Crystal Castles is back with the follow up to 2008’s career defining self-titled album. The Canadian duo, made up of Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, have cultivated a following of devout fans comprised of both music lovers and industry professionals alike. Their highly distinctive electronic sound has been compared to everything from Moby to Mario Bros.
With the release of their sophomore album, Crystal Castles II, the duo is showing that they plan on defending their title as one of electronica’s most ground breaking groups.
Glass and Kath will be touring their home country of Canada for the first time this summer as headliners of the 2010 Hard Festival. In 2008, their slot at the Glastonbury Festival was cut short after Glass climbed the stage rigging to repeatedly crowd surf into the thousands of concert-goers. In additional to Glastonbury, Coachella and Bonnaroo, Crystal Castles has opened for Nine Inch Nails and Blur on tour.
The new album is a 14 track compilation of sounds from past and present eras. Crystal Castles’ signature 1980s video game sound effects are contrasted sharply with Glass’s frantic signing on Baptism. What sounds like a VHS tape being rewound over the tranquilly of electronic beats and operatic string instruments makes I Am Made of Chalk sound like the poetic death of the digital era. The track Celestial has the tranquil repetition and slow rise in tempo that will make listeners feel as if their heartbeat is being reset by the band.
Crystal Castles’ album Crystal Castles II is released on May 24 but you can listen to the album in its entirety now by clicking here.
Favourite Tracks: Suffocation, Pap Smear, Not In Love, Doe Deer
There’s been a lot of build up over this new Sleigh Bells album Treats and now you can officially hear it over at a stream hosted by NPR. Be careful though, keep the volume low because their levels are ear-bleeding.
Damon Albarn says he wants to make more music with Blur. Speaking with NME, Albarn says the success of the Record Store Day single “Fool’s Day” made him excited to record with Blur again. “I’m definitely going to do a few more of those seven-inches,” he explained. “I love the no pressure aspect.”
M83’s Anthony Gonzalez has written the score for the new film from French director Gilles Marchand. There isn’t much to go by, but you can read all about the film, Black Heaven, at the Cannes website. The synopsis sounds right up Gonzalez’s alley.
Sub Pop is having another spectacular year and to prove it the label is giving away a free digital sampler. On it is choice tracks by the likes of Dum Dum Girls, Foals, Male Bonding, David Cross, Beach House, The Ruby Suns and ooh, a new one from Wolf Parade! Download it here.
If you were one of the few to buy tickets to Empire Of The Sun’s Toronto show at the Sound Academy on August 8th, well, I’m afraid to say it’s been cancelled. The official reason is a “scheduling conflict” but the band “intend to bring the live show to Canada as soon as possible although no time-frame can be confirmed at this stage.” Considering the band were hoping to incorporate live animals and make it a visual spectacle, this doesn’t come as a surprise. They should probably wait until the next album though, because a show that size needs some buzz.
PJ Harvey has told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that half of her new album was made with an autoharp. “I’ve written about half of my new record on one of these,” Harvey said before she performed a new song called “Let England Shake.” “I’ve got three autoharps and I’ve had them tuned in slightly different chords, uh, fixtures here, so that they’re slightly out of the normal line of what an autoharp would sound like. There’s a lot more minor keys, a lot of darker keys.”
Didn’t get one of the 1000 copies of the brand new Blur 7″ released this past Saturday for Record Store Day? Well, the band feel so bad about it that they’re now giving away the track digitally over at their website.
In case you’ve always thought indie rock was a little too straight, Queerty has compiled a list of ten influential gay indie rockers, profiling their work and how their sexuality has played a part in their music. Click here and see who they outed.
Jose Gonzalez’s old band Junip have reunited and will be playing some North American dates. There aren’t any Canadian shows, but the band will be releasing both an EP and an album on Mute later this year.
And because it’s a slow news day, I thought I’d point out that Jay-Z and Beyonce are fans of The xx. Cool or who cares? Diplo outed the couple peeping the band’s performance at Coachella this past weekend.
Blur will release their first new song in seven years on April 17th, as part of Record Store Day. The recently reunited Brit band will put out a currently untitled 7″ that will be limited to 1000 copies. Frontman Damon Albarn said, “We want independent record stored to continue, they’re an important part of our musical culture. Music is a simple way for Blur to show our support and we hope people like it.” Meanwhile, Liam Gallagher, formerly of Blur’s arch rival Oasis, has commented on Albarn and Co’s return, telling Shortlist: “Them gigs weren’t as good as our gigs. No way. But, they’re all right. They’re in it for the money, aren’t they? The f*ckers. You won’t catch Oasis reforming, y’know. Never.”
Caribou has launched a remix contest for his new single, “Sun.” Over at Soundcloud you can download all of the song’s components and get started. The winner will receive Caribou’s new album Swim on both 2LP + CD, the “Odessa” 12″, a T-shirt and two guestlist places when the band play a show where you live. Contest ends May 7th.
Four years ago a precocious young rapper from Paris-via-Miami named Uffie made her debut with a single called “Pop the Glock” and now she’s FINALLY releasing her first album. Titled Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, the album will feature guests such as Pharrell Williams and former bassist of The Rapture, Mattie Safer, as well as a cover of Siouxsie & The Banshees’ classic “Hong Kong Garden.” The album drops June 8th via Ed Banger/Because/Elektra.
One of indie rock’s most beloved members and coolest drummers ever has assembled a list of the “10 WAYS TO BE A KICK-ASS DRUMMER” (all-caps is necessary). Janet Weiss, formerly of Sleater-Kinney and currently of The Jicks and Quasi, has written the ways for Self-Titled, dropping such helpful hints as “KICK SOME ASS,” “PLAY LONG FILLS,” “TRY NOT TO MAKE FUNNY FACES/LOOK GOOD” and “IMITATE THE GOOD BANDS’ DRUMMERS.”
After a decade of silence, Montreal’s massively influential post-rock doomsayers and Constellation Records founders Godspeed You! Black Emperor will return to curate ATP’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” festival in England this December (3rd to 5th). In a very no-frills, dead-serious kind of announcement on the band’s website, they added that GY!BE will also perform “a handful of British and European shows, and then nine American shows.” Unfortunately, they don’t say anything about Canada. This is bad news, because they follow it up with: “Until further introspection, WE WILL NOT BE FIELDING ANY OTHER OFFERS.” And if there’s one band that sticks to its guns, it’s that band.
Suede are set to reform. The ’90s glam act will get back together for a one-off gig at the prestiguous Royal Albert Hall in London, England. The show will be part of a series to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity. Founding member and co-songwriter/guitarist Bernard Butler will not be in the band. Instead the line-up will be the same one that recorded 1996’s Coming Up and 1999’s Head Music: Brett Anderson, Richard Oakes, Neil Codling, Simon Gilbert and Matt Osman.
Tropical sound sculptors High Places will release their second album on April 6th. Thrill Jockey will release High Places vs. Mankind , which is said to tackle “the complex, gigantic subject of being human and what it’s like to interact with other human beings.” Oh boy!
Avant-shoegazers A Sunny Day In Glasgow will embark on a North American tour beginning on February 26th in New York City. The band will play three shows in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto in the spring. A week into the tour, ASDIG will also drop a brand new EP called Nitetime Rainbows.
Anyone looking to pay respects to the late Jay Reatard can do so tomorrow. A public memorial for the garage punk legend will take place tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Memorial Park Funeral Home, located at 5668 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.
Canadians will get a chance to get a sneak theatrical peek of the new Blur documentary, No Distance Left To Run. For one day - January 21st - cinemas across the country will screen the film, which documents the band’s successful reunion of last year. The DVD will be out in stores in mid-February.
Blur have announced plans to release a career-spanning documentary No Distance Left To Run will be in UK cinemas on January 19, 2010. You can watch the trailer here. Meanwhile, Damon Albarn has revealed to the Guardian that his other (cartoon) band Gorillaz has a new album coming out called Plastic Beach.
We’re unsure of when their album will be written/recorded/released, but good news in The Strokes’ camp is that they’ll be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival on June 12, 2010. That’s a start, I guess.
Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are set to release their second album as She & Him in the spring. “She” also confirmed that they will be touring in support of Volume Two.
Holy moly! Godflesh is reuniting! The legendary industrial metal act led by the ridiculously prolific Justin K. Broadrick will eat his own words when the band play at Hellfest in France on the weekend of June 18th to 20th.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists have unveiled their first album for new label Matador. The Brutalist Bricks will hit shops on March 9, 2010. You can here a brand spanking new song called “Even Heroes Have To Die” here.
Tags: blur, Godflesh, Gorillaz, Hellfest, Isle of Wight Festival, Justin K. Broadrick, M. Ward, matador, No Distance Left To Run, Plastic Beach, She & Him, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Brutalist Bricks, the strokes, Volume Two, Zooey Deschanel
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Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan made the ultimate rock’n'roll blunder at a concert in Peru: he shouted “Thank you very much Chile!” to the audience.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O discusses her work on the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack, which somehow gets her to confess she used to slap the butts of her grandparents and babysitters.
As of January 7, 2010, you’ll be able to put the cover from some of the greatest British albums ever released on your outgoing mail. Royal Mail is introducing a series of stamps featuring the album covers for Blur’s Parklife, New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies and Primal Scream’s Screamadelica.
The White Stripes are gonna release some rare outtakes from their first album. But there’s a catch - in order to get them you’ve got to sign up for the Third Man record club subscription.
Legendary guitarist Johnny Marr is all for talking about his role in The Cribs and Modest Mouse, but ask him about Morrissey and The Smiths and he’ll say “I’m done talking about that shit. Who cares?”