The Foreign Films’ “Fall Of The Summer Heart”

So, The Foreign Films (led by the supremely talented Hamilton-based Bill Majoros) have released a new ‘song cycle’ called “Fall Of The Summer Heart.”

It’s honestly the perfect parting wave to summer, forlorn, melancholic and celebratory in turn, layered pieces of tracks falling over each other, a delightfully cluttered 12-minute-and-43-second journey. So few artists can do this lush, grand-scope psychedelic pop as well as Majoros, so I find myself really looking forward to every one of his releases.

The climax of Part VI/Victoria (Miss India) is just unbelievable, but by no means will I endorse you skipping to it. Listen to the rest of it, and just get really excited for when it comes in.

When will Majoros be coming across the QEW to Toronto? Who knows… Bill? Are you listening?


Radiolab Recommends – Dawn of Midi

A little while ago, Radiolab did a short piece on a group one of the hosts–the amazing Jad Abumrad–is a big fan of, Dawn of Midi.
This is pretty fantastic, you guys. A live, acoustic trance band is worth listening to just.. to listen to.
Once again, I can’t embed it here—WORDPRESS!—but here’s the link.

Oh—and here’s something I WAS able to embed—Dawn of Midi, live.


(Obviously, a band like this doesn’t tour much–why would they? Can you see them playing the Horseshoe?–but thanks to The Internet, we can still at least listen.)

Tom Flippin’ Waits – his best podcasts & radio appearances

Tom Waits

My man (Handout)

The last few years, I’ve got in the habit of going on a Tom Waits kick in the fall, and for a few weeks while the leaves turn and the mornings tighten and everything else sort of begins to huddle in on itself, I don’t listen to anything else. Catapulting through Closing Time and Bad As Me, you can almost trace the outline of some deep and crumbling truth in Waits’ torn-out voice.

I’d give just about anything to interview Tom Waits, but I think I’d settle for seeing him in concert at least once.
Around this time of year, though, I always get all keyed up for a tour—maybe this’ll be the year. Maybe!—and I’m always disappointed (even if I’m not surprised) when he doesn’t.

Anyway, here’s a few of Waits’ best appearances from across the web I’ve been able to dig up.

1. Of course, we need to lead off with the brilliant interview he did with noted dreamboat Jian Ghomeshi on CBC’s Q.
2. Next, Open Source Music posted this gem a little while ago where Tom goes on a show called Selvin on the City and shares some of his favorite records.
I have no idea if this was ever broadcast—the “Selvin and the City” audio callback is appropriately hilarious—but it’s recent enough to feel current (maybe 2005?) and it doesn’t seem to be censored, as one would expect if it was going to be played… well, anywhere, really.
Highlights include Waits’ cover of Daniel Johnston in part 3 and a great discussion of the Stones in part 4, culminating in the revelation that Waits and Keith Richards are BUDDIES.
Because, I mean, of course they’re buddies.

3. At last, music. NPR recorded a session for 2008’s Glitter and Doom – check it out here.

4. Lastly, NPR also did a Fresh Air interview with him in 2011. An actual quote: “IF you hold a microphone up to your barbecue, it’s the same sound.”
As much as I can find, though, every time I look for something specific on the internet I’m reminded just how mind-numbingly big it is, and I wonder about what great appearances I’ve missed. Because I’m sure there’s many.

…like this.

PS WordPress, if you don’t stop stripping out the Javascript embeds I’m trying to add to everything–you know, the actual functional pieces needed to run a music blog–I’m gonna cut and run and… code my own site. (Please, don’t take me up on that.)

Jack Kerouac & Ben Gibbard: More intersections

While I’m still thinking of it, in 2009, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar of Uncle Tupelo (and Son Volt) wrote and recorded an album of songs for a documentary about Jack Kerouac, using lines Kerouac wrote in his novel Big Sur.

I’ve always thought this was a cool idea, but I think some of my interest comes from not being able to trust it. Like, the songs are catchy enough, in that Death-Cab-let’s-go-sit-in-the-sun-is-my-hair-perfectly-mussed sort of way, but the more you turn it over, the more problematic it is.

Did Kerouac get a credit? Does this really feel like something he had in mind or would have put his name on? Like, I’m sure Kerouac was aware of Woody Guthrie, but jazz tends to figure much more prominently in his work, and whether or not the songs are good, they’re linked to him now, whether or not he would’ve wanted them to be.

So what does that make One Fast Move Or I’m Gone, if not some sort of bizarre tribute album, a posthumous addendum to Kerouac’s published works he had no say in? What is music taken from prose, configured into a style that wouldn’t have been available to the original writer?

Lightning Dust

There’s so much great music in Vancouver right now. Over the last few weeks, this band’s been a fixture on my iPod. Fantastic, spare electro; moody synth with lots of open air… insomniac music.

Lightning Dust are playing The Drake September 10th. I suggest you buy tickets in advance. Don’t miss it.

The National’s new record, live video and a newfound peace of mind

Well, it’s happened – The National have finally followed up their last record, 2010’s brilliant High Violet. Their new release, Trouble Will Find Me, is… pretty different, actually. Gone is the frenetic angst that marked High Violet, the edgy dissatisfaction that kept them moving from earlier releases, propelling them from venues like The Horseshoe to now headlining at Yonge-Dundas square during North By Northeast. Instead, this new record is The National as they always maybe could’ve been, confident and – well, I won’t say relaxed, but definitely MORE relaxed than they have been.

I don’t have anything really cogent to say about it yet – read Pitchfork; their reviews of this beardy indie stuff are usually pretty good – but I find this album’s definitely growing on me. It finds the band taking a step back from the overthinking, overwrought sentiments of their last few albums and re-centering themselves. The National are a success now, whether or not they really ever wanted to be, and they’re starting to act and sound like it. They’re embracing that part of themselves, and that’s never a bad thing.

Here’s one of the better tracks from the new one, ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap,’ from Letterman the other night.

As well, absolutely do not miss them Friday June 14 at Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE. It’ll be the last time they play Toronto for months and months, though I bet they’ll be back in the new year, and considering the last time they played here they actually were at the ACC, it’ll be your last chance to see them outdoors for a while, too.

Unless you’re going to Bonnaroo. In which case, shut up and I hate you.

Mustache ahoy – new video by Toronto’s Dusted

One of my favourite Toronto bands, Dusted, has just released a video for their song “Bruises.”

In case you haven’t heard it, you really should just run right down and pick up their album, Total Dust. It’s a great summer record, filled with lots of subtle textures, dirt and grit in peculiar places. It was released last year, and I spent lots of time out and about late last summer with that as my soundtrack.

Dusted’s whole aesthetic is sort of pre-worn, like a pair of vintage jeans. The songs are all saturated and clipped and filled with hisses and pops, the album as a whole warm, immersive and… well, dusty. It’s not pretentious or inaccessible, though—the songs are all grounded in a really fine-tuned pop sensibility, so even if the structures and hooks are subtle, they’re just as engrossing as you’d hope they would be.

I’ve heard rumor they’re working on a new record, and hope to hear some new songs when they play North By Northeast (which was just announced earlier this week)

WELL? Get excited, people!