Hannah Georgas could be the next breakout Canadian star, or she could just as easily flame out in a ball of obscurity. So is the roll of the popular culture dice.
The point is that the title of the Vancouver singer’s This Is Good debut is actually a bit of an undersell — the record is actually quite fantastic. Georgas artfully straddles the indie/pop line like Feist and Emily Haines before her, but her personality should win over any detractors bothered by the artistic overlap. And if that doesn’t, the songs themselves should.
It’s easy to imagine opener “Chit Chat” blaring out of Starbucks speakers, or climbing up the MuchMusic Countdown; the rare bastion of “well, this is actually quite good” amongst the sea of sensitive singer-songwriters and oversexed pop-tarts. Essentially, there’s something for everyone to latch onto here.
If Georgas does hit the big-time, she’ll quickly be cast off by the indie crowd as too calculated and commercial. And if she never makes it, This Is Good will be held up as a great “should have been huge” cult album.
Either way, you should check it out now so you can say “I told you so.”
Hey Kids, remember Blur? Yeah, those “Woo-hoo” guys (or for the actual kids, the guy from Gorillaz old band). Well they’re back together and the reunited quartet just released their first new track with guitarist Graham Coxon since 2000′s “Music Is My Radar,” as their contribution to Saturday’s Record Store Day. It’s pretty rad. And for all of us who were unable to find a copy of the very limited edition seven-inch, you can download the track over at their website.
Also, I would highly encourage new fans and die-hards alike to check out their recent documentary and live concert film No Distance Left to Run… you won’t regret it.
OMG, have you heard the new LCD Soundsystem record? Pretty damn amazing eh? And OMFG, have you seen the video James Murphy co-directed with Spike Jonze for “Drunk Girls?” I know Jonze is all making wicked movies these days, but dude’s got to make more music videos – he’s just too damn good. Do the white dog things remind anyone else of the Mcrackins?
Anyway, This Is Happening is streaming over at LCD Soundsystem’s website, but it also leaked, so make your choice. The record’s out May 18.
Celebrating the best (?) of 90s Cancon sanctioned rock.
This one’s a twofer. With Halifax’s Thrush Hermit reunited for a brief two-week jaunt that brings them to Toronto for two-sold out weekend gigs and an afternoon show at Lee’s Palace. NOW, a local alt-weekly here in Toronto, put them on the cover this week with with a story written by former Plumtree member Carla Gillis to celebrate.
For those not in the know, the Hermit was Joel Plaskett’s band before he went solo in ’99. They released a pair of records and EPs before splitting after delivering the extremely underrated Clayton Park. “The Day We Hit the Coast” appeared on that disc while “French Inhale” was on the Smart Bomb EP – Joel met his wife Rebecca on the set of the video set (I think she was doing makeup).
Diversification, that’s the ticket — at least it is in the music biz.
Take Robbie Furze — the guy was an axe-man for hire and record label head before forming The Big Pink with Merok Records owner Milo Cordell. Oliver Ackermann owned a custom effects pedals company when he helped found A Place To Bury Strangers.
And so we find these multi-faceted entrepreneurs on a tour that brought them to Toronto Wednesday night, united in their efforts to expand their personal brands. That and to make awesome, caustic noise.
Lots of it.
Brooklyn, N.Y.’s A Place To Bury Strangers took the stage without a word and spent the first third of their set completely back-lit by video montages projected on the venue’s ceiling.
I have to plead ignorance when it comes to this band, as I just heard their most recent record Exploding Head a few hours before the gig. But like their album, the band blaze bold trail with their very noisy post-punk — think Joy Division-meets-Nine Inch Nails with all the good parts of Orgy’s version of “Blue Monday” thrown in for kicks.
Speaking of which, I did recognize “Keep Slipping Away” with its “Blue Monday”-esque groove. Ackermann and the band’s other two members, bassist Jono MOFO and Jason “Jay Space” Wellmeister, made no effort to engage the crowd, choosing to let their music do the talking. For once it really did — no doubt helped by the volume at which it was played. The band left the stage with a guitar trashing and then a simple wave goodbye.
A Place to Bury Strangers – “Keep Slipping Away”
I don’t know what it is, but ever since The Beatles took the piss out of the U.S. press upon their arrival in America, British bands always come across as cocksure punks, like they’re the cure to all our worries. The Big Pink were no different, taking to the stage, drinks in hand, as singer/guitarist Furze struck a Jesus Christ pose amid the smoke and lights.
Thankfully, the quartet quickly proved themselves worthy of their own rock god posturing, despite some technical difficulties that threw off the momentum created by “Too Young To Love” and “At War With The Sun.”
The Big Pink proved fantastic performers, recreating the songs from their debut, A Brief History Of Love, as well as one new track with visceral force. Furze’s vocals were pitch perfect, augmented by some great harmonies from bass player Leopold Ross.
The Big Pink – “Velvet”
But the crowd seemed uninterested in his efforts to coax them out of their hump-day doldrums. Certainly, the longish bouts of instrumental noise the group used to segue between songs didn’t help those there just to see what all the fuss was about.
Despite some vague indifference, Furze and co still delivered excellent versions of “Velvet” and “Crystal Visions.” The crowd finally came around for “Dominos” and sang along with the line “And I really love breaking your heart.”
That song ended the encore-less set and proved both bands are indeed worthy of all the bits and bytes that have been spilled singing their praises.
Liars have charted a rather strange course over their career. They began as a one of New Yorks top dance-punk bands, but the trio ditched the post-punk motifs on their second disc, alienating critics and fans alike. They then decamped to Berlin to record the weird rhythm-heavy Drum’s Not Dead to unanimous acclaim.
But Sisterworld, their fifth LP, sounds the most like 2007′s self-titled record. Liars have cleared the decks of expectations with their second and third albums, and seem to have abandoned blazing new conceptual trails. Instead, they’ve settled into a groove where four-minute “pop” songs are infused with the sonic experimentations of Drum’s Not Dead.
But Sisterworld feels tired where even their most adventurous experiments retained the firecracker energy that originally brought them to prominence. Subsequent listens may reveal something more beneath the surface — Liars records are never straightforward — but it seems while the sonic experiments remain, the visceral oomph is gone.
Fan Death is a collaboration between Dandi Wind (here going by Dandilion Wind Opaine) and Marta Jaciubek-McKeever, a much more dance-pop-oriented take on Dani Wind’s usual dark synth rock.
The project is actually a much better vehicle for Wind, retaining her trademark weirdness and packaging in it a much more palatable form, as seen here on the duo’s debut EP.
Included is the already released “Cannibal” (see the wicked video below) and four other tracks that may or may not be included on the duo’s debut full-length, due out in May.
If there’s a complaint to be had it’s that the five tracks here sound a little too much the same, as each track blends into the next. But there’s enough to sustain interest, which bodes well for their full-length.
How do you know you’re a true nerd? When you’re nerdiness runs across mediums. Case in point, this excellent mashup video that takes the video for Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and recreates the clip, shot for shot, with scenes from Battlestar Galactica. I love Battlestar Galactica. I also love the “Sabotage” video.
The folks over at Wired.com tracked down the woman responsible for this brilliant piece of pop-culture trash. You can read the interview here.
Is it just me, or does this new “Hole” (in quotes due to the lack of any original members other than Courtney Love) track sound deceptively similar to the Live Through This track “Plump?” See for yourself…