Song Of The Day: The Stranglers – This Song

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Coming out of the UK punk scene in the 1970s, The Stranglers were of course not your typical punk band, with their sound encompassing many styles and influences. A large part of what made their sound unique was the keyboards of the late Dave Greenfield, who sadly passed away before the band completed what was to become their final album, Dark Matters, released late last year on Coursegood Records.

Sole original member Jean-Jacques Burnel worked with the rest of the band to complete that album, and while nothing on there may quite match the heights of Stranglers classics like “Golden Brown” or “Peaches”, it’s still a fine tribute to Greenfield’s legacy and a solid addition to the band’s catalogue, as evidenced by hard driving single “This Song.”

SXSW Song Of The Day: Blushing – The Fires

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Photo Credit: Cristian Sigler

After two long years away, SXSW is (fingers crossed) finally set to make its IRL return to Austin this March.

At least we’re presuming it’ll go ahead as planned. After all, with plenty of artists starting to postpone/cancel tourdates again and festivals like Sundance moving to a fully online format this year, nothing is guaranteed.

On the other hand, yesterday’s announcement of this year’s Coachella lineup would seem to be a hopeful sign that things might be looking up by the time SXSW rolls around. Or just a sign that everyone’s in denial. Either way, there have been a whole bunch of acts announced for SouthBy so far, so as a further sign of hopefulness and/or self-delusion, today we start our annual tradition of profiling acts we’re excited about (potentially) seeing this March. After all, it’s what we here at the Panic Manual do around this time of year, so why break with tradition at this point?

We start things off with a look at one of my favourite Austin based acts of the last few years – Blushing. The band’s sound encompasses everything that’s great about shoegaze and if you don’t care to take my word for it, they’ve even got the seal of approval from Miki Berenyi of Lush/Piroshka fame, who guested on the band’s previous single “Blame”, taken from their forthcoming album Possessions. Or I guess you could also just listen to their latest single “The Fires” below. Your choice.

Possessions is out Feb 18th on Kanine Records.

Concert Review: Martha Wainwright, November 30, The Great Hall

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During her performance last night at The Great Hall, Martha Wainwright noted that two of her bandmates were from Toronto, which made this feel like a bit of a homecoming for her too. She also gave a shout out to a store across the street from the venue where she had just picked up the outfit she was wearing on stage, so it all felt pretty local. Wainwright later continued with the Toronto theme, telling a story about a time she spent here in her younger days before stopping herself.

“This story’s going nowhere. But you know what? Neither are you … Neither am I.” For their part, I’m sure the audience was glad she didn’t go anywhere.

With her loose, sometimes meandering, but generally enjoyable stage banter, Wainwright and her band seemed to be having a lot of fun up there – even a bad joke about her song “Getting Older” being called “Getting Younger” became kind of funny after she repeated it a few times in a row … and that bit then eventually morphed into a semi-pitch to buy a t-shirt from the merch table. Musically, the band was impressive, though also playful, such as one moment when they spontaneously started humorously riffing on some instrumental jazz while she was talking to the crowd.

While her band was impressive, some of the most memorable moments of the entire night came during the more stripped down moments in Wainwright’s set. At one point, the band left the stage as Wainwright ran through a few number from earlier in her career, commenting on how while she didn’t relate to some of those songs she wrote all those years ago, some resonated even more as she’s gotten older.

Other highlights of her set included a performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel” that saw her belting the song out powerfully. She followed that up with a lovely rendition of her mother Kate McGarrigle’s song “Talk To Me Of Mendocino” and later in the night played another of her mother’s songs, “Proserpina”, during her first encore.

Ending things off with a second encore of “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” after that seemed almost anticlimactic after what felt like a natural song to go out on but I’m sure a lot of fans were probably expecting to hear “BMFA” so it’s not like she could just skip it. And of course it still sounded great regardless, so what am I complaining about?

Song Of The Day: Quinquis – Adkrog

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“Adkrog”, the latest single from QUINQUIS (aka Émilie Tiersen), is a beautiful, moody piece which Tiersen describes as being “… about finding the energy in environment and nature”.

QUINQUIS just recently singed with Mute Records and has announced a series of upcoming European tour dates for the new year. Check out the video for “Adkrog” below.

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