Song of the Day: Torres – Gracious Day

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“Gracious Day” is a simple, stripped down and beautiful song from Silver Tongues, the latest record from Torres. How good is it? It’s good enough for me to rise from the ashes to present you with a music post.

Here’s a version of the song recorded last year. Check it out. It’s on Spotify and Google Music and RDIO and Pandora and Orbit and Myspace.

Live In Berlin, a recording of Torres’ final show this year “before the world slowed down” is out today via Merge Records.

Album review: Japandroids – Massey Fucking Hall (2020, Arts & Crafts)

Posted on by Paul in Albums | Leave a comment

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Back in the day when music fans could still attend live concerts beyond the ones put on by country singers you’ve never heard of with made up sounding names, Vancouver duo Japandroids became famous for their particular brand of loud, sweaty rock shows – shows which are now quite unimaginable in our current situation. So it comes as a welcome reminder of the power of their live shows that the band have recently released a live album documenting their appearance at Toronto’s legendary Massey Hall … or rather, it would have if the album were truly able to replicate the feel of a Japandroids show on record.

Massey Fucking Hall documents Japandroids’ appearance on the Massey Hall stage back in October of 2017 (the bulk of which is also featured in a Live at Massey Hall video that’s up on YouTube if you’d rather watch it than just listen to it). To their credit, it sounds good and the band is in fine form, but for a band whose live shows have the feel of a massive communal celebration for the fans, it’s impossible for a recording to even come close to that. On the plus side, this also means that there’s zero chance of being jostled about by the more bro-ish contingent of their fanbase, although the chances of that happening in a seated venue like Massey were already pretty slim.

While songs like “No Known Drink or Drug” and “Young Hearts Spark Fire” stand out as energetic highlights, the whole thing ultimately feels a bit sterile, though maybe it’s the venue itself that diminishes the vibe somewhat. After all, it would be difficult to come close to that feeling in a seated venue like Massey Hall. The band even acknowledges this on the album when Brian King makes a comment near the end about the people standing up front making it seem more like “a normal Japandroids show.”

Maybe I’m being too hard on the band because I’m missing live music and this is really only kind of like that. Or maybe I just don’t like live albums. No that can’t be true – after all, without live albums, we’d never have the magic of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Rust Never Sleeps, Cheap Trick at Budokan and of course, that compilation of Paul Stanley’s stage banter (it counts as a live album in my books). Maybe if Japandroids followed Stanley’s lead and let out a few extremely high pitched exclamations of “How you doin’ Toronto!!?” or made punny references to their song titles before playing each song, I’d cut them a bit more slack, but alas, they have not done any of that.

Frankly, there isn’t a live album that can truly capture the feeling of being there, but I suppose the ones that do it right can remind us of the power of seeing a band in person. While Massey Fucking Hall may fall a bit short in that regard, it’s still a solid document of the band that will likely appeal to the die-hard fans. For the rest of us? Well, there’s always the hope that live shows might be a thing again by next year …

Song of The Day: Tugboat Captain – No Plans (For This Year)

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As it turns out, it’s entirely coincidental that Tugboat Captain just recently released a song called “No Plans (For This Year)”. In fact, that song was already written well before everything that’s happening in the world right now had even begun, so it seems that the London-based indie pop band just miraculously fluked their way into writing a song that now feels very timely. Either that or the band has some impressive Nostradamus/Edgar Cayce level prognostication skills. You can choose to believe whichever story you like.

As it also turns out, the band were initially scheduled to play this year’s edition of SXSW before it was cancelled for the first time in the festival’s 33 year history. So yes, they did have some plans for this year, but you know how the old saying goes about best laid plans and all that. Of course, the year’s not nearly over yet and the band does still plan on releasing their upcoming debut studio album Rut (which was recorded at the famed Abbey Road studios) later this year on Double A-Side Records.

If you don’t have any plans at the moment, give “No Plans (For This Year)” a listen below.

Song Of The Day: Molly Tuttle – Fake Empire

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

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Photo Credit- Zach Pigg

The title of Molly Tuttle‘s upcoming album,…but i’d rather be with you, seems like a fairly apt one for our times. After all, after months without any live shows, both performers and audiences would surely much rather be gathered together to share the live music experience. But of course that won’t be happening for a good while still, so a new album is a pretty good compromise in the meantime.

That album, recorded entirely under quarantine, is a collection of covers from a wide rage of sources – everything from Rancid to FKA Twigs to The Grateful Dead (a lyric from the band’s “Standing On The Moon” gives the album its title). The lead single from the album is Tuttle’s version of The National’s “Fake Empire”, also a rather apt choice for our times.

The video features historical footage of past instances of protest and activism mixed in with Tuttle’s performance of the song. As she explains, “We wanted to leave the meaning of the video somewhat up to interpretation, just like the lyrics of the song. Matt Berninger commented that the song is about ‘where you can’t deal with the reality of what’s really going on, so let’s just pretend that the world’s full of bluebirds and ice skating.’ Right now a lot of people in our country are waking up to the realities of police brutality, racism, and bigotry all around us. I hope that people, like myself, who have the privilege to turn a blind eye to these injustices, can maintain this awareness and action to create a better society.”

…but i’d rather be with you is out on August 28 via Compass Records.