Concert Review: The Beths, Rosie Tucker, August 14, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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New Zealand’s The Beths played a stellar set at Lee’s Palace this past Sunday night touring in advance of their upcoming third album Expert In A Dying Field.

Over the course of roughly an hour, the band put on an impressive performance as they ran through an incredibly tight set that focused on tracks from their first two albums alongside a handful of tracks from the upcoming album.

Since releasing their debut Future Me Hates Me back in 2018, The Beths have consistently put out solid albums full of top notch songwriting, solid musicianship and beautiful harmonies and the new album promises to be just as good. Live, the band more than does justice to the songs, with tracks such as “Happy Unhappy”, “Jump Rope Gazers” and “You Are a Beam of Light” standing out as just a few highlights.

But enough about the show. What I’m really here to talk about is bassist Benjamin Sinclair’s personal blog, www.breakfastandtravelupdates.com, which the band mentioned onstage during their set.

It’s a given nowadays that most musicians have to spend a certain amount of time promoting themselves online, yet only a select few will take the time to regularly provide such a dutiful accounting of life on tour. Probably fewer still will take the time to specifically detail all of the stuff they have for breakfast while out on the road. This is the service which Sinclair provides, and I thank him for his service.

After assuring us during their set that he wasn’t being sarcastic and that breakfastandtravelupdates.com was indeed a real website, guitarist Jonathan Pearce then added (perhaps a bit sarcastically?) that his bandmate’s blog was not only the best blog on the internet, but the best site, period. After checking out the blog, I can safely say that he was being just a tad hyperbolic, but there is a certain appeal to finding out exactly how the bassist breaks his fast each morning, especially during those European dates, where cheese and coldcuts are the stars of the breakfast plates. Sure, some of the breakfasts aren’t quite as exciting as others, but none of it looks unappetizing. So, good call on choosing decent breakfasts, Benjamin!

I am also somewhat impressed at his attention to detail when describing their travel routes and destinations, such as when he noted that Lee’s Palace is in the Bloor Annex neighbourhood and made reference to “the 400-series highway Queen Elizabeth Way” in his Toronto post. Also notable is his inclusion of bits of trivia gleaned along the way, such as this tidbit on turnpikes from his Cleveland update:

The name comes from Middle English ‘turnpyke’ and means ‘spiked barrier across a road’ – originally used to block a road until a toll was paid. Of course, it now just means toll road, and hefty tolls we did pay to travel this premium piece of highway.

Now you know, folks. And knowing, as they say, is half the battle.

Breakfast blogs aside, let’s take it back to the music and talk a bit about opener Rosie Tucker, who, FYI, does not have a breakfast blog. And though we may not get an insight into what delicacies Tucker may be having for breakfast each morning, we were at least treated to two songs named after food during their set – “Ambrosia” and “Habenero.” When combined together on a plate, those two items would probably not make for that great of a breakfast, but luckily, they sounded pretty good in musical form during Tucker’s setlist.

While I already knew and loved The Beths, Rosie Tucker was an unknown quantity to me before this, but they put on an enjoyable show full of catchy tunes that certainly made a fan out of me.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a bit of breakfast.

Song of the Day: Superorganism – Solar System

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Song of the Day | Leave a comment

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Once in a decade or so I like to return to the founding ethos of Panic Manual: we review anything and everything under the sun so long as it is (arguably) tasteful. So I will share a few words about a recent NPR interview with Superorganism‘s singer, Orono.

Let’s first get some observations out of the way. This was clearly not a pleasant morning for some anchors: to hear the words “people did not quality for tax relief” spoken on the newsreel and grind your teeth on the fumbling utterance of “NO, that’s not it” on the following sentence, is one too many hard boiled eggs to swallow at 8AM. For someone who thanks dudes for edibles, Orono seems to genuinely appreciate having them for breakfast right before an interview. Lastly, the tension on air as the host, Daniel Estrin, tries in vain to elicit responses, is so diametrically opposite to the basic tenets of edibles even though you could indeed cut it with a knife.

Superorganism is of course the London-based pop band that brought us the pre-pandemically infectious likes of “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” back in the heady days of 2018, with their eponymous debut album. We thoroughly enjoyed their show at SxSW that year in support of that album.

With the new album, World Wide Pop, in hand, I suppose this interview was meant to be promotional. If I were to pinpoint an exact moment when I realized this could have been much better as a video interview, it was:

D. ESTRIN: I have to say, you know, when I first listened to your album, it kind of felt like the musical equivalent of TikTok. It was that…

ORONO: I don’t know if that’s a compliment or a dis.

And then it became more awkward:

D. ESTRIN: As a lead singer of a band in your early 20s with this music that just mirrors this strange internet world we’re living in, you know, what would you tell our listeners who maybe are a little bit older than you?

ORONO: I would just be like, I hope you like this record. If you don’t, that’s fine. I don’t really care.

It could have been great to scrutinize facial micro-expression at 4K and see if that shot across the bow did damage, or bounced off everyone and is still hours later pinballing around in the recording chamber sound-absorption-be-damned, like a laser beam trapped in a hall of mirrors. They do sound a lot more frenetically electronic and sampled on this album, perhaps that departure from the first album was meant to be the focus of discussion. Regardless of whether or not I read too much into this interview, I’m just glad to hear evidence that energy (and edibles) both remain strong in music.


Song Of The Day – Kiwi Jr. – Unspeakable Things

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Toronto indie rockers Kiwi Jr. just released their latest album Chopper this past Friday and it’s a good one. Check out the video for “Unspeakable Things”, the lead track off the album, below.

Song Of The Day: Maz O’Connor – What I Wanted

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


Earlier this year, English singer-songwriter Maz O’Connor released her latest album What I Wanted. The title track to that album is a beautiful piece, with O’Connor’s ethereal vocals floating atop a delicate piano part. Check it out below.

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