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!


Step 1: Hit ‘Play’ on the video of Parlovr live I found. Aren’t they great?

Step 2: Once that’s done, for the consideration of this generation, I have compressed the entire festival of North By Northeast into an accessible tl;dr format. Because, you know, Too Long = Didn’t Read.

Army Girls – Came out and levelled the Supermarket, but singer Carmen Elle seemed pretty uneasy, probably due to all the Paparazzi. Paparazzo? In the future, when covering Army Girls,

make sure you know the difference between a Paparazzi and a Paparazzo.

A Friend In London – Toured with the Backstreet Boys last year. They wrote a song about it. I know because they told us.

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Cool Band Alert: Doldrums

Doldrums (aka Eric Woodhead of Spiral Beach) was on my short list of bands to see at North By Northeast. Unfortunately, I didn’t get out to any of his gigs, but I’ve been listening to his EP, Empire Sound, on Soundcloud. I’m really enjoying it. You should listen, too.

His website,, redirects you to Pantheon Recliner. You can learn more there… I think.

This Week In Music 6/10/12

Here’s a few things you should be aware of:

1. NXNE is this week. If you haven’t checked out their nifty Schedulizer or their awesome App, you should get on that–there’s going to be enough amazing music in Toronto by the end of this week to put even the  most music-nerdiest of us (hello!) on overload. Expect much noise, and many fractured blog posts across the city.

2. Beach House are coming to Toronto on October 13th, 2012. They’re playing the Kool Haus, which creates a really weird Beach House/Kool Haus parallelism that makes the writer in me cringe.

As a related aside, I got confused at Rotate This and gave a test-listen to the new Best Coast record instead of Beach House’s latest record.

On the plus side, I got to hear this:

3. Bonnaroo’s this weekend. I don’t have anything to say about it, other than I’m jealous of everybody who trekked out to Tennessee to watch the Red Hot Chili Peppers play… Well. Maybe I’m not that jealous.

Still, there are some GREAT acts there. And they’re doing a webcast! Today, you’ll be able to stream Trampled By Turtles, Kathleen Edwards, Ben Folds, Bon Iver, The Civil Wars and Alice Effing Cooper.

You can stream it HERE btw. Chili’s are on being rebroadcast now, I think.

**please note: I do not consider anything the Red Hot Chili Peppers released before 1999 to be the same band currently broadcast through the link above.**

From The Fans To The Bands

Dear Bands,

You know we, your fans, love you dearly. Still, loving someone doesn’t mean you put up with all their quirks; here’s a few things that you’re doing that are annoying the hell out of us, and, together, we think we can work through.

1. The Encore Game needs to stop, right now.

Don’t play dumb. You know The Encore Game as well as we do. You finish the set, yell, ‘Thank you good nite’ then run off stage. We stomp and clap and yell until you’re won over by our endless neediness—“Oh, I guess they really do want to hear me play more”–and come back out to bask, McCartneylike, in our devotions.

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Cool Band Alert: Dusted

Here’s one of the most interesting groups I’ve heard in a while: Dusted. Everything I’ve seen from this band expresses that same worn-out sort of atmosphere that just feels like a city summer.

I love that second track.

Dusted‘s debut LP is released July 10th on Hand-Drawn Dracula records.

As well, you can follow the duo on Twitter, @totallydusted

NXNE Alert: Dusted is playing a set at The El Mocambo, next Thursday June 14th at midnight for North-by.