Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Location with C.R. Avery & The Special Interest Group

left to right Noah Walker - guitar, Adam Farnsworth Lautsch - piano, Evan Bates - bass, C.R. Avery - harmonica, Kevin Romain - drums
Tasty Ears On Location is stoked to have caught up with C.R. Avery & The Special Interest Group for an amazing performance of  their hit single Dungeon of Love. We got to spend the better part of the day with this amazing band from Vancouver. For this video we we're in a very hip little pad on the top floor of a storage facility over looking False Creek. These guys tore the place apart, rocked, and then put it all back together before moving over to Commercial Drive for another video with us. Finally we relaxed in true Vancouver Hipster style at The Legion for a few pitchers full of beer and a few bellies full of laughs. Seriously good times. Thanks again C.R., the next pitcher is on me.

Here is the second instalment of On Location with C.R. Avery, this time he brings it down a notch for a beautiful live version of Young Mechanic's Bride. This was filmed On Location at Highlife Records on Commercial Dr.. Where we all ended up purchasing a few records before we left. Thanks again for the courtesy Highlife. This track shows a different side of the multifaceted C.R. Avery & The Special Interest Group, specifically their vocal harmonies. Crack a cold one and enjoy this my friends and neighbours.

C.R. Avery even did a little interview for us, here's what he had to say:

TE) Is there a certain aesthetic that you go for with your live show?

CR) Sailor suits , a giant painting from highschool hung as a backdrop , clip on bed lamps, clipped to everyone in the bands mic stands which I control there on & off with a foot switch, intro movies , and outro films , once we had a car on stage .

TE) What local band would you most like to tour with?  

CR) Sarah McLaughlin

TE) How do you decide between what is a song and what is poetry in your own work?

CR) One of two can't keep her hands to herself, I thought she was a song, then she slyly tried to cop a feel.

TE) Tell me about your worst interview.

CR) With American Boarder guard ,winter 
of 2000.

Thanks again to C.R. Avery and The Special Interest Group for being so awesome and letting us invade their space. Go check these guys out live April 2nd at the Wise Hall. If you can't make it feel free to download the mp3's of our live session here.
DungeonOfLove by Tasty Ears

Young MechanicsBride by Tasty Ears

For more sweet photos and a look behind the scenes check Shaine Jones Photography's blog here. For more info on C.R. Avery click here.

Beard out!

The Biltmore Explodes

Teen daze

Last Monday night at The Biltmore Cabaret was the sold-out Toro Y Moi with Braids and Teen Daze show. Teen daze opened the show with a completely instrumental dance-y DJ set. Which he appeared to pull off with nothing but the track pad on his laptop running Ableton Live. It was a quick, high energy set. Well done.

Next up was Braids, and I must admit that it was Braids that I wanted to see most. They came out swinging even though they had just played an in store over at Red Cat earlier that day. They opened with their hit 'Lemonade' and then straight into 'Plath Heart'. I was so amped, I mean they were killing it. Then as they started to transition out of 'Plath Heart' when lead singer Raphaelle had a pedal problem (I'm not surprised as there were so many on stage it was confusing to look at much less operate). She also informed us that her voice was going and looked a little despondent. Braids are well known for their close friendships within the band and this was nothing that a hug from keyboardist Katie couldn't fix. Braids were back on track and all was right with the world.
Toro Y Moi

Finally, Toro Y Moi hit the stage. I wasn't a big fan until I saw the live show. Full band, high energy, this is a headlining band alright. Light flashing, people dancing, it was really intoxicating (or was that just the PBR?). I would highly recommend making an effort to catch all three bands live any chance you get. You may not be so lucky as to catch them in such a intimate venue before long.

Album Revue- The Gift - Explode

Started in 1994, the (now) four piece band, The Gift is to Portugal what The Tragically Hip was to Canada in the '90's, the nation's band. The Gift play big live shows to sell out crowds in their home country but, except for opening for The Flaming Lips tour in 2003, are largely unknown here in North America. Hence the video (see last week's blog) for 'Made for You' the first single off Explode, that features Lukas Haas and Isabel Lucas performing the song as if they wrote it, in a brilliantly executed ploy to make the song/band more familiar to us. 'Made for You' is a huge success as a song wether or not you watch the video and it is not alone on the album. Explode opens with the synth driven 'Let It Be by Me'. A repeating lyric starts in unison and slowly bursts apart into an explosion of pieces that sounds a bit like competing stereos playing different songs in a single room. The track 'My Sun', with harp and gang vocals, sounds like it could have come from The Polyphonic Spree, where as 'Race is Long' has elements (driving bass and epic piano) reminiscent of Muse.

The third track off Explode 'RGB' really digs into the "arena rock", super slick production that comes naturally to them (and their producer Ken Nelson (Cold Play)). This sound is familiar and well executed but often goes too far into the super dramatic. 'Suit Full of Colours' and 'Aquatic', would serve a latin drama well. The twelve minute epic 'The Singles' starts off almost MGMT 'esque but then veers off into "prog rock" that ultimately leaves something to be desired.

If the American market is something The Gift are courting then Explode is successful in garnering positive attention. Perhaps they don't want to alienate their fan base but short of committing completely they risk being more popular in the "world music" section then on regular rotation on the radio. 'Made For You' is a top notch track and they have clearly been listening to their own advice "This time you're not alone/ Get rid of old ideals/ Do something on your own/ Don't care about the things you are listening to" and we are all richer for it.

Stay tuned for an exclusive, brand new Tasty Ears On Location Video with C.R. Avery later tonight.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"So This Guy Calls..."

A guy calls the musician's guild to get a quote on a six piece band for a wedding.The rep says "Off the top of my head, about two thousand dollars".He says"WHAT? FOR MUSIC?. "The rep responds " I'll tell you what. Call the plumbers' union & ask for six plumbers to work from 6 to 12 o'clock on a Saturday night. Whatever they charge you, we'll work for half." "I get your point" he said. ....

The Gift, a psychedelic synth-pop band from Portugal, are releasing  a new album coming soon titled Explode. The Gift appropriately opened for (one of my all-time faves) The Flaming Lips on a tour a few years back. Here's for first single off Explode titled "Made for You". The video cheekily stars Lukas Haas and Isabel Lucas. 

Foster the People
As the dust settles on SXSW here are a few of the bands left standing a little further ahead then before the festival. I can't stop listening to the poppy hit "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. A friend turned me on to these guys recently, just in time to get stoked for the album, which drops in May. Give it a spin below.
Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks by ESS Blog

The Vaccines
If I were a good "blogger" I would leak these tracks one a day but I'm not even really a blogger so... next up is The Vaccines. A four piece from the UK (and were arguably one of the festivals top billed) are to release What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? in North America on May 31. If you can't wait maybe you can dig up a copy at your local record store. So good.
The Vaccines - If You Wanna by Indiechorusly

The Death Set

Enough about SXSW already, earlier this week I mentioned The Death Set and how I highly recommend their latest album. Well here's a little taste and please, if at first you're not sure, wait for the epic Beastie Boys break down part way through. Plus it's a two minute song, what? Like you've got something better to do?
THE DEATH SET - A Problem Is A Problem It Don't Matter Where You From by Nicky Larsen

Just out today are a couple of tracks for a couple of highly anticipated albums, I'll start with Yacht (reverse alphabetical). Here's the first single "Dystopia" off their upcoming album Shangri-La out in June.
YACHT-Dystopia by Tasty Ears

Here's another beautiful track off of Low's upcoming album C'mon. This one is called "Especially Me".
Low - Especially Me by avha

I'm a little late getting on this but I do enjoy this track from The New Division titled "Starfield" off The Rookie EP they released back in January.
Starfield by The New Division

We're hard at work over at Tasty Ears website organizing some rad new videos for you guys. We've got 5 or 6 more bands lined up already so if you haven't check out the site yet, please do. There, now I've mentioned everything so I probably won't have anything of much interest to say for a while but check back soon because, we all know, I won't let that stop me from posting more words anyway.

P.S. Check out the Tasty Ears Upcoming Concert recommendations in the side bar and follow me on Hypemachine for an ever morphing Tasty Ears Top 100 tracks of the moment.

P.P.S Beard!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Screw SXSW

I am kidding, I, in know way, have any ill will towards SXSW and can't wait till next year when I will be there. Any festival that starts with Jack White playing "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" is something I want to be a part of. Watch the NPR video here. I will "go to there" next year and I'm bringing Portage and Main with me.

Portage and Main had their CD release party last night at a sold out Anza Club. This is their debut CD, they had never played a live gig as Portage and Main before and they sold the place out. Clearly there is a lot of excitement about this band. Adrian Glynn opened the night before The Sumner Brothers hit the stage. Next up Portage and Main (John Sponarski and Harold Donnelly*) who graciously took the stage with a heartfelt thank-you to the sold out audience. They played a good chunk of the album and probably would have played more if not for time constraints. The crowd was completely elated with every song. A very strong (never mind first) show, Portage and Main are easily living up to the hype that surrounds them. Not only is that the best The Anza Club has ever sounded (I'm talking sound quality here) but Portage and Main didn't miss a note. Download the album here and support this rad new band you won't regret it. I hate comparing new bands to other bands (no i don't, I actually get a little high from it) but if I had to say who they sort of sound  like, I would go with Band of Horses.
John Sponarski (of Portage and Main) feeling the love at The Anza Club

*huge props to Harold's amazing beard 
Today is sort of a release day of my own with officially launching today. There will be some minor improvements happening to the site as we go but head over and check it out.

Lot's of rad new releases this week. Here's a few highlights: Mother Mother - EurekaThe Death Set - Michel PoiccardThe Naked and Famous - Passive Me Aggressive You, and Oh Land - Oh Land. I highly recommend The Death Set and Oh Land.

Here is Wolf & I by Oh Land (I'm spinning the shit out of this track right now)
Wolf & I by OhLand

Another favourite of mine right now is Braids (top 3 albums of the year so far for suressies). Here is Plath Heart from Braids.
Braids - Plath Heart by All Tomorrows Parties

Here is the above mentioned The Naked and Famous with Young Blood
The Naked and Famous - Young Blood by Check Yo Ponytail

And finishing out todays tracks of great new bands with strong female leads is Austra. Here is Beat & the Pulse by Austra
Austra - Beat & The Pulse (Extended Version) by DominoRecordCo

Finally if you haven't checked out the latest from J Mascis titled Several Shades of Why do so (J is the man). Likewise The Pains of Being Pure at Heart new album Belong is totally awesome.

Beard, beard, beard, beard.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Between the Bridge and the Water

Vancouver's progressive/death metal scene is alive and well and if you don't believe me then you haven't met Abriosis. They are self-proclaimedly "Dedicated to touring their asses off, and ripping open ear pussies." These guys roll up in an armoured truck loaded with a shit ton of gear and beer and they begin the laborious process of setting up. Where better to film a band like this then in an old funeral chapel, and that's exactly where we found ourselves (I'm sure this is why they are dressed all in black). We located The Chapel, an actual old funeral parlour in East Van that has been conveniently transformed into a live music venue. After crushing a few warm up tunes and even more beer we are set to roll. These guys are loud enough to raise the dead but what is most impressive is their incredible technique. If you have ugly bare feet then don't watch this video cause it will rock your socks off. Here is Between the Bridge and the Water by Abriosis.

As if that wasn't amazing enough, these guys are currently giving away their brand new album Tattered and Bound on Stereo Killer. It is so "brutal" that it might "crush you balls" and "take the hair off your cat", so go get it already. They will also soon be selling their own Pussy Crusher t-shirts. Thanks again for all the beer gentlemen, I'm starting to get my hearing back finally!
For more great shots and some behind the scenes action from the Tasty Ears shoot check out Shaine Jones Photography.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Depressed Hipster Stormtroopers

Late one morning last week I rolled out of bed and down the hall into the office/studio coffee in hand. I do what I do first every morning and check my email. staring back at me from my inbox is an email titled Boba Fett on drums! I rub my eyes and sip some coffee. It's still there. A few more clicks and...

Chicago's Scattered Trees made this video themselves less than a month ago. This is the first release off their upcoming album Sympathy (out April 5th via Roll Call Records). The band had literally "scattered" across the country previous to this album leaving most to question wether Scattered Trees were still a band. Now they are about to play SXSW and were recently in the top 10 on Hypemachine.

Louise Burns and the Moonshiners
This last weekend was a busy one and so much fun. Started Friday night down at the uberhip new Waldorf Hotel Cabaret/Tikibar for an early show with Louise Burns and Shimmering Stars. Louise Burns and The Moonshiners opened (with Debra-Jean) guesting on supporting vocals. A short but very sweet set from her was followed promptly by the Shimmering Stars. They got the crowd on its feet and onto the dance floor with a few songs from last years EP before playing a couple of new tracks and closing with Sabians (from last weeks video). They came out for an encore with a Beach Boys cover to send all the hipsters on their way.
Shimmering Stars
My way was off to the Cobalt for another SXSW send off show. I was too late for No Gold and Teen Daze (which was too bad judging by the very excited crowd). I did get there just in time to catch headliners Basketball. Despite a few technical problems and a (by this point) overly drunk and excited crowd, they rocked a high energy set. Keep an ear out for these guys a sort of Jane's Addiction meets Yeasayer with a sprinkling of Nine Inch Nails. Good stuff.


Saturday was the Cold War Kids at The Vogue. I've been a fan since their first album and I'm not really sure about the over produced sound of the new album but I am sure about their live show. It's a very carefully crafted set of old and new and doesn't miss a single song that one would need to hear. Focusing mainly on the latest album of course but not leaving out Mexican Dogs, Audience of One, We Used to Vacation or Hospital Beds. They closed the night with a short encore ending with my favourite St. John. After a perfect set singer Nathan Willett even came out for some handshakes and photo ops. All left very satisfied.
Cold War Kids
Nathan Willett (centre) of Cold War Kids
 posing for photos after the show.
Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes posted on Twitter yesterday a download link for three new songs he had written but didn't know what to do with. The first of the three beautiful folk songs is a collaboration with Ed Droste (of Grizzly Bear). If you like either of those bands or folk music then I highly recommend it.

Out today is the latest from Kurt Vile titled Smoke Ring for my Halo. Check out his Don't Look Down video session over at Pitchfork. Check out the track Jesus Fever here.
Kurt Vile - Jesus Fever by Pretty Much Amazing

Also out today is much hyped band Wye Oak's latest Civilian. Available on iTunes and appearing live in concert (unconfirmed) at the Media Club March 27 with (an also unconfirmed) Music in the Afternoon set at Zulu Records earlier that day. Here is the title track off the album.
Wye Oak - Civilian by cityslang

Currently streaming over at Hypemachine is the highly anticipated, upcoming release from Oh Land. Check it out before you buy it next week right here on Hypem.

A little tease from a favourite band of mine Wild Beasts popped up on many blogs recently is a song called Albatross. The album drops on the same day as another favourite of mine's Antlers new album does (looking forward to that day). Here is Wild Beats new single Albatross
Wild Beasts - Albatross by rockfeedback

All upcoming concert listings are now in the sidebar. Go!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Alright, early show at The Waldorf tonight with Shimmering Stars and it's almost go time so I'm going to be blunt. Lots of cool stuff to stream right now online so here goes. Check for Twitter updates from all the live shows this weekend.

 The latest from Kurt Vile titled Smoke Ring for my Halo can be streamed at Drowned In Sound here. The newest from the Dodos can be streamed on HypeMachine and the released earlier this week album from Middle Brother can be streamed here at Spinner

Also tonight at the Cobalt is Basketball, Teen Daze and No Gold. I'm going to try to get there after the Shimmering Stars show if I can find just the right application of cocktails from the Waldorf's new Tiki Bar.

Tomorrow I'll be at The Cold War Kids show at the Vogue. Also Saturday night The Red Room is hosting live music with 41st & Home! Miami Device, Redrick Sultan, the Jen Huangs, and the Intruders take over the Railway Club. Also Saturday night  The Dears! are at Venue. The Biltmore Cabaret  has Asobi Seksu, Brahms, and Kisses. I'm digging Brahms check it

On Sale today were tickets for Okkervil River with my favourite band Titus Andronicus at the Vogue on June 20th. Also today the most epic live and all round awesome band Man Man went on sale for their show May 17 at the Rickshaw.
Man Man

Another couple of shows that were just announced are Jenny and Johnny (Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice) are sneaking away from Sasquatch festival to play Venue on May 29. Just one day after two other Sasquatch bands are at The Commodore. Those bands being Yeasayer and Smith Westerns (which is btw one of the best albums of 2011 (so far)). Here's the track All Die Young from it
Smith Westerns - All Die Young by Indie Aufsatz

In more Sasquatch news, at least 3 or 4 more bands have been added this week including Wavves. I can see the argument that maybe there aren't enough "headliners" at Sasquatch this year but I think it's a rad line-up over all. So all the naysayers please feel free to stay home so there can be more room on the hill for me.

Of Montreal and Broken Bells both announced new EP's this week. They drop later this month. Still no word on the new Shins album that was reported for release sometime this year.

The Cave Singers new Album No Witch is out now and shows some pretty serious growth for the band without being a major departure from the music we love. Just more mature song writing and a very defined sense of style. I'm stoked for the show April 21. Just buy the album already. No Witch

Keep Tidy is a relatively new hard core band on the local scene but their new EP Basement Mold sounds more refined then many a debut album (especially in the genre). Actually recorded in a real moldy basement by the band, they really nail the 80's hardcore sound while still managing to sound current. With 7 songs in 8 minutes it's perfect for todays A.D.D. generation of short attention spans but my attention they have (even if it is only a minute at a time). If you don't care for hardcore then this is not for you, if you do then go and check out local hardcore band Keep Tidy's new EP Basement Mold. Download it for free on bandcamp now. For the lazy here is their self proclaimed "number one hit single!" titled Simpson's Quotes
Simpsons Quotes by Keep Tidy

Now I've got to do a little beard growing before I can head to the Waldorf! Go!