In case you didn’t get to hear Band of Horses play songs off their new album last night at their free show in Toronto, you can now stream Infinite Arms in its entirety here at MuchMusic.com. Click here and enjoy.
Sub Pop is feeling generous these days. After giving away a sampler of new-ish stuff yesterday, they’ve tweeted a giveaway of two Dum Dum Girls songs, one of which can only be found on their recent split 7″ with Male Bonding. Grab it here.
Bootlegging is the old school method of leaking. Titus Andronicus fans are following in the footsteps of Deadheads and Phishheads by putting together “an unofficial, fan-made collection of demos, b-sides, and live tracks during the Airing of Grievances era of Titus Andronicus (pre-2010).” You can also find a bunch of live shows to d/l as well. Get ‘em all by clicking here. And if you haven’t already fallen hard for their new album, The Monitor, like I have, pick it up pronto!
Wow, lots of freebies today. Here’s another. Jarvis Cocker has made an album of “tranquil sounds recorded at various locations run by the Trust. Sounds include waves lapping on the shore, clocks ticking and ducks flapping in water.” About the album, Jarvo says, “I hope this album is a ‘holiday for the ears.’ It’s not really meant to be listened to intently, like a piece of music, but more as something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation.” So, no wonder it’s free.
Finally, Interpol isn’t giving anything away, but they’ve announced a bunch of tour dates to prove that losing bassist Carlos D isn’t gonna slow them down. Most of them are as the opener for U2’s next leg of the 360° tour, but there are two Canadian shows: Toronto’s Rogers Centre on July 3rd and Montreal’s Hippodrome on July 16th and 17th. Interpol will also play some U2-less, “across-the-border” cities like Rochester and Buffalo on June 21st and 22nd, respectively.
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.
If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with L.A.’s Dum Dum Girls, the first video from their freshly baked debut album I Will Be (Sub Pop) is a perfect primer.
“Jail La La” not only gives you a sense of the band’s noisy, throwback garage pop, but it also schools you visually on their gang-like image. The Girls push their gang mentality by inserting themselves riding motorcycles, smoking fags, hanging out on the wrong side of the tracks, getting arrested and mouthing the lyrics via extreme close-ups of their bright red lipstick. It’s all done with chopped up editing and a grainy goodness that matches the lo-fi lustre of the music.
Dum Dum Girls play the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto with Girls on April 9th.
Beach House Teen Dream [Sub Pop]
The progress most artists make from their first to their third albums is usually one way or the other. Either they stick with a good thing if it’s working (read: selling records) or they attempt some sort of reinvention to satisfy someone’s creative itch (be it their audience’s or their own). Baltimore duo Beach House are in the former category but not exclusively.
On their first album for Sub Pop, Teen Dream, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, continue to enchant us with the gleaming, lackadaisical dream pop they we first heard on 2006’s self-titled debut. But as “Zebra” arises there’s an almost instantaneous click in the way Legrand bends the hook in the chorus that signals this album as a cultivation. Considering the shimmering brilliance of their first two albums, this revelation signifies just how exceptional an album like Teen Dream is.
“Silver Soul” reminds us of those lazy Mazzy Star comparisons, but where David Toback and Hope Sandoval rarely broke from the formula of groggy slide guitar and velvety vocals, Beach House let the droning organ take over or slip in some fluctuating rhythms.
Single “Norway” is easily their biggest step forward as far as sonics and accessibility. The twinkling guitars have a Cocteau Twin-like radiance, bending and ringing with woozy effect, while Legrand gets some welcome assistance from some breathy backing sighs, which add another heavenly layer to Beach House’s rather simplistic sound. It’s also the most memorable song they’ve written yet.
Last year’s “Used To Be,” as well, shows the music is not all about knocking back some valium and fading out of consciousness. The toe-tapping tambourine-assisted beat and swirling organ breathe new life into their canon.
But the biggest surprise comes in “10 Mile Stereo.” The crest of shoegazing noise allows us to peek at where Beach House can turn to in the future. While Slowdive/My Bloody Valentine rip-offs are a dime a dozen, the swelling waves of guitars really correspond with what Legrand and Scally have been doing till now.
Beach House’s growth may not be as measurable as some bands, but it’s obvious by hearing Teen Dream even once how their songwriting has been sharpened and refined without sacrificing the elegiac beauty that won over fans in the first place.
- Cam Lindsay
Future Of The Left have parted ways with their label 4AD. Frontman Andy Falkous said that the band are going full steam ahead with a new album, however. “This time I’m hoping to take the thing full circle and to channel the spirit of Freddie Mercury - not Brian May - through Slayer’s backline.”
Though there hasn’t been much hoopla over it, Sub Pop is releasing the new album by Auckland, New Zealand’s terrific The Ruby Suns. Fight Softly will be out on March 2nd.
Need another reason to be excited about the new Liars album? Of course not, but how about this? Sisterworld will come with a second disc of “remixes and reinterpretations” of each track. Some of the parties involved include Thom Yorke, Suicide’s Alan Vega, Deerhunter/Atlas Sound’s Bradford Cox, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, The Melvins and Blonde Redhead.
Jack White is talking about a solo album again. Speaking to Rolling Stone, the leader of the White Stripes/Dead Weather/Raconteurs said he’s looking at it in 2010, but it could be a challenge “to differentiate from anything else that I’ve done.”
New Young Pony Club are getting people geared up for their new album, The Optimist. Ty Bulmer says the songs are more introspective this time around and that “‘it makes the first sound like a bunch of nursery rhymes.”
Sub Pop has announced details about the debut album from Dum Dum Girls. Titled I Will Be, the LP was produced by Dee Dee herself along with Dee Dee and the legendary Richard Gottehrer (Strangeloves, Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos and, more recently, The Raveonettes) and will be released on March 30, 2010. Oh boy!
Elizabeth Fraser has told the Guardian that despite offers of £1.5 million each, Cocteau Twins will never reunite. The “voice of God,” however, can still be heard on a new single called “Moses.”
Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes told Paste that he “would be fully psyched” to collaborate with Beyonce. This comes after the former Destiny’s Child singer said she’d “love to do something like that” on her next album.
Chunklet has a wicked 40-minute montage of Fugazi on-stage banter to download for free. No band both takes the piss and keeps a crowd in line as good as Fugazi did.
Arcade Fire are indeed hard at work on a new album with Markus Dravs, who engineered their last one, Neon Bible. A member of Mumford and Sons let it slip to BBC 6Music that Dravs has been working on it for six months. Surely they’re close to finishing… surely!
Tags: Arcade Fire, Beyonce, Chunklet, Cocteau Twins, Dee Dee, Dum Dum Girls, Elizabeth Fraser, Fugazi, Guardian, I Will Be, Kevin Barnes, Markus Dravs, Mumford and Sons, Of Montreal, Paste, Richard Gotteher, Sub Pop
Posted in News, The New Music | No Comments »
I feel like it’s a cliché to admit this but Nirvana is almost entirely responsible for shaping how I listen to music. While I remember a fondness for Sonic Youth and The Cure before the fall of 1991, like many people, I was mesmerized when Nevermind found its way into my 13-year-old hands at a grade eight house party (where I also tried a cigarette for the first time – kids don’t smoke, it’s a nasty habit).
However, while Nevermind was the icebreaker, it was their much lesser-known debut album that really did a number on me. I still recall the first time I saw Bleach – it was in a dinky record shop at the Mountain Plaza Mall in Hamilton, Ontario. This was in a pre-internet time (early 1992), where you discovered music by one of three ways: 1) word of mouth, 2) magazines or 3) MuchMusic or MTV. My friend and I were bewildered, but eventually I bought the cassette and learned “Smells Like Teen Spirit” may have been the starting point for many, but it was not the beginning of Nirvana.
Bleach threw me off completely at first. From the misspelling of Kurt Cobain’s name (Kurdt Kobain) to the monochromatic, indistinguishable artwork to the fiendish, low-end growl emanating from the amps, I actually questioned that this was the same band seizing the charts from Michael Jackson and allegedly killing off “hair metal.” If anything, this was the album that should have initiated the grunge movement.
Nirvana’s debut recently turned the big 2-0 and it couldn’t have celebrated this milestone at a better time. The spirit of grunge is back in full force. Plaid flannel is everywhere, Doc Martens are becoming choice footwear once again and overdriven, fuzzed out guitars and albums made for around $606 are ruling the underground.
(And it isn’t just Nirvana. A slew of grunge’s torchbearers were active in 2009: Pearl Jam released their ninth album, Alice In Chains put out their reunion album with a new singer, the Melvins were remixed, amid protest Courtney Love announced her next album would be released under the Hole moniker, Soundgarden reunited twice – once with Tad Doyle, of all people, on vocals and then again at a Pearl Jam show to perform Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” Also, Mudhoney also released a new album and deluxe edition of their Superfuzz Bigmuff comp last year.)
On Bleach, engineer Jack Endino captured the sludgy squall of Cobain’s guitars, as well as his gravelly squawk with a disturbingly ominous setting. The grind of “Negative Creep” has the consistency of what bubblegum death metal would sound like: chewy and refreshing yet with a hint of sinister. “Floyd the Barber” has that bellowing chug on the third beat that masked its melodic groove. Even the undeniable hooks of “About A Girl,” which later found its rightful fame on MTV Unplugged in New York, sounds dimmer than any of the band’s later singles. And I’ll argue to my death that “Paper Cuts” deserves recognition as a precursor for shaping doom metal’s rumbling noise.
Of course, Dave Grohl had yet to join the band at this point, and who knows what heartiness he could have brought to the dynamics, but I’ve never complained about the job that then-drummer Chad Channing and the Melvins’ Dale Crover (who pounded on three album tracks) did holding down the rhythm section with Krist Novoselic’s suffocating bass.
For Sub Pop’s deluxe edition of Bleach, Endino remastered the album, bringing up the levels for a welcome lift in the low fidelity of the original recording. Though it’s only one disc, it comes packaged with a 52-page booklet with candid photos of the band as well as a never-before-released live set recorded on February 9th, 1990 at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon and remixed by Endino. Unfortunately for this live recording, it’s overshadowed by another recent release.
Nirvana’s Live At Reading was released simultaneously with Bleach, yet mostly because of Geffen’s efforts to block an unofficial bootleg that was in the works. Hailed as the band’s greatest gig they ever played, the long, long, long-awaited set comes as both a CD and DVD, both of which do their jobs representing the band’s character and control they flaunted as a live band.
The CD is but an audio take on the set that loses some of the memorable bits – Kurt famously being rolled out in a wheelchair wearing a wig and a hospital gown, leading into “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with a brief parody of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling,” the guy that just won’t stop pogoing on stage in between Kurt and Krist – but as a live album, it portrays that recklessness, humour and vitality that previous live collection From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah failed to.
The CD loses its weight compared to the DVD though. Considering the legacy Nirvana has maintained 15 years after the death of Cobain, Reading gives every “new” fan the opportunity to fully experience the experience. Seeing them on stage, the trio look Smurf-like (the wayward dancer helps fill the space) and aside from the odd goofy posturing by Novoselic, hardly move a muscle for most of the 25-song set. The thrill mostly comes in just knowing the history and witnessing a significant part of it. For example, one of the first airings of “All Apologies,” which Kurt dedicates to Courtney Love and their weeks-old baby Frances Bean, before fumbling the second verse to an unacquainted sea of disciples.
Nirvana weren’t born entertainers, but they knew how to make the most of such a mammoth platform like Reading. To finally witness this legendary performance is as meaningful as I’d hoped it would be. As they wind down “Territorial Pissings” and explode into an fumbling onslaught of chaos – Grohl uses his drum kit for target practice, Novoselic plays a game of catch with his bass, and Cobain enters the crowd so he can give away his lefty Strat – I’m reminded of why these guys were so pivotal in my life and every other 14-year-old kid’s. And also the scarring memory of passing on a chance to see them play Maple Leaf Gardens because I didn’t want to shell out $30 – especially considering Grohl’s Foo Fighters charge more than twice that for less half the value.
- Cam Lindsay
Tags: Bleach, Chad Channing, Courtney Love, Dale Crover, Dave Grohl, Geffen, Jack Endino, Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain, Live At Reading, Nevermind, Nirvana, Sub Pop
Posted in Reviews, The New Music | 2 Comments »
Who: Beach House
Sounds like: The kind of music you hear while going under anaesthesia for your wisdom teeth.
RIYL: Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi, Mazzy Star, Brightblack Morning Light, sleeping pills, Cocteau Twins, Grizzly Bear
Need to know: Beach House is the Baltimore-based duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand. After releasing two breathtaking albums on the Carpark label, they signed with Sub Pop this summer. A brand new album titled Teen Dream is scheduled for release on January 26, 2010. They recently finished a tour with pals Grizzly Bear, who Victoria sang back up for on their single “Two Weeks” and “Slow Life,” which is featured on the New Moon soundtrack. Pitchfork loves Beach House almost as much as Grizzly Bear.
Track: According to Gorilla Vs Bear, “Norway” was written after during a train ride through some Norwegian mountains. It makes complete sense – there’s a strong pastoral feeling to the tranquil melodies emanating from the dizzying synths and guitars, which are treated with pitch-bending effects. What’s most notable though is the tempo, which is frolicking compared to their usual snail’s pace as well as the broadened richness in Victoria’s voice.