0 comments July 30, 2007

Deadboy & the ElephantmentDeadboy and the Elephantmen is, essentially, a bloke named Dax Riggs.

In early 2006, he and (then) bandmate Tessie Brunet put out the album We Are Night Sky.

It's an impressive album -- hard-edged swamp rock, but of the highly expressive, cerebral variety.

Rigg's gravelly voice is a raw, fragile thing of beauty, often swinging from a low growl to a howl in a heartbeat. He’s been variously compared to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, by way of the banks of the Mississippi Delta.

Brunet left the band in late 2006 and Riggs is releasing his solo debut on August 21.

In the meantime, here’s "Dressed in Smoke", from We Are Night Sky:

[deadboy and the Elephantmen - MySpace]

0 comments July 26, 2007


The first impression of War Stories, the third release from UK outfit Unkle, is one of awesome power: a towering juggernaut of sonic beautastic-ness.

Wily and hard-bitten in places, lush and orchestral in others, War Stories strains and snaps at its leash like a feral, wholly unpredictable beast.

Repeated listens, however, begin to reveal a crack or two in the savagery. The album seems less bite, more whimper. Somehow, someway, the whole is not quite equal to its parts.

But, oh, the parts.

The first single, "Burn My Shadow", is like a warped, cracked-out version of Revolution (from the Cult’s Love LP, circa 1985). Ian Astbury is amazing here, managing to sound both menacing and plaintive at the same time. It’s a treat to hear Astbury in such fine form, and he shows up not once, but twice, gracing the albums’ final track as well.

Unkle has had no shortage of big-name guests in the past: Thom Yorke and Ian Brown, to name but two. And their latest line-up is an intriguing mix of some of rock’s more interesting vocalists, including Gavin Clarke, Liela Moss from The Duke Spirit, Josh Homme and, of course, Astbury.

Not all guest tracks work – Gavin Clarke’s "Keys To The Kingdom" is one of the weaker songs on the album. It’s Astbury who is the standout here, no question. His deep, mellifluous voice perfectly suits Unkle’s dark, volatile grooves.

When it works, it works: War Stories' highs are spectacularly high. Certain parts verge on tired retreads of Unkle's older work, however, and this is, ultimately, what makes the album a flawed one.

Unkle - Burn My Shadow:

[Unkle - MySpace]


Felix da HousecatI don’t know if it’s a Southern Hemisphere thing (a New Zealand thing?) but I’d never heard the song "Born To Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez.

Never heard it. Never in my life.

Everybody knows it here, though.

It’s a disco great, it seems. In the pantheon of really-cheesy-tunes-you-dance- to-with-glee-and-abandon-when-you’re-falling-down-drunk, it rates right up there.

Not having had a history with the tune, I can’t really get into it.

But I am loving the remix of the remix: Felix da Housecat remixes The Disco Boys remixing the Hernandez original...

(If you keep listening, you’ll get the Extended Dance Mix of the original. Clap your hands and say yeah!)

0 comments July 24, 2007

Jimmy SomervilleAnyone remember Bronski Beat?

Three UK lads who took the world by storm in the early 80s with a string of dance hits that went on to became huge gay anthems?

Remember wee Jimmy Somerville, with a face like a potato (a very cute potato), and a voice like an angel?

I had their album Age of Consent on vinyl, back in the day. I think I may have even worn a hole in it.

I'd all but forgotten about these lads, when I came across the remix "Tell Me Why" by Supermode.

Supermode are a Scandinavian group, apparently, who also like to be known as the "Swedish House Mafia". Go figure.

The song is a remix of two Bronski Beat songs, with music sampled from "Smalltown Boy", and lyrics taken from both "Smalltown Boy" and "Why".

It's magic. Listen:

0 comments July 23, 2007


Allaying my vague disappointment with the new releases from The Chemical Brothers and Unkle -- both of which have some outstanding tracks, but which are, overall, a bit inconsistent -- Idealism, from German duo Digitalism, is killer.

It’s a driving, angular, thumping, damn fine example of electro-kraut-dance-punk-rock.

And while the single Zdarlight has been a favourite of mine for ages now, I’ve been delighted to find that the album more than lives up to the single’s early promise.

Here’s Zdarlight and I Want I Want:

1 comments July 17, 2007

EditorsDarlings of the British music press, the Editors, have released their sophomore effort, An End Has A Start.

It's a strong album, no mistake.

Why do I always end up feeling like I'm listening to a cheap imitation of Interpol, though?

It's all flab and no muscle. Bombast and no discipline.

It's a bit like finding a knock-off of your favourite perfume on Khao San Rd. It does the trick, but leaves you pining for the real thing.

It may just be me, though.

Check out this particularly effusive review from Playlouder:

This album is fucking brilliant – it made me want to cut my hair, paint the ceiling, fuck the postman and burn the disco down. So I did. Then I curled up in a corner, cried, and shat myself.

I might be lukewarm about The Editors, but I think that may be the best endorsement for an album I've read, hands down, ever.



Oh how I love thee.

But when, oh when will you put out a new album?

You have reduced me to listening to old songs. Specifically: ones spliced and diced by MSTRKRT.

And yet.

Somehow my love for you remains strong.

0 comments July 16, 2007

Crowded HouseNeil Finn can do a wicked line in plaintive longing.

I don’t know if it’s his penchant for minor chords or what, but he’s the only male songwriter I know of who can, with a simple, delicate melody, get to the very marrow of love (in all its many forms). His best songs explore the complexities and paradoxical nature of love -- how it is so often a strange commingling of joy and heartbreak.

I have to admit that, as a rule, Crowded House are not to my taste. They’re a bit too -- dare I say it?? -- mainstream. (There, I said it). On every Crowded House album, though, there is at least one slow-burning Finn classic -- a nebulous paean to love -- that floors you with its simplicity and intensity.

Silent House, from Crowded House’s latest, Time on Earth, is one of those songs. It’s a beautiful, moving meditation on the bittersweet experience of watching a loved one recede into the twilight of old age.

0 comments July 11, 2007

Not that I need validation or anything -- no, not at all, who, me? -- but Filter Magazine has just listed Tegan and Sara's Back in Your Head in their Top 5 picks.*

People of taste, that lot.

And it's not like I'm gonna rename this blog the Tegan and Sara blog any time soon, but les filles will invariably show up here a rather a lot.

As is only right, fair, and just.

Also: they've released their singles The Con and Back In Your Head on iTunes. (What are you waiting for? Get on over there!)

Update: More denizens from the Land of Discerning Taste: I see Salon has just made Back In Your Head their song of the day. (Note: You'll probably need a day pass to access the site.)

*Hat Tip to i guess i'm floating


Look at the finalists for this year’s second annual Polaris Music Prize, which honours the year's best full-length Canadian album:

+ Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
+ The Besnard Lakes, The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
+ The Dears, Gang of Losers
+ Julie Doiron, Woke Myself Up
+ Feist, The Reminder
+ Junior Boys, So This Is Goodbye
+ Miracle Fortress, Five Roses
+ Joel Plaskett Emergency, Ashtray Rock
+ Chad VanGaalen, Skelliconnection
+ Patrick Watson, Close to Paradise

Canada, oh Canada.

You are blessed.

May I point out, too, that half of these acts hail from Montréal (Arcade Fire, The Besnard Lakes, The Dears, Miracle Fortress and Patrick Watson)?

The award, which is based on the UK Mercury Prize, is worth $20,000 and will be awarded at a gala in Toronto on Sept. 24th.

More here.


What do you get when you combine The Fall's Mark E. Smith, Mouse On Mars' Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner?

Why, Von Südenfed, of course. And a mongrel melange of staccato, indie electronica called Tromatic Reflexxions.

Personally, I find Reflexxions in its entirety virtually unlistenable (but that's just me). This song, though, is a thing of stonking, kick-ass, sonic beauty:

0 comments July 5, 2007

This band has been threatening greatness for quite some time, and by all accounts their new album Collider is delivering on that promise.

(I've yet to order my copy, but have been enjoying the EP for a while now.)

I can't help feeling that if Fur Patrol were up here in the North, there would be a lot more of a fuss made of them. Especially with front woman Julia Deans, who is not only hot as hell, but who writes intelligent, melodic rock with more hooks than a fisherman's tackle. (Heh. I said fisherman).

So here's one from their Long Distance Runner EP, for your perusal and enjoyment:

0 comments July 4, 2007

And here's a couple from the Québécois contingent...

Marc Déry

J'm'endors pas

Daniel Bélanger

Fermeture Définitive

0 comments July 3, 2007

Montréal is fairly bursting at the seams with incredible bands -- bursting I tell you! Incredible! There are so many, in fact, that I often joke there must be something in the water.

I could go on to list a few, but I won't, because the "Montréal Music Scene" has been more than done to death already.

I'll limit myself, therefore, to a couple of my current faves, who are little known now perhaps, but sure to be huge!

Miracle Fortress: Five Roses

The perfect summer accompaniment. Beatlesque, with a hint of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and a pinch of 80s shoegazer swirl, rock auteur Graham Van Pelt's debut album Five Roses is a hugely intelligent and beguiling affair. One track doesn't do it justice, though. Hunt down the album. Make it your own. Your brain, and your heart, will thank you for it.

Miracle Fortress: This Thing About You

If legend is to be believed, these lads have been 10 years in the making, (or at least their band has been). They've yet to sign a record deal and become millionaires, but I'm sure if they could just get their single The Word on the radio, the wealth and adulation they so rightly deserve would be theirs. Early Pixies by way of some kind of mutant swampy bluesy punk rock. Or something. You decide.

The Fudge: The Word

[And a big thanks to my pal Karen for putting me onto Miracle Fortress in the first place...]


We have a dark and dirty slice of industrial techno...

0 comments July 2, 2007

Patrick Watson and Cinematic OrchestraPreternaturally talented Montrealer Patrick Watson guest vocals on a number of tracks on the latest release from The Cinematic Orchestra, Ma Fleur.

Ma Fleur is a moving, thoroughly gorgeous, and, well, cinematic experience.

And Watson's pipes -- being as they are, directly from heaven -- lend themselves very nicely to the project.

Watson has oft been compared to Jeff Buckley, but he sounds somehow more vulnerable, more tremulous -- I found myself thinking of Antony and the Johnsons, as well as Buckley, the first time I heard him sing.

Here he is, on the wonderful opening track of Ma Fleur:

To Build A Home

0 comments July 1, 2007

Tegan and Sara's new album -- called The Con, and not officially due out till July 24 -- was unceremoniously and messily leaked all over the internet nearly two months early.

(To veer off on a tangent for just a moment: I've never really understood how these leaks work -- is it someone from the inner circle? Is it a sound person? Is it a sales rep from the record label? Who else would have access to a newly minted album? Do Tegan and Sara all of a sudden look askance at their sound engineer, with hatred and suspicion in their eyes?)

This was Sara Quin's actual response to the album leak, posted on their MySpace page:

...we are sad that the album has already leaked. but there isn't much you can do these days to stop it! so, looking on the bright side, there's no excuse for anyone to not sing along to the new songs at the shows coming up.

...i hope that you will still pick up our album when it comes out. or buy it on itunes. OR do none of that, but still know every word to every song and clap above your head, even if you have to put your smoothie or beer or water on the sticky ground. (You can read the full post here).

And I loved her postscript:

i have downloaded leaked albums before. so i am not trying to seem like a creepy school teacher slapping your ears with a ruler. i swear.

Gracious, witty, insouciant -- and that's just the blog posts. Imagine how disarming they might be in person?

I rate this band. I really do. In fact, I probably have a 3,000 word post about Tegan and Sara floating around in me somewhere. But (lucky for you) now is not the time, nor the place.

Suffice it to say, I've heard the new album. (I've already written about how music addiction will drive one to occasional acts of criminal behaviour.)

I've heard it, and I loved it.

It's a grower, and those are, by far, my favourite kind of albums.

I'm not going to write anymore about it until the album proper comes out (at which time I'll buy the CD and the DVD), but the twins have already put up a teaser for their avid and restless fans.

And here's a couple of lesser-knowns from the vaults, because, well, why not?

1. We Didn't Do It
2. Trouble
3. Walking With a Ghost (Morgan Page Bootleg Remix)