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Nothing Says ‘Love’ Like a Band Reunion

Nothing makes you wish you could win the lottery, or unexpectedly come into money some other way, like one of your favourite bands reuniting for a show. One of the ones you thought you’d perhaps never get to see live, or never again if you’d already seen them.

There is certainly a benefit of a band reuniting without putting out a new (often disappointing) release. No questioning whether or not to go to the show, worried you’ll have to endure a bunch of shitty new songs in order to hear a few of your old favourites. In addition, there are the likes of Billy Corgan  – expecting fans to be so devoted they won’t ask for the old songs that changed their lives, and reprimanding them when they do. It doesn’t seem like a fair approach somehow, even if the artist cringes at the angsty, earlier chapter of their career.

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Reviews and Suggestions

The Grown-Up Kids: Get Up Kids Turn Comeback Kids with “There Are Rules”

Where were The Get Up Kids at the start of the millennium?  As a listener coming at their latest record, I heard a mash-up of sounds one wouldn’t immediately associate with the band – electro, funk and post-punk are some that spring to mind. Graphically speaking, the cover is sophisticated. The image on the front of the LP is of a woman holding a mirror to her face, where the mirror reflects the ocean to the viewer: a Lacanian articulation of femininity and its evolving self-reflexivity through the play of the gaze. The viewer gazes at the woman, who in return gazes into open space and vast water.

The Get Up Kids came onto the scene in the ’90s wake of Pavement, Weezer and Green Day. After splitting up in 2005, the band reassembled and began touring extensively throughout most of 2008 and 2009, developing an underground community with other bands such as Rocket Fuel is the Key, Coalesce and Braid. Their latest record, There Are Rules, is a departure from Vagrant Records – the album was released on their own label at Quality Hill Records. Mixed by Bob Weston and produced by Ed Rose, the sound retains the band’s early nineties garage aesthetic while adding the liberties of technological editing. When the Get Up Kids graced the ’90s, critics initially referred to them as an “emo band” however, the kids have fought with such branding since their inception. While they were influential to the Midwest emo movement of the early ’90s, they play with genre more than they identify with it.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Fauxbois “Carry On”

Fauxbois began as a bedroom folk project when chief songwriter Brian Mayer (originally from Boise, Idaho) started writing songs in his Brooklyn apartment in 2000. After playing solo and with various lineups for a while, he began recording in 2007 with Portland musicians Point Juncture WA. He recruited Caleb and Tori McKim, Scott and Kate Seward, Shaun King and Trevor Kamplaign and the band morphed into Fauxbois in 2009. They released Carry On on Spark and Shine Records last fall.

When I first heard the title track off Fauxbois’s Carry On, I was struck by the resemblance to Built to Spill, in terms of vocals and guitar style – particularly the band’s earlier recordings like There’s Nothing Wrong With Love from 1994. Carry On also sounds like a pared down, minimalist version of Built to Spill’s Keep It Like a Secret from 1997. This similarity is not entirely surprising, considering the band toured with Built to Spill last summer and appeared on the Rotating Tongues 2 compilation alongside Boise locals such as Doug Martsch (Built to Spill) and Finn Riggins. The tracks where the Built to Spill comparison is most valid are the ballads “Remember February” and “Shadowboxing.”

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Artists and Bands

With Bloc Party on hiatus, Gordon Moakes is now focusing his energy on Young Legionnaire. Here he talks new music, being a drink and playing with Broken Social Scene

Young Legionnaire was started by Gordon Moakes (formerly of Bloc Party) and Paul Mullen (formerly of The Automatic/Yourcodenameis:milo) who met when they worked on a track called “Wait a Minute” for Milo’s collaboration album, Print Is Dead. Two years later, Young Legionnaire formed, having picked up drummer Dean Pearson along the way.

The band released a single on Holy Roar Records in August, which featured two songs, “Colossus” and “Iron Dream,” and their first full-length album is expected to come out in February or March of 2011 on Witchita.

The songs off the single are truly epic alt rock masterpieces. There is a calculated kind of rawness present. Young Legionnaire’s music may be seen as new post-hardcore, on account of the softer, sweeter moments juxtaposed with the heavier ’90s-esque sounds. After Gordon Moakes mentioned the Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement, two of my favourite bands of the past, it made sense that Young Legionnaire is responsible for the best new music I’ve heard in ages.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Dig “Electric Toys”

The boys from The Dig could not have picked a better cover for their debut album; the perfect image of a delicious chocolate cupcake. When I asked Emile Mosseri, who plays the bass and does the vocals, what two words would best describe his band, he responded with: “Catfish Blast.” Although he did not go into why those two words, I would like to believe that The Dig are certainly catfish, in the sense that they will also grow in their “commercial importance,” and the word “blast” can definitely describe their debut album, Electric Toys.

Since the release of the album in June, the band have been getting pretty good reviews thanks to their sounds, ethos and passion for music, which quickly drew comparisons to another big name in New York; The Strokes.  When I asked Emile what he thought of the association he happily replied: “The Strokes are a great band; in fact we used to rehearse next door to them for a year.” That perhaps explains how the familiar sound might not be just a coincidence. In addition to being produced by Bryce Goggin (also the producer of Pavement’s 1994 indie classic, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain), The Dig have incorporated their eclectic influences into the style and melody of their music. Influences ranging from the sounds of old rock and old, to Neil Young, The White Charger and, of course, The Beatles.

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Features

Love Above Par: Parlovr kick off Les Vendredis Nocturnes at Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Old East Coast nannies in Ralph Lauren sipping tea. Juxtapose that with loud hipsters, short shorts, Fender Strats and pedals. Now, imagine that as the graphic layout of a Parlovr set.

Self-pronounced “sloppy pop” indie punks Parlovr hosted the opening night of Les Vendredis Nocturnes this past Friday, September 3. Beginning in September, Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MACM) features musical productions alongside video footage and contemporary displays, with variations in performance, on the first Friday of each month. From September through December, Koudiam, Le Husky, and Courtney Wing will be playing similar shows as part of the series, so if you missed out on Parlovr, no need to throw up your arms in nostalgia.

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Features

The good, the bad, and the unfortunate: A look at Osheaga 2010

July 31 and August 1 saw the fifth annual Osheaga music festival in Montreal. Usually a pretty modest affair, most of what Osheaga does, it does right. Beer, for instance. Osheaga does beer really well: the lines are short and the price isn’t too steep. And they’ve done away with beer tents, allowing Canadians the freedom to roam with their brew – just as God intended. There isn’t an overwhelming sense of corporate sponsorship, and the free metro ride home is very much appreciated. Oh, and the music is pretty good too.

In past years, Osheaga hadn’t attracted as many big performers as Coachella, Lollapalooza, or Bonnaroo, but this year it joined the ranks of the heavy hitters. Weezer and Snoop Dogg were some of the high profile names, but the band that made Osheaga truly transcendent was Montreal’s own Arcade Fire.