Song Of The Day: Astrid Sonne – Area Under A Curve

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

Things are bad. I don’t have to tell you things are bad.

Yes, I’m borrowing a line from the film Network, but rather than going down the path to Howard Beale-style doomsaying, I’m choosing instead to focus on the things that make us happy (specifically music in this case – we are a music blog after all) in order to distract a bit from all the bad things. And if we’re talking about things that make us happy, Roskilde is one of my happy places.

I’ve attended the Danish festival, held in the city of the same name, multiple times now and it never fails to impress. From the varied musical lineup to the art installations to the general sense of community, the festival has a great vibe and in many ways it seems to embody the Danish concept of hygge. Or to put it in terms most Roskilde attendees would understand, the Orange Feeling.

This year, Roskilde Festival is celebrating its 50th edition (providing everything’s back to normal by then) and while I probably won’t be there, I was lucky enough to attend the 2019 edition, where I saw a diverse lineup of acts spanning a wide range of genres.

Of all the acts I saw over the course of those four days, one of the most unique performances I took in was a set by Copenhagen-based composer Astrid Sonne. Her sound, combining electronic and classical elements, was rather impressive to hear and to see performed live, especially within the confines of the festival’s intimate Gloria Stage.

Check out the video for “Area Under A Curve,” off of Astrid Sonne’s latest release Cliondynamics, below.

Concert Review: Ali Barter, March 9, Drake Hotel

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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A few songs into Ali Barter‘s set at The Drake on Monday night, an enthusiastic fan shouted out, “So good!” Barter’s response was to tell us all that So Good is the name of a brand of soy milk in Australia, and he in turn took this as an opportunity to tell Barter about bags of milk. Sure, why not.

I guess since they were on the general topic of consumer goods, Barter also noted that there’s no more toilet paper in Australia, clearly a comment on the current coronavirus outbreak which has led to people panic buying mass quantities of TP.

While stockpiling toilet paper certainly seems like an overreaction, a similar abundance of caution has also resulted in the much more understandable yet still disappointing cancellation of next week’s SXSW festival and conference, which in turn has left touring musicians like Barter with a SXSW-shaped hole in their schedules.

Touring behind her latest album, Hello, I’m Doing My Best (which is, in fact, so good – that guy wasn’t wrong), Barter was in good spirits despite the setback and was quite happy to be in Toronto to play her first ever Canadian show. Though she was only here for a short while before going back to the U.S. for a few more shows, she promised she’d be back. And like many touring musicians, she polled the crowd on exactly how one should pronounce our fair city’s name, finally settling on “Tronno.”

Barter ran through most of the new album with highlights including “Backseat”, “History Of Boys” and a solo performance of “January” (which we wrote about here). She introduced that song by talking about how much she generally hates the month of January. “It seems like the promise of a new year, but by the end of the month you’re the same old fuckhead,” she said, before adding, “Let’s get depressed” and launching into the song.

Another memorable number was “Ur A Piece Of Shit,” which she described as “a love song” that she wrote for her friends. Both that song and “January” exemplify what’s good about Barter’s songwriting – she writes about the stuff one can go through while growing as a person and dealing with your issues, all of it with a touch of humour at times and set to some very catchy tunes reminiscent of ’90s/early 2000s indie and alt rock sounds. I’ll take that over soy milk any day.

Song of the Day: Calliope Musicals – Echo Of The Whoos

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

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Editor’s note: This post was originally intended to be part of our SXSW coverage, but, y’know … looks like SXSW ain’t happening anymore. Damn shame. But on the bright side, Calliope Musicals are from Austin and they’re already there anyways, so chances are they’re still playing somewhere in the city during what would have been SXSW week. We shall see …

Austin’s Calliope Musicals seems like they would be a fun band. I don’t know much about them but this song “Echo of the Whoos” features whoooing, gang vocals and xylophones, all of which sound fun to me. They have a bit of an Edward Sharpe vibe minus the whole ‘this feels like a cult’ feeling.

It also sounds like music from the late ’00s which gives me nostalgic feelings . God I’m old.

Concert Review: The Strokes, March 5, Rogers Arena, Vancouver

Posted on by Martin Alldred in Concerts | Leave a comment

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The Strokes played Vancouver last night for the first time in several years, and the city was ready for the New York five piece to return.

Well, at least half an Arena full of people were ready for them to return. The upper bowl at Rogers Arena was closed, but to be fair to a garage band who don’t put on a spectacular large venue show, the fact that they are playing an Arena shows how well regarded they are by so many.

They play a mix of Strokes songs from throughout the ages, including a good few from their iconic and genre defining debut This Is It, including “Someday”, “Soma”, “Hard to Explain” and “Take It Or Leave It.” The audience lap it up. When singer Julian Casablancas meanders around the stage, tipping over the monitors in a nonchalant manner and generally looking disinterested, the crowd remain undeterred by his lack of enthusiasm and stage presence. The mosh pit remained for every song, even the new ones, but expanded greatly for the early songs, as you’d expect. Even a slow improvised riffing ‘song’, three quarters of the way through the set, goes down well.

It seems throughout that the band would prefer to be playing a smaller indie-rock venue, intimate and cool. But they are of a size where that will never really happen again, unless they want to spend two weeks in every city they play to meet demand.

The last song, “Reptilia”, is epic. Crowd surfers fly over people’s heads. Many of those further back get their phones out and record it so they can enjoy the moment later, rather than enjoying it in the here and now.

The encore culminates in arguably the greatest low-fi indie song of the century,”Last Night.” Things get messy down the front, security look tense, but everyone survives. The Strokes were once widely considered to be one of the greatest bands on the planet – they are no longer that, but the sound they create together is as good live in 2020 as it was on record at the start of the 21st Century.