Tuesday, September 30, 2008

johnny flynn: a larum

From Sam Amidon’s All Is Well and Fleet Foxes’ Ragged Wood, so far, 2008 has been an amazing year for folk music! And it continues to shine as I discovered yet another wonderful folk record—A Larum by Johnny Flynn. The record is fantastic right from the get-go: "The Box", a song about Rob the homeless man sets up Flynn’s entertaining narratives and characters evident throughout A Larum. The up tempo melodies and gorgeous fiddlings are more than pleasing to the ears. Flynn’s grave voice, brass sections, shouting of "I’m alright!/I’m alright!", tipping, and whistling are the components to the perfect sad song in "Hong Kong Cemetry". I can go on forever telling you how great A Larum is, but it’s probably best if you just check out the songs below; or better yet, if you are in Toronto on Saturday, stop by at Criminal Records (493 Queen St. West) around 5pm to see a free in-store performance by Johnny Flynn!

The Box [wicked-cool song]
Sally [wicked-cool song]
Hong Kong Cemetry [super-wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Johnny Flynn's MySpace here
buy A Larum here

and the winner is...

Caribou’s Andorra is the winner of this year’s Polaris Music Prize, congratulations!

Friday, September 26, 2008

they gave out earplugs at the doors... they should’ve given everyone a pair of sunglasses too!

My Bloody Valentine live is a visual and auditory workout! Despite the fact that the band played in my second least favourite concert venue in Toronto last night, their sound was mind-blowing! This is the only time (and probably the last time) that I can say the sound was actually good at the Kool Haus; in fact, it was nearly perfect! "(When You Wake) You're Still In A Dream", "Only Shallow", "You Never Should", and "Nothing Much To Lose" were so loud and so incredible! ...oh and that last song, "You Made Me Realise" + "the holocaust" ...a 25 mins of noise so loud that the ground was shaking the entire time! It felt like a train was passing directly below and thunder striking at the same time... holy crap... what an experience! There are only four My Bloody Valentine shows left, anyone who even has a slight interest in the band or want to experience something ground-breaking should really go to one of the reminding shows!

Sept 27 at Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL
Sept 30 at The Concourse in San Francisco, CA
Oct 1 at Santa Monica Civic in Los Angeles, CA
Oct 2 at Santa Monica Civic in Los Angeles, CA

Here’s a recording from a show at ICA in London, England (June 13, 2008) that’s been flowing around the internet:

My Bloody Valentine, Live at ICA in London, England (June 13, 2008)
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly

Sigur Rós — September 22 @ Massey Hall




Monday, September 22, 2008

detektivbyrån: wermland

Detektivbyrån is a three-piece instrumental band from Sweden. Their second album, Wermland, is full of wonderful folk-oriented songs that remind me of Amélie and (for some strange reason) Harry Potter. The album’s opener, "Om Du Möter Varg" sounds like something out of a fantasy movie, indicating the beginning of a magical journey. In a way, that is how I would describe most of Wermland. It is a fantastic exploration; and the accordion, music box, bells, toy piano, xylophone, keyboard, and countless other instruments provide the lively sound and textures to the journey. By now, you are probably wondering what the hell I am talking about... it is not exactly easy to describe Wermland, so it is probably more useful if you just check out the songs below.

Om Du Möter Varg [wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Detektivbyrån's MySpace here
buy Wermland here

Friday, September 19, 2008

lots of free shows!

For those of you who live in the Toronto area, Criminal Records has added yet another free in-store in the month of October. Brasstronaut will be performing on Thursday, October 9th at 6:00pm.

Just a reminder, Johnny Flynn is playing on October 4th at 5pm and The Buttless Chaps on October 10th at 6pm.

visit Criminal Records' MySpace here
visit Brasstronaut's MySpace here
visit Johnny Flynn's MySpace here
visit The Buttless Chaps' MySpace here

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the streets: everything is borrowed

If you are familiar with The Streets’ first three albums, you know that Mike Skinner is never shy at voicing his ideologies. Thankfully, that has not changed in his latest album; Everything Is Borrowed is Skinner's most philosophical album yet. While much of Original Pirate Material expressed Skinner’s dislikes and doubts for society, Everything Is Borrowed sees him parading his joys and hopes for life; it has this much-needed positive vibe.

The album opens with an uplifter as Skinner sings about living life to the fullest in the titled track: "I came to this world with nothing / and I leave with nothing but love / everything else is just borrowed." In Heaven For The Weather, he tells us to forget all the primitive concepts of heaven and hell and just be ourselves. He advises us to try new things and live life spontaneously in "On The Flip Of A Coin". Finally, "The Escapist" is a peaceful meditation for the hectic, chaotic, and confusing world we are in; it is one of the most beautiful songs of the year! Mike Skinner has developed from a musician to a true poet! Everything Is Borrowed marks The Streets' second last album and it might be his best. However, it makes me sad that there will only be one more album after this.

Everything Is Borrowed
[wicked-cool song]
On The Edge Of A Cliff [wicked-cool song]
The Escapist [super-wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit The Streets' MySpace here
buy Everything Is Borrowed here

Thursday, September 11, 2008

annie: don't stop

As a huge fan of Anniemal, I have patiently been waiting four long years for the follow-up (seriously, WTF took so long?!?!) My anticipation was at an all time high just before listening to Don’t’ Stop for the first time. Naturally, such eagerness usually ends in dreadful disappointment; but not with Don’t Stop... I pretty much fell in love with it by the end of the first song! The lead single, "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me" has the same playfulness as "Chewing Gum" and it is hands down one of the best songs of the year. "I Can’t Let Go" is a thrilling duet with Fredrik Saroea from Datarock while "Sweet", "Loco", "What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)", and "Song Reminds Me Of You" are pure entertaining electronic dance songs. What can I say, Annie does it again with her sophomore release and delivers yet another pop miracle.

I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me [super-wicked-cool song]
I Can't Let Go (Feat. Fredrik Saroea) [wicked-cool song]
When The Night [wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Annie’s MySpace here
Don’t Stop comes out on October 6th, pre-order it here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the spinto band: moonwink

With so many generic and formulaic bands out there, it is getting harder and harder to find a good indie-pop album. Even so, The Spinto Band never fails to shine in the genre; in fact, the band’s upcoming record, is full of sensational indie-pop songs. Moonwink features imaginatively textured instrumentation, joyful melodies, energetic vibe, as well as the catchiness and playfulness of The Cure, The Flaming Lips, and Good Shoes.

Summer Grof
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit The Spinto Band's MySpace here
buy Moonwink comes out on September 22nd in the UK and October 7th in North America, pre-order it here

...looks like The Spinto Band has a rather busy fall/winter schedule:
09/22 Botanique/Rotonde Brussels, Brussels
09/23 Paradiso Amsterdam
09/24 La Maroquinerie Paris
09/25 The Borderline London
09/27 Norwich Arts Centre Norwich
09/28 Bullingdon Arms Oxford
09/29 Oran Mor Glasgow, Scotland
09/30 Korova Liverpool
10/01 Sugarmill Stoke
10/03 The Lousiana Bristol
10/04 Cockpit Leeds
10/05 Night & Day - ITC Manchester
10/06 The Duchess York
10/08 Soul Tree Cambridge
10/09 Bodega Social Club Nottingham
10/10 Barfly Birmingham
10/17 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia, PA
10/18 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY
10/19 The Middle East Cafe Cambridge, MA
10/20 Petit Cafe Campus Montreal, QC
10/21 Lee’s Palace Toronto, ON
10/22 Skully’s Music Diner Columbus, OH
10/23 Metro Chicago, IL
10/24 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
10/25 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MI
10/28 Chop Suey Seattle, WA
10/29 The Media Club Vancouver, BC
10/30 Holocene Portland, OR
11/01 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA
11/02 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA
11/03 The Echoplex Los Angeles, CA
11/05 U31 San Diego, CA
11/06 The Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ
11/08 Hailey’s Denton, TX
11/09 Fun Fun Fun Festival Austin, TX
11/11 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN
11/12 The Masquerade (Hell Stage) Atlanta, GA
11/13 Visulite Theater Charlotte, NC
11/14 The Black Cat Washington DC

Saturday, September 06, 2008

late of the pier: fantasy black channel

It might not be clear at first, but by the third or forth listen, it should be obvious that Fantasy Black Channel a rather creative, in-depth and extraordinary record. Late Of The Pier’s debut is 40 plus minutes of rhythmic basslines, 80s retro synth-pop melodies, and unforgettable abstract lyrics. "Hot Tent Blues", the rock anthem Muse-like instrumental track opens the album before switching gears into the choppy math-rock gem "Broken". The band’s creativity continues through the tribal-like percussion and messy rhythmic patterns in "The Bears Are Coming". Fantasy Black Channel is not short of ultra catchy singles either: "Space And The Woods" and "Heartbeat" embrace the quartet’s boastful and witty attitudes; "Focker" has a raw and thunderous dance melody; and "Bathroom Gurgle" is a 7-minutes epic that features sudden tempo changes and Sam Eastgate’s falsetto singing. Stylistically speaking, Fantasy Black Channel may not exactly be the most cohesive album; but underneath all the chaotic sound and style, it is bold, youthful, imaginative, and most importantly, full of energy.

Space And The Woods [wicked-cool song]
Focker [wicked-cool song]
Bathroom Gurgle [wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Late Of The Pier’s MySpace here
buy Fantasy Black Channel here

Thursday, September 04, 2008

woodhands: heart attack

Heart Attack begins with a soft female voice singing "I’ve been waiting all night long for you to ask me to dance..." over some up tempo electro beats; but "Dancer" really shines when the contrasting rough male voice shouts, "you're a very good dancer, what is your name, what is your name? You're a very good dancer!" This opening track really sets the mood for Woodhands’ dance uproar debut. The quality of the production is very impressive; the duo successfully blend electro-synth-pop with hip-hop/R & B beats in Heart Attack. The strip down drum beats and robot vocal towards the ending of "I Wasn't Made For Fighting", the dynamic rhythm and tempo changes, and the range of effects used all points to Woodhands’ perfect sense of timing. Heart Attack is a dance party and that is truly the only way to describe it!

Under Attack [wicked-cool song]
Sailboats (feat. Laura Barrett)
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Woodhands' MySpace here
buy Heart Attack here

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

motel motel: new denver

Motel Motel’s New Denver is a fantastic alt-country record. Imagine the rhythms of Okkervil River and Rock Plaza Central with the soulful energy of Two Gallants and Cold War Kids, that’s what you get with Motel Motel. Perhaps the most appealing thing about New Denver is its jam band vibe, making it sounds raw and fun; and I imagined the band had a blast making the album too.

Coffee [wicked-cool song]
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit Motel Motel's MySpace here
buy New Denver here

Monday, September 01, 2008

the morning paper: it's getting clearer

It's Getting Clearer EP by The Morning Paper is a 32 minutes ambient journey of dreamy drones and pop harmonies. The album projects a picture perfect day—an exceedingly sunny day with comfortably cool breeze—and the sound of birds singing in "Sidewalks" reinforces this imagery. The surreal sensations of It's Getting Clearer EP makes it an ideal chill out album.

Count Me Out
***all files expire in 7 days or until bandwidth reaches its limit

visit The Morning Paper's MySpace here
buy It's Getting Clearer EP here