Posts Tagged ‘Music’

manmanPhiladelphia experimental band Man Man are back at it again with their new album On Oni Pond out September 10th via Anti-. The album is produced by Mike Mogis who has also worked with the likes of Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit and Rilo Kiley.

Check out the lyric video for their new track “Head On” below:

Additional Info: Man Man main man, Honus Honus, has a side project Mister Heavenly. Bandmate from the project Nick Thorburn (from Islands) also has a new album on the way. Check out Islands new album Ski Mask out September 17th.


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field trip

The details: On an overcast Saturday (June 8th) record label Arts & Crafts had their 10th anniversary celebration Field Trip Music Festival at the Fort York & Garrison Common (which I might add is actually an awesome venue for concerts– you can’t go wrong with history and music). The lineup (listed in the image above) consisted of all bands within the labels’ roster, and it was an impressive lineup indeed. I was particularly excited for Bloc Party.

My experience: I was lucky enough to be put on a guest list to the festival but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of work for the day. So, although the doors were open at noon, I wasn’t able to show up until after 5 pm. So sadly, this wont be a full festival experience review.

I was most excited to see Bloc Party (quirky British indie-rock band), in fact they were essentially the only band I wanted to see, although later I discovered I enjoyed the other bands more than I anticipated. We (my girlfriend and I) arrived at the venue while Bloc Party were on, we were hoping to catch the end of their set.

Unfortunately, because we were on a guest list, we had to go to another entrance on the other side of the venue. So as we walked a couple blocks to the west entrance (in hopes of seeing Bloc Party— I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere), we could hear them perform (it was amazing to hear ‘Helicopter’ from a distance). However, by the time we got to the other side, found our way to the tent, got our tickets, went through security and took our first step into the festival, Bloc Party was JUST leaving the stage. Oh cruel world!

Next band up was Montreal indie-pop band Stars. Between sets we grabbed food from the infamous food trucks, and just wandered around the field trip and rustic themed festival. It was nice– they had art, free vitamin water and popsicles, little tents, a kids zone, a Drake General Store tent (which had some awesome merch and knick knacks) and a whole whack of stuff.

Stars: Too be fair, when Stars were on, my girlfriend and I were more concerned with getting food in our stomaches and taking in the surroundings. Not to mention neither of us were particularly fond of the band. I went through my phase where I listened to their album  Set Yourself On Fire religiously to the point that I can’t stand it any more. However, while sitting eating our shrimp and octopus tacos (from Buster’s Sea Cove), we found ourselves enjoying their performance.

Their synth-pop, dreamy, sex, relationship and booze drenched music came across completely different live. While listening to it, I found myself thinking this reminds me of REM, or Fleetwood Mac, or The Cure or any other band other than Stars. I guess this isn’t a trait a band generally tries to achieve, but it made me appreciate the performance more. Maybe it even added an element of surprise.

Feist and her full band @ Field Trip Music Festival

Feist and her full band @ Field Trip Music Festival

Feist: For the first couple songs Feist was joined on stage by a full band. By the third song the band left just leaving her (Leslie Feist), a drummer and a keyboardist. One may think having a full band sound would make for a better live show, but to me the show began when the extra band members left. Feist was able to shine when it was just the three musicians up on stage– her raw talent, impressive guitar skills and vocals were at the forefront.

Feist is a strong performer and she managed to impress even with her slower songs. It wasn’t until she started breaking out older material that the fans loosened up and started dancing and singing along. Fan favourites like “I Feel It All” and “My Moon My Man” were stand outs for me. Not surprisingly, she didn’t perform her breakout hit “1234” and instead she played a remixed dance-y version. It was a very drum and vocal loop heavy version of the song, and it got the crowd moving. Although it hardly resembled the original song, it was a successful and sneaky way to say she included it in the set without actually performing it. I honestly don’t blame bands when they don’t play their breakout hits, but good on Feist for incorporating it somehow.

Her performance started off kind of slow, and built up to a grand finally. I guess I just had to warm up to her, but overall, Feist is an amazing musician and live performer!

Broken Social Scene: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Broken Social Scene, especially since I hadn’t listened to them in years. When I last listened I had their album You Forgot It In People on repeat, to the point that I gained an attachment to certain songs. An attachment I completely forgot about until I heard the songs be brought back to life live.

They opened their set with ‘KC Accidental’, and from that moment I was hooked. Not only are they musically captivating, but the emotional bond I had with the songs jolted to the forefront of my mind. They’re all talented musicians (I was particularly impressed with the drummer), and their stage presence and showmanship are amazing. They’re a big band as is, but the entire set was a smorgasbord of musicians. There was a horn section, additional percussion, hand clappers (people who specifically did hand claps), and plenty of guest appearances. Feist appeared for a song (‘Almost Crimes’), Jason Collett played guitar on a couple tracks, Metric guitarist James Shaw came on stage for a song dedicated to him, and who knows who else showed up? There was plenty of coming and going on that stage!

The peak of the performance for me was when they played ‘Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl’ and ‘Cause = Time’ back to back.  There has only been a handful of bands I’ve seen live that have successfully been able to transport me to a certain time in my life and sincerely have a musical/emotional connection with. I would’ve never guessed Broken Social Scene would make that list, but hearing those two songs one after another was an untouchable experience for me, strictly for sentimental reasons. For me, everything after that experience was mediocre in comparison.

They played quite an impressively long set, and a lot of fan favorites. We left early to avoid the crowd, but they were still going strong long after we left.

In Conclusion: Too be honest, I’m not sure if this will become an annual thing, but I kind of hope that it does. I can’t imagine the lineup changing much year after year (since it’s the labels roster), but it looked like it was a huge success, and it would be great if they could make something more of it. On a personal level, I enjoyed it way more than I anticipated, and although I was debating skipping it (due to work reasons) I’m glad I didn’t.

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UK rockers Arctic Monkeys have released a new track ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ which can be found on iTunes. A new album is expected to be released sometime this year. Let’s hope that means a North American tour to go along with it!

Check out the single below:

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ell v gore

Toronto goth punks Ell V Gore released their EP Sex Static, and a video for their track ‘Lobotomy,’  today (June 4th). I can smell the stench of stale beer and other peoples sweat just from listening to it. You can watch the video below starring “my favorite trannies and scumbagzzz in the city” (quoted from the bands Facebook page).

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London’s Hot Chip have released a new one-off single, ‘Dark & Stormy’ out July 22nd in the UK and July 23rd in North America. It’s their first new release since their acclaimed In Our Heads. You can listen to the single below:

The single will be released on vinyl and download via Domino. The North American version will be release on 12″ vinyl and will include remixes of tracks off In Our Heads. Check out the track list below:

1 Dark & Stormy
2 Jelly Babies
3 Doctor
4 Flutes [LP Version]
5 Flutes [Sasha Remix]
6 How Do You Do [Todd Terje Remix]
7 Look at Where We Are [Major Lazer Remix]
8 Night and Day [Daphni remix] [digital only]

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CHVRCHES haven’t even released a full album yet and they’ve already gained a ton of success. The electropop band from Glasglow, Scotland formed in 2011 mainly from other bands. Interestingly enough lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry has a law degree and a Masters in journalism, so thank goodness this band is working out, otherwise I’m sure her parents wouldn’t be too happy with her life decision.

In March 2013, they released Recover EP, and since the release they haven’t looked back. Their full length has a rough release date of September-ish.

If you like what you hear, check out their other songs (I recommend ‘The Mother We Share’ and ‘Lies’) or you can see them on tour, including some dates opening for Depeche Mode.

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Details: The Shins fourth album Port Of Morrow came out March 2012, and they haven’t stopped touring since its release. On March 22, 2013 they played a sold out show at Sound Academy in Toronto with guests Ra Ra Riot.

Ra Ra Riot @ Sound Academy, Toronto

Ra Ra Riot @ Sound Academy, Toronto

Ra Ra Riot: The Syracuse, New York pop rockers just released their third full-length album Beta Love in January 2013. Their sound is quite 70/80’s with synth heavy hooks, belting vocals, subtly detailed basslines, and electronic and bass heavy drums. Even the band members’ attire were screaming vintage — the singer wearing a pale pink button up, and the bassist looking as if he just stepped out of a DeLorean with his acid wash skinny jeans, shaggy hair and his large vintage glasses. Meanwhile, the keyboardist/violinist looked as if she was a long lost ABBA band member.

Fittingly enough, Ra Ra Riot’s music does have glimmers of ABBA with their synth-pop sound. They’re a large band (6 members) and good at their craft. The members would switch instruments mid song, they had a cellist (which is awesome) and the lead singer sounded spot on to how he’d sound on the record. To me the peak of their performance was mid set when they broke out their song ‘When I Dream.‘ It’s a simple song but the marching drums, belting vocals, and finger snapping managed to captivate my soul. They then smoothly transitioned into a dance-y song (that I unfortunately don’t know the name of) that got me moving.

All around, they’re a good live band and a great opening band that successfully got the crowd moving and dancing. It’s also good to see a band that has fun with each other on stage — small antics between members, laughing and smiling at each other. Also noteworthy, although not seeing it for myself, the drummer was entertaining to watch because he’d apparently have a huge grin ever time he hit the snare drum. As it was described to me, it was quite captivating, as he was able to transition from a deadpan stare to a huge grin with every hit of the snare.

I’ve heard of Ra Ra Riot before, but  seeing them live definitely changed my perspective of the band for the better.

the shins

The Shins @ Sound Academy, Toronto

The Shins: The Shins came on stage fairly early, around 10 pm. First thing I noticed was female guitarist, Jessica Dobson, wasn’t there — instant disappointment! I was actually really excited to see her perform. To me a female musician, especially one as talented as her, increases the awesome factor of any band, and her not being there took a blow to theirs. It turns out she took a break from The Shins to tour with her own band Deep Sea DiverBesides, she’s only been an official member for a year, so surely The Shins can rock the house without her, and surely, they did (still disappointed though)!

They started off strong and surprisingly played popular songs fairly early in their set. Within the first four or five songs they played biggies like ‘Caring Is Creepy’ and ‘Simple Song,’ which I thought for sure would be encore material. Their set was sprinkled with a good mix of new and old, but they left out some personal favourites (‘Pink Bullets’, ‘The Past And Pending’, ‘Sea Legs’, ‘Split Needles’ and more). That aside, The Shins are amazing live, and they have great sing-along songs. Throughout their set the audience would religiously belt out the oooo’s, awww’s and quirky sounds in each individual song. And if you know The Shins, you’d know there’s plenty of that in their music.

Lead singer/guitarist James Mercer sang flawlessly, and at times he would jazz up the vocals and sing lines differently from the record, which was refreshing. The audience would sing along to every word either way, and James would smile. There was little banter between songs until mid way through the set, when James declared that Toronto always has an amazing crowd. The band then had some good hardy Toronto banter — the drummer said how much he loves Canada, the bassist shared, I quote, “Toronto is my favourite… right now”, and the keyboardist announced that his mother, Wendy, was born in Toronto. Which, naturally, caused the crowd to chant “Wendy! Wendy! Wendy!” as the band members laughed on stage. The chants lead to James making a funny; “Hashtag Wendy”. I never did think of tweeting or even checking if that hashtag caught on.

Near the end of their set they played an epic jammy version of their title track ‘Port Of Morrow’ which transitioned flawlessly into their cult classic ‘New Slang.’ Again, I would have thought it would be encore material. It was amazing to hear live, however, it lacked luster, and it didn’t seem as magical as it could be. Perhaps he’s lost the passion to play the song, which I can understand (when I saw Beck he played ‘Loser’ first, to get it out of the way. When I saw Radiohead, they didn’t even play ‘Creep’, nor did I care they didn’t), but I still expected that… feeling, which I didn’t receive. It was still nice to hear the crowd sing along.

Shortly after, they said goodnight and left the stage. For the encore, James came back solo with his acoustic guitar, and played ‘September’ (the first love song he ever wrote), the band joined him on stage mid song, and finished the song strong. They played one more song, and closed with a jammed out version of ‘Know Your Onion!’ (I think, correct me if I’m wrong).

Conclusion: It was a good show and they’re an awesome band to see live. Was it the best though? No. Was it in my top five? No. Is that a tad harsh? Probably. Would I recommend you see them live? Yes, I still would. It’s the same case for any band, but the more you know their music, the better the show.

Side note: This is my personal opinion and how I received the show.

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