladies
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thanks to the most excellent Panic Manual, Tuco and IKvsDK got a chance to take in some Dream Pop all the way from Sweden.
In preparation, we started out at the Keating Channel Pub that had somehow run out of 1664. Shortly after arriving, a women's curling team pulled up in a tour bus and would later try to pick up IKvsDK ("The Hammer", they called him). Decent fare too.
Got to the Sound Academy. Young crowd milling about. The merchandise table had shirts, vinyl, CDs and flash drives - Tuco would get one of the drives. Settled in midway to the stage, Amsterdam in hand, until the first band, Penguin Prison, emerged.
After a short wait, Penguin Prison from NY took the stage. This foursome featured a bass player, a synthesizer, a drummer and a frontman who would take on a number of other instruments throughout the night. PP launch into their set which has a kind of indie rock feel. The frontman adds some vocals and a few girls at the front scream on cue. It's all very Bieberish to me and I start to drink faster.
Second track has the frontman switch over to working a Stratocaster and we start to feel the influence of the synth guy working some beats into the track. IKvsDK describes the scene succinctly with "indie vocals over a dance beat".
We start to get a feel for the typical Penguin Prison track: it is a longish uptempo jam with a dancey beat, guitar and vocals taking a lead and bass, drums, synth laying down the beat. Each song ends a little prematurely. The frontman starts to rap with the crowd and makes an awkward joke about a "Canadian Tuxedo" - Leave your Americanisms at the border pal. The teenage girls scream incessantly. IKvsDK says this guys is a Rockstar.
One of the tracks is called Don't F*ck With My Money. A few tracks later and the frontman is working a tom drum at the front. He sings, drums and plays guitar. Rockstar.
One nice effect is the use of a flanger while strumming the same note which works pretty well with the dancey beat. These guys are not bad. Basically this is what live dance music is. The frontman goes up to the microphone and states for the benefit of the audience "I make remixes". Rockstar.
Last song is called Multi Millionaire. This track sounds alot like Prince's "I would Die for you". Frontman attempts a guitar solo at the end (so far all of the solos have been vocal). Frontman signs off with a "Thank you for watching". Rockstar.
After Penguin Prison was a long 40 minute break with moody stage lighting and whale music piped through the PA system. This chilled the swelling crowd right out. By the time Miike Snow was ready to take the stage, the place was quite full with sightlines proving troublesome.
Miike Snow is a bunch of guys from Sweden that have some rather delicate tracks that work great in studio. At least that is Tuco's take on their first album. How would this translate to a live show?
The set on stage had something like a large console right in the centre. It looked like the Tardis with lights flashing on and off. A lone dude wandered around the stage doing some kind of ad hoc sound check with the anxious crowd cheering his every movement.
Finally, Miike Snow took the stage and dropped an acoustic wave on the youth of Toronto. And they seemed ready for it. The singer stalked around the stage (he had really good movement for the entire show actually).
The solution to the question above appeared almost instantly. Dancey beats moved the crowd as the more melodic tracks from MS reemerged in its new guise. This wouldn't be like the studio but would still be reasonably close. Miike Snow Live.
The crowd had quite alot of tall people in the wrong places (i.e. in front of Tuco). A few gay individuals plant themselves in front of Tuco and start to smack each others' behinds. Tuco scrambles off to the side to regain his sightlines.
Alot of dancing is going down. Teenage girls dancing with each other. A few crowdsurfers as well. Over on the other side of the floor, people are periodically throwing napkins in the air like confetti. It's a bizarre scene.
More dancing and more tracks. The guy in front of Tuco is swaying like a heavy bag cutting in and out of his sightline. Tuco resists the invitation to throw a few punches and focuses on the set.
Best crowd response and longest jam had to be for Silvia. Will post a setlist if I can find one.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012