Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEWS BITES : Matt Mays single up for download; new Postdata video

psst... it's always easier to just follow me on Twitter.

Matt Mays and band will be in Charlottetown, PEI this weekend for a gig with Bachman Turner and Great Big Sea. Other shows in July include a solo show in Wolfville, NS on July 30 at Muir Murray Estate Winery and a FREE Natal Day show (with the band) at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth on July 31.

Mays recorded a song  called "Queen of Portland Street" (you may know it as "Hurricanes") and can be heard exclusively on Q104 or downloaded from

Kathryn Calder (New Pornographers, Immaculate Machine) will be releasing her first solo release named Are You My Mother?. To entice fans, she's put two of the songs up for download, including "Arrows" (MP3) and "Slip Away" (MP3).

If you didn't know, Wolf Parade's latest album Expo 86 was out yesterday. Their single "Ghost Pressure" had me excited to hear the rest of the new material from this Montreal-based band.

Victoria's Jon and Roy to headline Canada Day celebrations in their hometown in front of the legislature. They're on at 9pm and there are fireworks after.

On January 26th Paul Murphy of Wintersleep released his solo debut under the name Postdata to glowing reviews. The video is for the lead single “Tobias Grey”directed by Christopher Mills and illustrated by Nicole Aline Legault. You can also grab 2 singles off of his website for free.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TOUR DATES : The Wilderness of Manitoba w/ The Mountains & The Trees

The Wilderness of Manitoba (above) is set to bring When You Left The Fire To Vancouver with the support of St. John's The Mountains & The Trees, otherwise known as Jon Janes (right). Both are promoting new albums; while the former saw their debut full-length released on June 22, the latter will see his debut I Made This For You released August 10, 2010.

The Wilderness of Manitoba, hailing from Toronto, will bring their folk harmonic tour de force to Vancouver on July 22 @ Little Mountain Gallery, presented By CBC Radio 3Having just returned from a very successful UK tour, they will be touring coast to coast in support of When You Left The Fire the full length follow up to the band’s head turning debut EP Hymns of Love & Spirits.

Download The Wilderness of Manitoba - "Hermit"
Download The Mountains & The Trees - "More & More & More"

CBC Radio 3 Presents The Wilderness Of Manitoba & The Mountains & The Trees Tour Dates:

June 29 – St. John’s, NL @ LSPU Theatre w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 2 – Halifax, NS @ The Company House w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 3 – Charlottetown, PE @ Baba’s Lounge w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 8 – Montreal, QC @, Le Divan Orange w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 14 – Sarnia, ON @ Adams Apple w/ the Mountains & the Trees
July 16 – Sudbury ON @ The River and Sky Festival w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 22 – Vancouver, BC @ Little Mountain Gallery w/ the Mountains & the Trees
July 29 – Bruno, SK @ All Citizen’s Shop
July 30 – Saskatoon SK @ Caffe Sola w/the Mountains & the Trees
July 31 – Winnipeg MB @ ACU Hall, West End Cultural Centre w/the Mountains & the Trees
Aug 1 – Gimli, MB @ Icelandic Festival of Manitoba w/the Mountains & the Trees
Aug 11 – Windsor, ON @ The Phog Lounge w/ the Mountains & the Trees

More Dates To Be Announced Soon.

Here's a small taste of The Wilderness of Manitoba:

THE WILDERNESS OF MANITOBA - Orono Park from Mitch Fillion on Vimeo.

and of The Mountains & The Trees:

Monday, June 28, 2010

FREE CONCERT : Canada Day Celebration with Joel Plaskett & Friends

Lucky Nova Scotians. On July 1st, at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, NS, Dartmouth Crossing presents a free show for Canada Day. It’ll be filled to the brim with great music, fireworks... and did I mention it's free?

There will be events all over the Halifax Regional Municipality. Wear your best 'red & white', and enjoy a pancake breakfast, sing Oh Canada from the top of Citadel Hill, watch the Tattoo Parade in Downtown Halifax or go for the Family Picnic on the Commons. Gather the whole family and attend the outdoor concert on the Dartmouth Waterfront featuring Joel Plaskett Emergency and a line-up selected by the Juno award winner himself.

Here's the line-up:

3:45-4:20 Rose Cousins from PEI/ Halifax
4:30-5:05 Steve Poltz from San Diego
5:20-6:00 David Myles from Fredericton/ Halifax
6:20-7:00 English Words from PEI
7:20-8:00 Deep Dark Woods from Saskatchewan
8:30-10:00 Joel Plaskett Emergency from Shannon/Clayton/Creighton/Point Pleasant Park
The fireworks and later show by Telfer will follow.

To get you in the spirit to celebrate Canada's 143rd birthday, here's a little tune called "True Patriot Love" by headliners Joel Plaskett Emergency:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SHOW REVIEW : Jamie Lidell, June 14 2010 at Venue (panties were thrown!)

UK neo-soul artist Jamie Lidell made the Monday night crowd at Vancouver's Venue Nightclub throb and bounce with his soulful wails and throbbing beats. And it's just as well that I wasn't able to capture any shots of the man and band, because he was so energetic, running from one side of stage to next, that I'm not sure my point-and-shoot could've handled it.

Lisa Christiansen of CBC Radio 3 recently released a podcast in her Extended Play series posing the question, "what happened to rock's front man?". Although Lidell's realm is slightly removed from rock, no one at Venue would question that he was the consummate showman, fully in control of the audience's experience. He enthralled the surprisingly large weeknight crowd from the second the silver backdrop of the high stage was hit with the spotlight, to the glowing embers of red lights as he exited stage left. Sporting a Joseph-esque multi-coloured striped coat over top of a plain white T and a pair of jeans, Lidell cast a spell over the room, inducing not one, but two women to throw their panties on stage at the undeniably sexy performer.

Listens through Lidell's latest album Compass had prepared me for a performance that would channel pop greats such as Michael Jackson, with a healthy dash of John Legend-esque R&B. Consider me surprised when Lidell bade his (excellent) band goodbye for half of the set to turn Venue from a underwear-tossing soul haven to a fog of electronic psychedelia. The crowd transitioned from ecstatic and frisky to fixated, and waved and bobbed to the sound of Lidell's modulated voice and beats. Although the strongest parts of his set involved his chemistry with his band as opposed to facing side stage, head down at his keyboard, it's to Lidell's credit that the energy of the room did not just drop right off.

Jamie Lidell played a set split equally between older hits and tracks off his latest. Here's a highlight of his set, "Your Sweet Boom," which if I remember correctly, he dedicated to his girlfriend's bum.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black Mountain : new album and video for "Old Fangs"

Black Mountain's third full-length album Wilderness Heart is due out on September 14, 2010. The album cover reminds me way too much of this straight-to-dvd cinematic gem, which by the way, is amazing and awful at the same time. Knowing the Vancouver-based psychedelic rock band though, the album should be considerably more amazing than awful.

Track Listing:

The Hair Song
Old Fangs
Radiant Hearts
Let Spirits Ride
Buried By The Blues
The Way To Gone
Wilderness Heart
The Space of Your Mind

Video for "Old Fangs" is directed by Mike Bruce, produced by Zoe Bower and Russell Sanzgiri.

Upcoming Canadian tour dates:
Kamloops, BC - Pogue Mahonew/ Lord Beginner
Calgary, AB - Republikw/ Lord Beginner
Edmonton, AB - Starlite Roomw/ Lord Beginner
Saskatoon, SK - Amigo'sw/ Lord Beginner
Regina, SK - The Exchangew/ Lord Beginner, Orbital Express
Winnipeg, MB - The Garrick Centrew/ Lord Beginner, Sleepy Sun

FREE DOWNLOADS : Ghostkeeper

Hailing from Calgary, eclectic folk/country/rock band Ghostkeeper are celebrating their Polaris Music Prize long-list nomination by offering up two songs off of their self-titled debut for download. They're going on the festival circuit this summer and you can see them all across western Canada.

Sarah Houle, drummer (and vocalist) for Ghostkeeper, has made a video for the track "Spring Fever." Speaking of Houle, when I caught Ghostkeeper opening for Toronto's The Balconies a couple of months ago in the dingy UBC pub, I was very impressed with her simultaneous drumming and singing. Their set was excellent despite the small crowds and poor sound. Mad props.

Ghostkeeper Tour Dates:

July 7-11: Winnipeg Folk Festival
July 15 : Vancouver, BC : The Media Club
July 22 - 25: Calgary Folk Festival
August 6 - 8 : Regina Folk Festival
August 13 - 15 : Peppermill Festival

Downloads (MP3):
“Like Moose Do”
“By Morning”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Balconies busk for War Child Canada!

Toronto band The Balconies are pleased to present five tour dates in support of War Child's Busking for CHANGE initiative. Kicking off in St. Catharines at SCENE Music Festival on June 27th, The Balconies will stop in to different city centers to raise awareness and funds for War Child with support from local bands and friends.

October 2008 marked War Child's first Busking For CHANGE event in downtown Toronto. They had over 50 participating musicians, including Chantal Kreviazuk, Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Neverending White Lights, The Arkells, The Skydiggers and many more, come out and busk for children whose lives have been torn apart by war. Since then War Child's Busking For CHANGE Festivals have spread to Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. The Balconies will bring Busking for CHANGE through St. Catharines (June 27), Barrie (July 3), Guelph (July 7), Mississauga (July 9), and Belleville (July 18). They will be accompanied by a myriad of local artists eager to support the cause including Crush Luther, Dinosaur Bones, Fox Jaws, and more.

Busking for CHANGE has raised over $100,000 for war affected children through online and on-site donations. It has proved a hugely effective way to raise awareness and funds for children in war torn countries. Supporters in each market are encouraged to come out and donate generously or donate in advance online at Tour dates and more information below.

June 25 @ The Shadow, GUELPH
June 27 @ Merchant Ale House, ST. CATHARINES (*SCENE Music Festival w/ Still Life Still, Sweet Thing)
June 27 @ Courthouse Steps Acoustic, ST. CATHARINES (*St. Catharines Busking for Change)
July 3 @ Five Points Outdoor Stage, BARRIE (*Barrie Busking for Change, Promenade Days)
July 9 @ Living Arts Centre Outdoor Stage, MISSISSAUGA (*Rock the Coliseum)
July 18 @ SummerFest Outdoor Stage, BELLEVILLE (*Belleville Busking for Change)

Here's the new video for their first single off of their S/T debut, "Serious Bedtime":

Monday, June 21, 2010

STARS - The Five Ghosts : review & tour dates

The Five Ghosts, the new studio album from Canada’s beloved STARS is available in stores as of today, Monday June 21. It's available in all sorts of ways that you like your music, including deluxe packs available on their website.

The album is truly excellent. It sees the self-proclaimed melodramatic pop band mellowing down and integrating the rock elements of their earlier albums with the ambient, moody electronic elements of their most recent EP Sad Robots. The album is wholly strong, and discussions on Twitter have indicated that different listeners have different songs that they would deem as favourites on an album full of potential singles. "Dead Hearts" and "I Died So I Could Haunt You" were revealed to Vancouver audiences back in February during their set at the Olympics, both standout tracks. "Changes" sees Amy Millan stepping into the spotlight with her silky vocals in a tune that sounds eerily familiar, like someone whose name you can't place. And "Wasted Daylight," the current single, has been stuck in my head in the most pleasant way possible. An altogether gorgeous album and a definite contender for the next round of the Polaris Prize.

The Montreal pop band recently wrapped a North American pre-release tour where they played The Five Ghosts in its entirety from start to finish, coupled with an encore set of tracks selected each night, by their fans. They will play Osheaga and other Canadian festival dates in July, including the Ottawa Blues Fest, Calgary Folk Fest and Hillside in Guelph. Lollapalooza is confirmed for August.

Canadian tour dates are below. There are perks being offered for advance ticket purchases... fans will get exclusive pre-sale ticket and album packages for their upcoming tour. Digital downloads, souvenir tour merch and pre-show meet and greets are some of the offerings available with an advance ticket purchase.
These special pre-sale packages go on sale Tuesday June 22 via at 10 am EST.

Young Galaxy will open the October/November run of dates:

October 20 – Kingston, ON – Syndenham Church
October 22 – London, ON – Music Hall
October 23 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
October 29 – Winnipeg, MB – Burton Cummings
October 31 – Edmonton, AB – Winspear Centre
November 03 – Kelowna, BC – Community Theatre
November 04 –Vancouver, BC – The Vogue

Here's an oldie but a goodie - "The Night Starts Here"

You Say Party! release first public statement regarding band's future

Abbotsford new-wave band You Say Party! We Say Die!, whom have recently suffered the loss of friend and drummer Devon Clifford due to a brain hemorrhage, have released their first public statement regarding the future of the band.

Firstly, they have decided to continue as a band, renamed You Say Party out of respect for Devon's death. Krista Loewen, their keyboardist and vocalist, has decided to quit the band. Robert Andow and Bobby Siadat from Vancouver band Gang Violence will join as part of the live line-up, although it's uncertain at this time if they will become permanent members.

Nothing but love and well-wishes from my end will go towards the band, recently long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize for artistic merit for their latest album XXXX. Their message of love, hope and renewal seems particularly pertinent now.

Here's a short excerpt of their statement. For the full thing, go to their website.

In the time between Devon’s passing and this statement, we have all reflected upon our personal lives. Krista has decided that her time with us has come to an end as she no longer desires the long drives, poor sleeps and revolting selection of road food. Instead she’s choosing a home, a garden, some gluten-free baking and a proper education. We will miss Krista very much and she remains a part of our lives.
We have turned to our good friends and former tour-mates Robert Andow and Bobby Siadat of Vancouver band “Gang Violence” to play keyboards and drums This new line up will continue the tradition of excellent live shows and sweaty dance floors, with new strength and a renewed commitment to music and touring. The 5 of us look forward to carrying the spirit of our friend Devon with us everywhere.
The cancelled European tour is being rescheduled for this fall and we will announce the dates as soon as possible. We are also planning select shows for the rest of 2010.
Out of respect for Devon and the evolution of life, today we announce that we will no longer be known as “You Say Party! We Say Die!” but instead as simply “You Say Party”.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs track listing

Must you know the song names prior to your purchase of Arcade Fire's third full-length album? Probably not, but here they are anyways.

Pre-order the album here and get the 2 already released tracks "The Suburbs" and "Month of May" immediately.

01 The Suburbs
02 Ready to Start
03 Modern Man
04 Rococo
05 Empty Room
06 City With No Children
07 Half Light I
08 Half Light II (No Celebration)
09 Suburban War
10 Month of May
11 Wasted Hours
12 Deep Blue
13 We Used to Wait
14 Sprawl I (Flatland)
15 Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
16 The Suburbs (continued)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Polaris Music Prize 2010 Long List!

Congratulations to all the long list nominees, including many earbuds & ticket stubs favourites! Please note, my picks all got in, so I'm quite pleased.

At this point, the jury will now take this list and vote again to come up with the Short List, which will be announced July 6 from the Sky Yard of the Drake Hotel in Toronto live on Sirius 86 and CBC Radio 3.

If you don't know what the Polaris Music Prize is, take a read through the official rules here. But really, why would you be reading this blog if you didn't?

Let's give you a second to browse through the selections below. Then a tiny bit of commentating.

Apollo Ghosts - Mount Benson
Bahamas - Pink Strat
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
Blue Rodeo - The Things We Left Behind
Brasstronaut - Mt. Chimaera
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Basia Bulat - Heart Of My Own
By Divine Right - Mutant Message
Caribou - Swim
Jason Collett - Rat A Tat Tat
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)
Amelia Curran - Hunter, Hunter
Fred Fortin - Plastrer La Lune
Frog Eyes - Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph
Hannah Georgas - This Is Good
Ghostkeeper - Ghostkeeper
Holy Fuck - Latin
Karkwa - Les Chemins De Verre
LeE HARVeY OsMOND - A Quiet Evil
Greg MacPherson - Mr. Invitation
Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Misteur Valaire - Golden Bombay
The New Pornographers - Together
Owen Pallett - Heartland
Plants And Animals - La La Land
Radio Radio - Belmundo Regal
Justin Rutledge - The Early Widows
The Sadies - Darker Circles
Shad - TSOL
Elizabeth Shepherd - Heavy Falls The Night
The Slew - 100%
Meaghan Smith - The Cricket’s Orchestra
South Rakkas Crew - The Stimulus Package
Tegan And Sara - Sainthood
The Wooden Sky - If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone
Hawksley Workman - Meat
You Say Party! We Say Die! - XXXX
Young Galaxy - Invisible Republic
Yukon Blonde - Yukon Blonde
Zeus - Say Us

Some preliminary comments based on recurring concerns raised regarding the Polaris picks:
Gender split: There are 14 female artists/bands which contain female members out of 40. This number goes down to about 10 if you only count female fronted bands.
Language split: 4 francophone artists out of 40.
Regional split: 10 BC/Albertan artists out of 40.
Album um... experience (?) split: 8 out of 40 are debut full-length albums.

What do you think about the long list?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

STREAMING : Stars - The Five Ghosts

Self-proclaimed melodramatic pop band Stars have announced that their fifth studio album The Five Ghosts, following their much adored EP Sad Robots, is now streaming in full at It will stay there until the album's release on June 22.

I talk about them too much already, you only need to scroll down to see more Stars news. Just go over and take a listen!

Friday, June 4, 2010

NEWS BITES : June 4, 2010

Audio Blood does North by North East Festival! Get a FREE MIXTAPE including artists such as Dinosaur Bones and Leif Vollebekk.

On top of that, Audio Blood is celebrating NxNE by throwing a free, invite-only party at the top of the CN Tower with The Balconies (one of my favourite finds this year), Hollerado and The Meligrove Band playing. Go to their website to win tickets!

Arcade Fire has The Suburbs, due August 3rd, up for pre-order. All orders, whether digital, CD or vinyl,  come with instant downloads of the two already released singles "The Suburbs" and "Month of May."

Mother Mother is in studio finishing their upcoming album following the huge success of their sophomore album O My HeartIt's due out in early 2011. In related news, they suddenly became a lot more prolific (and friendly-sounding) on Twitter.

Sam Roberts is in studio as well with their upcoming fourth studio release following Love at the End of the World. Unfortunately, some personality conflicts in studio.

St. John's The Mountains & The Trees, otherwise known as Jon Janes, will release his first full-length I Made This For You on August 10 after critical praise for his EP Hop, Skip & A Jump.

Pre-order Stars' upcoming release The Give Ghosts on iTunes in deluxe and you will also get The Séance EP, which includes tracks remixed by the Album Leaf, Montag and Of Montreal - as well as other bonus singles.

Rah Rah's new album Breaking Hearts is thoroughly enjoyable and all-around stronger than their first release. Their indie pop polish, combined with their tendency of using pop rocks and confetti cannons in their live shows, don't fully conceal their old souls and turns of cynicism. The elaborate album artwork involves some unfortunate passengers falling off the side of a boat and being torn apart by sharks. hmm.

Shad's newest release TSOL sees him solidifying his formidable position in the Canadian hip-hop scene, which involved selling out his (adopted) hometown show in Vancouver last night at the Biltmore Cabaret. The quick rhymes and clever word play, not to mention profound lyrics which touch on everything from politics to the origins of his name, would satisfy the most elitist of English majors. I see it on the Polaris short list.

Jamie Lidell, UK-based soul/funkster loads latest release Compass with grimy, experimental explorations of how technology expresses, however inadequately, sexuality and desire. It leaves you hot and bothered and a bit agitated, kind of like waking up with your lover on a stuffy summer day. This latest effort is joined by friends such as Feist, Beck, Gonzales and members of Grizzly Bear and Wilco. One of my favourite tracks off the album, "I Wanna Be Your Telephone," is below.

I Wanna Be Your Telephone from Jamie Lidell on Vimeo.

Two Hours Traffic from P.E.I. have released 2009's Territories internationally, more specifically in Australia and in the U.S. They will be touring Oz with Dead Letter Chorus.

Said the Whale announces all-ages tour dates on top of their Malahat Revue tour dates with Hannah Georgas, Jeremy Fisher and Aidan Knight.

Voting is open in NxEW's 2nd Annual Shadow Polaris Prize.

Contribute to the newly established Canadian Music Wiki, brainchild of Amanda Ash working with CBC Radio 3 and the UBC School of Journalism.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NEW VIDEO : Stars - "Fixed"

In case you weren't convinced that Stars is a romantic band, take a look at their latest video for "Fixed," which is also the first single from their soon-to-be-released album The Five Ghosts. You can almost hear the thoughts of Amy Millan, Torquil Campbell and company... "old portraits? check. diluted colours? check. that thing we do when we scatter rose petals in the air and they fall down shimmery? check."