September 30, 2006
Photo by David Levene from the Guardian (be sure to check out the AiH cover of the Go-Between’s “People Say” on that page)
This summer I think I may have listened to Architecture in Helsinki‘s “In Case we Die” more than any other record. To say that the optimistic anthems produced by this army of Aussies (there are something like 37 musicians in this band. Ok I exagerate there are 8 at the time of their first two albums and this set, now there are 6 members) are layered doesn’t even begin to describe things. Their songs are populated by horns, multiple guitars, pianos and keyboards, lyrics sung and shouted in unison, hand claps, xylophones, improvised percussion and found sounds, power tools and who knows what else. But nothing seems lost in the mix. Each sound comes to the fore just when it is needed, neatly arranged but always just on the verge of chaos. All these sounds merge and break apart as the songs constantly shift from soft, sweetly naive, whispered lullabies to joyous, bouncy, and extremely energetic rockers and then back down again in the span of three or four minutes. In my quest for a perfect summer soundtrack I kept returning to AiH who seem to radiate Australian sunshine.
I missed them at their first ever Toronto date this spring but hope that they will swing around again sometime soon. If they bring even a fraction of the energy found on their albums to their live show I have a feeling their live act would amazing. For a sample of how they translate their complex sound on to the stage, I offer you a short set recorded by XFM in London from 2005. They are currently in the middle of a US tour with CYHSY. Rumour has it (well, Pitchfork told me) that they have a very limited tour-only split EP for sale and a remix album entitled “We Die: They Remixed”. Any one going to a show want to pick me up a copy of either/both of these? You would be my hero and, of course, I would reimburse you the cost of the cd and postage and stuff. Just putting that out there. Let me know if you can help me out. Expect a new album to be released sometime in 2007.
Architecture in Helsinki, Camden Barfly, London (XFM X-Posure), 6 July 2005
1) Neverevereverdid.mp3 (4.66 MB)
2) Tiny Paintings.mp3 (3.54 MB)
3) It’s 5!.mp3 (1.97 MB)
4) Owls Go.mp3 (3.85 MB)
5) In Case We Die.mp3 (4.12 MB)
6) Cemetery.mp3 (1.91 MB)
7) Wishbone.mp3 (2.78 MB)
8 ) New single and thanks talk.mp3 (0.5 MB)
9) Maybe You Can Owe Me.mp3 (2.02 MB)
‘What’s in [the] Store?’ you ask. Why, all kinds of AiH goodies, of course. Buy ‘em up.
September 23, 2006
Above photo taken by Somebody_, 6 July 2006
A little while ago I posted about Shout Out Out Out Out’s album and recounted my experience with the band the last time they played town. I was blown away with their show then and am extremely please to say that the presence of an actual audience this time around only served to improve their performance.
SOOOO play dance music designed to get the indie kids moving. They employ two drummers, multiple bassists and keyboardists, the vocodor-filtered vocals of Nik Kozub, and a hint of cowbell to make some of the funkiest robo-electro-rock music I’ve ever heard. It is exceptionally fun and infectious and it demands that you shake something.
They had no trouble getting Kingston up and moving but dancing hardest of all were the members of the band. Not content to stare at their shoes these guys are giving it their all throughout the show. When not playing (and often when they were) they would jump, scissor-kick and shake their way across the stage. Near the end of their set, Kozub was scissor-kicking so hard his pant literally exploded.
Check Shout Out Out Out Out out for yourself if you get a chance. These guys put on a helluva show.
Shout Out Out Out Out, AJ’s Alehouse, Kingston, 13 September 2006
1) This is how it works talk (intro).mp3 (0.6 MB)
2) Self Loathing Rulz.mp3 (4.39 MB)
3) Forever Indebted.mp3 (5.75 MB)
4) Your Shitty Record Won’t Mix Itself.mp3 (5.36 MB)
5) Dude You Feel Electrical.mp3 (6.58 MB)
6) I hope you’re feeling this shit talk.mp3 (0.9 MB)
7) Procrastinator’s Fight Song.mp3 (5.78 MB)
8 ) Running outta time talk.mp3 (0.8 MB)
9) Nobody Calls Me Unless They Want Something.mp3 (5.21 MB)
10) Chicken Soup For The Fuck You.mp3 (4.33 MB)
11) Best show weve had here ever talk (outro).mp3 (0.6 MB)
Hold your own scissorkick-filled dance parties with SOOO’s awesome debut record.
September 17, 2006
(photos from Grizzly Bear’s show at the Grad Club, Kingston, April 11, 2006)
‘Twas a busy week and I haven’t been able to devote too much time to b(oot)logging so this will be short and sweet. While on tour in the UK while promoting their stunning new album, “Yellow House,” Grizzly Bear were invited over to the BBC twice to perform and enchant. They offered up an acoustic set from the The Hub with Gideon Coe and, a week later, a set from Maida Vale Studio which aired on Rob da Bank. They are touring throughout North America (including shows in Toronto and Montreal) and I highly recommend checking them out. That’s it from me until next week. Enjoy.
Grizzly Bear, The Hub, Gideon Coe, BBC6 Music, 8 Septemeber 2006
1) intro.mp3 (0.5 MB)
2) Plans.mp3 (3.24 MB)
3) interview.mp3 (4.17 MB)
4) Knife.mp3 (3.27 MB)
5) outro.mp3 (0.4 MB)
Grizzly Bear, Maida Vale Studio, Rob da Bank, BBC Radio 1, 14 September 2006
1) intro.mp3 (0.4 MB)
2) Lullabye.mp3 (5.03 MB)
3) Knife.mp3 (3.49 MB)
4) On a Neck, On a Spit.mp3 (6.26 MB)
Buy Yellow House here.
September 11, 2006
Shane at the Torture Garden is busy moving and instead of leaving his readers without the sweet, sweet music they are accustomed to, he has decided to temporarily hand over the reigns to others to talk about bands that they love but no one else seems to have heard of. It was my honour and privilege to contribute a post on the Mississauga space-rock collective Hollowphonic. You can check it out here. Do you have a favourite band that no one else knows about? Think others would lead more fulfilled lives if they knew about them? Feel free to tell me all about them in the comments.
September 9, 2006
At the end of July I headed to the National’s Capital to see Sunset Rubdown with As the Poet’s Affirm, a show co-organized by those damper dapper young fellows at Mocking Music. It was a bit of a trek, but it was totally worth feeling absolutely destroyed the next day when I had to go to work after only a few hours of sleep to see it.
As the Poet’s Affirm where fantastic. They impressed me with their complex orchestrations – their sound has evolved quite a bit since they put out the fantastic album “The Jaws that Bite, The Claws that Catch” (see Cokemachineglow for a track from their forthcoming album “Awake” [scroll down to #14]) – and by the variety of instruments which each member played to create these sounds. Their set was epic, engaging and quite a bit of fun to watch. (Buy AtPA from Zunior).
Sunset Rubdown followed AtPA with a very strong set of their own. There were a few technical difficulties at the start but they were sorted out in short order. Spencer Krug was wonderfully intense, almost manic, while playing but his self-depreciating sense of humour came through between songs. Sunset Rubdown’s complex and demanding lyrics and music translated very well in a live setting. There was a diversity in the sound as Krug switched between keyboards, guitar, and accordion, and his trademark yelped vocals were wonderfully complimented by the backing vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel and I-don’t-know-what-else of Camilla Wynn Ingr. The setlist drew on all three Sunset Rubdown recordings, along with a couple new songs but as they were running late there was no encore which means we were possibly denied a cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U” which they have played at other shows. All in all it was a great show, even without the cheesey cover.
Sunset Rubdown, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, 26 July 2006
1) intro.mp3 (0.3 MB)
new song (title?) March Up on your Leopard, Upon the End of your Feral Days.mp3 (4.78 MB) [title courtesy of Mike. Thanks for the info! Update: The song, with its now official title, has been released by Jagjaguwar and will be on the new album "Random Spirit Lover".)
3) now i take it off (tuning) talk.mp3 (1.53 MB)
4) Snake’s Got A Leg I/III.mp3 (3.39 MB) [update: Karpe's comment made me go back and take another listen. It actually is a mix of part I and III of the song. See my comment for the breakdown.]
5) we’re gonna do better and awkward silence talk.mp3 (1.2 MB)
6) Stadiums and Shrines I.mp3 (4.19 MB)
7) Winged/Wicked Things.mp3 (4.32 MB)
8 ) I am a ninja and a sexy beast talk.mp3 (1.13 MB)
9) Us Ones in Between.mp3 (4.2 MB)
10) They Took a Vote and Said No.mp3 (4.06 MB)
11) three colours intro talk.mp3 (1.16 MB)
12) Three Colours I and II.mp3 (6.49 MB)
13) what do you wanna do? talk.mp3 (0.4 MB)
14) I’m Sorry I Sang on Your Hands That Have Been in the Grave.mp3 (5.19 MB)
15) thanks and last song talk.mp3 (0.5 MB)
16) Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings.mp3 (5.93 MB)
September 2, 2006
If you know anything about Tilly and the Wall you probably know one or all of the following three things: 1) they were named after a children’s book about a mouse, 2) they are buddies with Conor Oberst, and 3) they favour tap shoes over drumkits (although on their recent sophomore album, “Bottoms of Barrels” they have made some use of drums). While this third point has been called a gimmick I think it is more taking advantage of the talents of a member of the band to create a sound that is rather unique in the pop landscape. Tilly and the Wall’s songs, as you can see from their recent performance on NPR‘s World Cafe, are filled with killer harmonies, wonderful orchestration and a hint of something more serious, perhaps even dark, hiding beneath the pop-y surface.
Tilly and the Wall, World Cafe, NPR, 6 June 2006
1) intro.mp3 (0.3 MB)
2) Sing Songs Along.mp3 (3.3 MB)
3) Tilly’s sound and the Omaha scene talk.mp3 (3.7 MB)
4) Bad Education.mp3 (4.34 MB)
5) songwriting and secrets talk.mp3 (1.45 MB)
6) Rainbows in the Dark.mp3 (3.91 MB)
7) oddballs and outro.mp3 (1.64 MB)