Song Of The Day: Eels – The Magic

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When Eels mastermind E sings “I get it, don’t sweat it. I’m not your cup of tea” in the opening lines of their latest single “The Magic”, I get the impression this is something he’s likely had to say about his own band.

At this point, Eels have stuck around long enough to have a cult following while also decidedly sticking to their own guns and doing whatever pleases them musically – ie. not everyone’s cup of tea.

Sticking with the tea metaphor, the blend that Eels have put together on latest single “The Magic” is certainly tasty enough to please fans of the band, who will be able to hear it live in the new year when Eels will tour in support of their forthcoming album Extreme Witchcraft.

Extreme Witchcraft is out January 28 via PIAS and the band’s own E Works Records.

Concert Review: Caribou, November 23, Danforth Music Hall

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At the outset of Caribou‘s set at The Danforth on Tuesday night, Dan Snaith announced how happy he and the band were to be playing again and to see everyone at the show, adding, “Thank you for waiting so long for this.”

His words echoed those of most musical acts who have made their return to the stage over the past several months, but they seemed to hit a little harder and mean a little more at this show.

After all, if you’ll recall, Caribou was originally meant to be playing this show way back in March of 2020 and that original date was one of the first notable Toronto shows to be postponed due to COVID. So for it to finally be happening all these months later was certainly appreciated by all.

Snaith and his backing band put on a solid show, which is not too surprising considering they’ve been playing together for many years now. The band has an impressive musical rapport, exemplified on this evening by their epic performance of “Sun” – a song that went on so long that I almost forgot they were still playing that same song until they circled back to its main motif at the end. This is of course not a slight on them at all – “Sun” sounded brilliant and was one of the highlights of the night. It was far from the only one though, with “Odessa”, “Our Love” and the nonstop positivity parade that is “You Can Do It” also standing out as notable highlights.

In an interview done with The Toronto Star in advance of this show, Snaith described his current live set as “just a big dance party”, which is indeed an accurate description of what went on at the Danforth on this occasion. And while many people (around me at least) may have still refrained from full on dancing, it’s hard to argue that the energy levels of this show didn’t have that big dance party energy. This was a joyous performance.

Concert Review: Tobin Sprout, November 18, Monarch Tavern

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“I haven’t been here in a long time. It was a lot easier to get in last time. A lot of hoops this time.”

So said Tobin Sprout by way of introduction to the packed crowd at the Monarch Tavern for a show that was not only his first time back to Toronto in a while, but was also the first show back for many in attendance after a long time away from live music. For me personally, it was also my first time seeing Tobin Sprout and he did not disappoint. Starting things off with “Get Out Of My Throat“, Sprout set the tone for the night as he and his band ran through an enjoyable set full of songs from throughout his career.

With Sprout touring behind his latest release, last year’s folk/Americana leaning Empty Horses, I wondered whether he might have just been playing a stripped down solo set for this show, but luckily he brought a full band and the band, in turn, most definitely brought it. So yes, they may have had to jump through a lot more hoops to get here this time around, but the Toronto audience was definitely appreciative that they made the effort.

On a wildly tangential note, I will note here that while doing a recent Google search on Tobin Sprout, I stumbled across a completely unrelated company called Tobin Sports, known for their inflatable boats and kayaks. That is, I presume they’re unrelated – there’s always a chance that Tobin Sprout is a majority shareholder in the company, or maybe even the CEO. Perhaps there’s a whole other world he’s been involved in all along, providing quality inflatable modes of water transport to the CostCo faithful. Who knows?

Unlikely? Maybe, but stranger things have happened. I mean, his 1997 album Moonflower Plastic culminates in a track entitled “Water on the Boater’s Back.” That can’t be just a coincidence, can it?

Come on, people, the clues were there all along! Wake up!

Song Of The Day: black midi – John Hell (Live at Soup Studios)

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Just last week, our illustrious writer Gary shared his thoughts on black midi‘s latest effort Cavalcade, released in May of this year. And now, as if in response, the band he described as “post-punk Buddhist monks” have released a live performance of that album’s “John L”, sped up and renamed “John Hell.” And though the frenzied update of the tune could be described as anything but zen, it’s a blast to watch and listen to and the band certainly seems to be enjoying themselves a hell of a lot, if you’ll excuse the terribly awful pun.

Check out the video for “John Hell” below.