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!

I Sat By The Ocean by Queens of the Stone Age is maybe not their best, but it’ll do

Now HERE’S a breath of fresh air – Queens of the Stone Age were recently caught performing a few tracks from their upcoming record. Here’s “I Sat By The Ocean,” which by general consensus seems to be the favourite to be the single. Great example of the Queens’ latest songwriting, with one of those Dean Fertita faux-Hawaiian-guitar hooks they’re so fond of. The riff’s pretty reminiscent of something you’d hear on the first album–to this day one of my favourite records of the last 20 years–but everything remains a little more controlled than what I want to hear from QOTSA.

Let’s get some roughness going, guys!

…Like Clockwork is set for release on June 4th. I’m going to buy it–we all probably are going to buy it, I mean–but despite the high-profile guest appearances by Elton John, Brody Dalle, Trent Reznor and (of course) Dave Grohl, I’m a little worried we’ll just be getting more of the same from this band.

Queens of the Stone Age are a great rock band who’ve been lost in the desert for one record too many. Hopefully this one brings ’em back to reality.

Arts & Crafts ‘X’ Track list arrives… and I’m a little disappointed

Handout/Arts & Crafts

Handout/Arts & Crafts

At last, we have the final track list–I think–for Arts & Crafts’ neato-burrito collaborations disc, ‘X.’

via Exclaim

1. Broken Social Scene x Years – “Day Of The Kid”
2. Apostle Of Hustle x Zeus – “Bizarre Love Triangle” (New Order cover)
3. Feist x Timber Timbre – “Homage”
4. Still Life Still x Zulu Winter – “Era”
5. The Hidden Cameras x Snowblink – “The Chauffeur” (Duran Duran cover)
6. The Darcys x Ra Ra Riot – “Time Can Be Overcome” (Constantines cover)
7. Chilly Gonzales x Stars – “Nothing Good Comes To Those Who Wait”
8. Hayden x Jason Collett – “Lonely Is As Lonely Does”
9. Gold & Youth x Trust – “Lady Bird”
10. Amy Millan x Dan Mangan – “Chances Are” (Johnny Mathis & Liza Minnelli cover)

Short take… I don’t know, guys. There’s not a lot of genre crossover here, and though it’ll be neat to hear Apostle of Hustle run through a New Order cover backed up by Zeus, unless they’ve done some serious work with the pacing of this, it’s basically guaranteed to be a stilted, difficult listen.

Exception: The Darcy’s & Ra Ra Riot doing a Constantines cover. That is a match made in heaven.

Arts & Crafts ‘X’ Release Date Announced

Well, it’s finally happened. Arts & Crafts records has finally let us know exactly when their X album will be available.
In case you haven’t been following, X is a collaborations record, featuring almost the whole stable of A&C artists, playing and reinterpreting each others’ tunes. I was hoping for a Record Store Day release, but that didn’t happen.

I sat down with Jeffrey Remedios of Arts & Crafts a few months ago, and he was pretty cagey about the whole thing.

A&C has one of the strongest rosters in the country. Each band has a really distinct sound, too; I mean, how great would it be for Zeus to rework a Broken Social Scene song in a similar fashion to what they did to Stone Temple Pilots.

RIGHT?!

You’ll be able to pick up X on May 28th in LP, CD and digital formats. Sweetness.

Here’s the release: Arts & Crafts X

Record Store Day Recommendations

Handout / Six Shooter Records & Whitehorse Music

Handout / Six Shooter Records & Whitehorse Music

Well, it’s almost Record Store Day again and, while on the whole I see very little to be excited about–woohoo, major labels trying to cash in on dead and/or reunited acts by putting the same damn record out in different colors–there’s a few bright spots we should all look at picking up. On the one hand, I really think it’s important to support independent record stores and buy music. On the other hand, there’s very few of these yearly releases that are really even remotely interesting or unique, so… That sort of puts us in a tough spot, doesn’t it? Maybe let’s try to make every day Record Store Day, yeah? Go out and buy some vinyl. It’ll do you good.

Hey Joe / Stone Free (mono mixes) – Jimi Hendrix
Okay, this is kind of neat. Hendrix’s recordings have been mixed to stereo for so long, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a mono mixdown of any of his tracks. These are going to sound almost exactly like what most people in ’67’s first encounters with Hendrix would’ve been, and there’s some value in that. For collectors only, for sure, but… isn’t that what Record Store Day’s about?

Record Store Day – Titus Andronicus If, like me, you think Titus Andronicus will be remembered as one of the great rock bands of our era, you need this. With a track from their last record backed by two unreleased songs on the B-side, this will be well worth your time.

Nick Drake’s first LP is something every folk fan should listen to. I don’t really know how available original vintage copies are, but this seems a pretty safe bet for something you’ll enjoy.

Acadie – Daniel Lanois Now here’s a one to star. This is the special extended edition, remastered with bonus tracks. I will be purchasing this.

Devil’s Got A Gun / Lipstick – Whitehorse A great live take on Whitehorse’s first single from their new record, Devil’s Got A Gun is backed by a beautiful redo of Lipstick, which originally appeared as I Hate Your Lipstick on Veal’s Embattled Hearts album. Absolutely worth a listen.

Here’s the original:

(By the way, the whole list can be found at Record Store Day’s Canadian website)