#SoundCloudSunday – Noisettes

Noisettes - Contact

My jam right now! From the Noisettes‘ new album, Contact!

Unfortunately it is just a 1.5 minute clip, but there is the official music video:

Also, from the Noisettes’ third album:

 

Noisettes:

on SoundCloud
on Twitter
on YouTube
on Facebook
official site

SoundCloudSunday request? Tweet, or leave a comment!

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Sarah McLachlan music perfection. (Happy late December/early January)

My all-time favourite Christmas/holiday/winter song.

A Gordon Lightfoot tune of course. His is decent, but Sarah takes it to another level.

Sooooooo good.

This is one of a few songs for me I have to have a ‘Brett from that Seinfeld episode listening to Desperado’ moment.

Listen.

Happy holidays y’all!

#SoundCloudSunday – Warner Music Canada

Due to almost forgetting to post this (really have to start having posts ready to go days in advance!), I will make it easy on myself and spotlight Warner Music Canada, who have not updated their selection since I first bookmarked it, as it only has the WMC Playlist for August 2012. Despite this fact, there are some good tracks. I will embed a few, and feel free to go to their Soundcloud yourself (linked at the bottom).

First single from the upcoming Tegan and Sara album, Heartthrob, due out January 29. I am definitely looking forward! It took a few listens, but I quite enjoy “Closer” very ‘dancey’, but nothing wrong with that!

Looks like Icona Pop‘s debut came out in mid November! I look forward to checking it out! They are a Swedish synthpop duo. I first heard of them due to the awesome Chiddy Bang sampling their track “Manners” in “Mind Your Manners”! Check out both videos as a bonus after the jump!

Kind of a cool song now that I have heard it a few times! At first it was like, huh? Read more about the track on Wikipedia.

Warned Music Canada:

on SoundCloud
on Twitter
While you are at it, check out my Twitter list of record labels!
on YouTube
official site

SoundCloudSunday request? Tweet, or leave a comment!

Continue reading “#SoundCloudSunday – Warner Music Canada”

Elvis Costello on Tomorrow Coast to Coast with Tom Snyder

Just shy of six months ago, I posted: The genius of Elvis Costello (and the Beastie Boys), it was about Elvis Costello’s appearance on Saturday Night Live 35 years ago…

He would return to American television, on Tom Snyder’s NBC show, Tomorrow Coast to Coast, February 3, 1981. He played two songs with The Attractions, the really good “New Lace Sleeves”, and “Watch Your Step”. He was also interviewed, and talked briefly about that Saturday Night Live incident.

Here are the performances and interview:

And yes, I added a couple of holiday colours to the blog!

#SoundCloudSunday – Annie Dressner

Another recent discovery, Annie Dressner!

Annie Dressner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Dressner was born and raised in New York City, but recently moved to the United Kingdom, where she is now based.

Annie Dressner’s just released debut full length album, Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names, is a nice collection of infectious folk-y pop songs. Having been born and raised in New York City, one could say it almost has an Americana feel, yet at the same time work perfectly with the UK scene, Laura Marling for one, comes to mind.

Check out her debut below, and then head over to her Bandcamp, where the album is available for purchase.

And watch the video for “September”:

Also, being from New York City, and now in the UK, she wanted to do what she could to help out with Hurricane Sandy victimes, so she made a song, “Out In The Cold Hurricane Sandy Relief”, and put it on Bandcamp.

Annie Dressner:

on SoundCloud
on Twitter
on YouTube
on Facebook
on Tumblr
on Reverb Nation
on MySpace
official site

SoundCloudSunday request? Tweet, or leave a comment!

Metric dual concert review! Montreal, November 21, 2012 Bell Centre

Yes, a dual review! My review followed by my friend Clint’s review. He is a musician to watch for on the Montreal scene, whereas I provide the non-musician review (or the I am slowly learning to become a musician review)!

My review:

Emily Haines of Metric, November 21 at the Bell Centre. Picture: Yan Doublet, Le Soleil

Emily Haines of Metric, November 21 at the Bell Centre. Picture: Yan Doublet, Le Soleil

Stars opened the show. I cannot say I am a fan. They are a local Montreal band that are mostly indie pop/dance. Their set was fairly laid back till a few songs from the end, when they said something along the lines of the party starts now and ends when Emily leaves the stage! Hats off though to Stars’ singer Stars’ Torquil Campbell for calling our Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ‘An Evil Man‘!

Metric’s set started with the opening track from Synthetica, “Artificial Nocturne”, and after about a minute and a half, moved into a faithful rendition of Synthetica‘s first single, “Youth Without Youth”.

Their entire set was centred around Sythetica, the album of course they are touring with presently. At the time of the show I had only listened to the album a couple of times at most, and had yet to digest it. This made really getting into those songs a little difficult. I now have listened to it more and enjoy it.

Their new album, as my friend Clint noted after the show (not sure if he will have written that in his review, as I am writing mine before I see his), Synthetica is very much a synth-y album (hence the title?), as each band member, save for drummer Joules Scott-Key, had a keyboard, and Emily had two.

Metric did of course play some older tunes, including “Dead Disco”, “Help I’m Alive”, “Stadium Love”, “Gold Guns Girls” and a couple of others which were all nice to see live, given that it was my first time seeing them, however no “Combat Baby” which I was really hoping for!

The lights in the background were creative, composed of outlines of squares, 3 panels on stage, and 3 higher up, both two by four, and a two by two panel on stage left and right. They were multi coloured, so for example they were aqua colours during breathing underwater. And they made a countdown clock after their main set, counting down to the encore.

Despite not getting into all the songs from Synthetica, and the fact that it was at the Bell Centre, which was far from full, but would have easily sold out venues holding just two or three thousand fans, they put on a great show. I think I would prefer to see them in a more intimate venue (and now that I have listened to Synthetica more), even though they are definitely growing as a band, stylistically, and of course in popularity.

They closed the encore with a dedication, generally thanking fans that have stuck with them, stating how people had said Metric were too big for the underground, and too underground for the mainstream, followed by an acoustic version of “Gimme Sympathy”. I would have preferred the full version, but what can ya do?

Clint’s review:

Has Metric Broken Their ‘Glass Ceiling’?

In an era where downloads, iTunes cards and widespread file sharing is now firmly entrenched, concerts are probably more crucial for musical acts than at any time since mass market recording began. The vinyl renaissance remains largely a specialty market which fails to reach or interest most music lovers. DJs and audiophiles aside, going to see live music is where audiences not only make an emotional connection with artists, but how an artist may actually get paid.

Here in Montreal, affordable and artist-accessible clubs have a bonus feature: the gentle, somewhat ponderous nature of Montreal audiences. I have seen Montrealers sit through hours of frightening drivel without a harsh word. Applause is forthcoming, if only as a gesture of obligatory politeness. Why Montrealers (and indeed Canadians generally) are so polite and publicly non-judgmental is not our focus here; but if you belong to one of the many bands working in Montreal or are making your way to the land of lower urban rent and Arcade Fire, you may soon be heaving a sigh of relief.

The trials and tribulations of mounting a live show are plentiful. Factors that threaten a great or even a good show are plentiful. Was the drummer up until 4 am beating his best Playstation score? Did the rhythm guitar player’s tube amp get jostled one too many times last week? Did the lead singer blow up her vocal cords during her 100th gig of the year? Did no one tell band member X that hard drugs will not transform them into Jimi Hendrix or Thom Yorke?

Setting aside the shortage of professionalism and dedication that sinks many a band, there is still the logistics and strain of working with a different crew in a different venue night-after-night. Welcome to Stressville! For better or worse in Montreal the Bell Centre is the big venue in town. As such, when someone takes a seat in the Bell Centre they expect a world-class concert experience. Scoring a free ticket to a Bell Centre show on November 21st, I arrive with the expectation of having my world rocked. Or at least “alternated”, or swayed pleasantly or… well, you fill in the word. When the call came, this Metric fan music jumped at the chance.

North American bands on lengthy, large-scale tours frequently put Canadian dates at the beginning or end of their tour dates. This can lead to tired or rusty bands swimming on a sea of crappy sound. On a Wednesday evening in Montreal the crowd is a little drowsy, but there is some enthusiasm brewing. This is when what used to be called “showmanship”, can come to the rescue. Veteran local group Stars, opened the night under some large, slightly embarrassing mirror balls. They display reasonable tenacity. After a couple songs, I am firmly convinced that nobody in Stars is playing with “the pick of destiny”. To be fair, this is a band specializing in quirky, mid-tempo dance tunes. Stars tunes feature steady, soft guitar work and also tend to emphasize rather fragile melodies. An arena is not the dream venue for this genre of music. A less than electrifying stage presence is countered somewhat by a diligent, professionally paced set. Singers Amy Millan & Torquil Campbell seem genuinely thrilled to be playing “in the big leagues”. However Stars come across as emotionally constipated with merely adequate drumming. This hurts them in a space as acoustically unforgiving as the Bell Centre.

Metric takes the stage around 9 PM with onstage props that seem a little too familiar to those who saw them play Metropolis last year. By music arena standards this is a low-key stage set. Symmetrical patterns of white light flash inside of box-shaped racks. A rather flat, two-dimensional light show for an arena. Now it should be said that Metric and Stars belong to the alternative/Indy camps. This means that too glitzy a spectacle might seem incongruous, if not disconcerting to these bands and their fans. Putting aside notions of image and critical nicety, I think a Bell Centre audience expects to be wowed by an “arena band”. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening on this occasion.

One reason for this is the ubiquitous, layered keyboards of front person and chief songwriter, Emily Haines. Both Stars and Metric have roots in Broken Social Scene which to be honest, is likely why Stars were chosen as the support act. Metric begins their set a little sluggish and seem almost intimidated by the night’s venue. Perhaps a tiring tour and a “nothing-to-prove-at-home” attitude are also factors.

However, things do take a turn for the better when the band launches into more aggressive, stripped-down, melodically-charged songs like “Satellite Mind, Empty, Help I’m Alive, Sick Muse”, and “Breathing Underwater”. The band plays “Stadium Love” before their Bell Centre encore. Perhaps the title is too cute to resist. Make no mistake Metric is made up of professionals and when drummer Joules Scott-Key, guitarist James Shaw, and the considerable talent and charms of Haines are fully in sync with each other, this is a special band.

Unfortunately the last song of the night is a somewhat clumsy acoustic version of “Gimme Sympathy”. Arguably, this song’s plea for audience understanding and a sharper perspective on the performer-spectator relationship, make it a good candidate for the increased intimacy of an unplugged performance. Sadly, without the driving keyboard riff and electric guitar and surging rhythm of the full band, “Gimme Sympathy” became a mushy, indulgent exercise. In a way this miscalculation, is the story of the night, because when Metric unleashes the part of their catalog which bristles with guitar riffs, legs, asses and hearts start pumping. Too bad the band became a little bogged down in keyboard wanking.

Sorry Emily, I did want to love everything! To her credit, Haines took the time to thank the Montreal crowd and the band’s management team & record company for gambling on Metric to appeal to stadium-sized crowds and reach a larger audience in the United States. It is a relief to see a talented band bringing some of the authentic feel and ethos of the 1980’s onto stages in the 21st century. Once Metric tweaks their larger-scale shows, they will truly be a musical force to be reckoned with.

Set:
1. Artificial Nocturne
2. Youth Without Youth
3. Speed the Collapse
4. Dreams So Real
5. Satellite Mind
6. Lost Kitten
7. Empty
8. Help I’m Alive
9. Synthetica
10. Clone
11. Breathing Underwater
12. Sick Muse
13. Dead Disco
14. Stadium Love
Encore:
15. Black Sheep
16. Monster Hospital
17. Gold Guns Girls
18. Gimme Sympathy (acoustic)

#SoundCloudSunday – Wild Belle

Now featuring HTML5 embeds!

Wild Belle are a band I discovered recently. They were on Conan a couple of weeks back (I missed it, I will watch it once I post this, it is embedded below).

Wikipedia says: “Wild Belle are a rock band composed of siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman, who grew up in Barrington, Illinois”. Natalie being the vocalist.

Last week’s SoundCloud Sunday was fairly wordy (#SoundCloudSunday – Solange (& Terrible Records)), so this time I will keep the words to a minimum, and urge you to give them a listen. Their debut album, Isles, only comes out next March!

Wild Belle on Conan:

Wild Belle:

on SoundCloud
on Twitter
on YouTube & Vevo YouTube
on Facebook
on Tumblr
official site/blog

Check them out on tour:

tour dates
12/09 – Chicago, IL – Metro Buy Tickets
01/12 – Copper Mountain, – Jacks Bar Buy Tickets
01/17 – Chicago, IL – TNK Festival – Lincoln Hall Buy Tickets
01/25 – IA City, IA – Gabes Oasis
01/25 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
01/26 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown Jr Buy Tickets
01/28 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen Buy Tickets
01/30 – Albuquerque, NM – Low Spirits Buy Tickets
01/31 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls Buy Tickets
02/01 – Dallas, TX – Trees Buy Tickets
02/02 – Austin, TX – Emos East Buy Tickets
02/04 – Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds Buy Tickets
02/05 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks Buy Tickets
02/06 – Atlanta, GA – Heaven @The Masquerade Buy Tickets
02/08 – Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle Buy Tickets
02/09 – Richmond, VA – The National Buy Tickets
02/10 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club Buy Tickets
02/11 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer Buy Tickets
02/13 – New York, NY – Webster Hall Buy Tickets
02/15 – Boston, MA – Paradise Buy Tickets
02/16 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda Buy Tickets
02/17 – Toronto, ONT – Lees Place Buy Tickets
02/19 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Blind Pig Buy Tickets
02/20 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Ladies Literary Club Calvin College

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#SoundCloudSunday – Solange (& Terrible Records)

Solange‘s third album is due out early next year, but in the meantime, she just released an EP titled True on Terrible Records (they can’t be that bad since they put out a Solange EP!). It is the label of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, along with label partner Ethan Silverman.

Listen to “Losing You”, it defies genre labelling (okay not really, but just listen and enjoy!) released a couple of months back (music video at the end of this post):

More words:

Her first album was a conventional R&B/pop album. No doubt following in her sister’s footsteps, and she was only 16 when it was released. Prior to her debut album, she had backed her sister (yes, Beyoncé. I would prefer not to mention, as Solange is awesome in her own way) on a few tracks. And after its release, she co-wrote some songs for her sis, including “Get Me Bodied” and “Upgrade U”. She had got married way early (sic), at 17, had a kid and divorced, no doubt leading to some soul-searching and life changing events.

A little under six years after her debut, Solo Star, came her sophomore effort, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Her debut is a decent R&B album, however her follow-up is terrific! For the most part it is a contemporary R&B album, but also spans psychedelic soul and electronic elements, with a definite throwback to 60s/70s R&B. One of several producers on board was Mark Ronson (Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics and of course Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black to name a couple he produced, again with the throwback sound, the latter easily in the top 3 for best albums of the 00s).

And now, what should be four and a half years later (in February) should be her third album. It has been a little delayed, but very acceptable as Solange had a bit of a breakdown around 2010. Which will supposedly play into the album’s content.

Listen to “Lovers In The Parking Lot” (much more laid-back, but equally intriguing), a collaboration with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange):

And get her EP True in the meantime! Definitely worth it. I have only listened one time so far, but…!

Solange:

on SoundCloud (“V I B E S” — kinda cool…!)
on SoundCloud (Terrible Records)
on Twitter
on YouTube
on Facebook
official site/blog

SoundCloudSunday request? Tweet, or leave a comment!

Continue reading “#SoundCloudSunday – Solange (& Terrible Records)”