Entries tagged with: Miracle Fortress
by Bill Pearis
Thursday, we're in the thick of it now and maybe some of us are already frazzled. Which might explain why this picks post is shorter than yesterday's. Also, we're starting to see a lot of the same bands, so see this as a reminder as to what's happening where. This isn't comprehensive, just what I personally recommend. I've tried to include set times at the bottom of this post for all parties mentioned.
Hopefully you're going to stop by the BV Day Party at Kniting Factory which has Yellow Ostrich, Still Corners, Hundred Visions, Forest Fire, BOBBY, Main Attrakionz and the just added We Were Promised Jetpacks. Yellow Ostrich kicks things off at 12:30, hope you can make it down. There's free PBR & HobNob Wine too for those over 21.
You can make a day of it in Williamsburg, and we wouldn't grudge you for venue hopping. Public Assembly's got the Pop Montreal party today, with Miracle Fortress, Pat Jordache, Teen Daze, Tops, Tonstartssbandht, and Touchy Mob... plus food courtesy Mile End. Maybe some Montreal-style bagels?
Over at Bruar Falls it's the Camper's Rule Records party, with Radical Dads (if you're from out of town, one of my favorite new local bands), plus Fort Lean, Backords, Beat People, Easter Vomit, Yanqui, and Moonmen On the Moon, Man. Plus, you're running out of chances to hang out at Bruar Falls... it closes at the end of the month.
And at The Woods, there's a cool afternoon/early-evening party being thrown by the folks at all-girl-drummer zine Tom Tom, with a great line-up of bands that, yes, all feature ladies behind the kit. There's Baybee Teeth, Coasting, TEEN, The Suzan, Pearl & the Beard, Brute Heart and Satellite Sky. $5 cover for this one. Let's hope the sound has improved from last year's CMJ-week shows, which was a joke.
Of course it's hard to deny the allure of the Lower East Side, what with five or so clubs all within a block or two of each other, making for very easy show-hopping. The two best are on the same Ludlow Block. At Cake Shop, NYC Taper has indie rawkers Mr. Dream, the widescreen pop of Savoir Adore, the dreamy/dusty sounds of Widowspeak, superior psych group White Fence, the dark anthemecism of Hoop Dreams, plus Prussia and Teletextile.
And at Pianos,I Guess I'm Floating and Tell All Your Friends PR have two floors of fun, with a few Canadians (Grimes, Parlovr, Doldrums), one Australian (Little Red), dance music (Beat Connection, Body Language) and lots more. Full schedule is below.
Okay, those are my daytime choices of choice. Flyers and set times, some for shows not mentioned above, are below.
by Bill Pearis
Happy Summer everybody. Before we get into this week's recommended shows, I hope you've been spending the week, like I have, listening obsessively to Domino Radio which has put together an incredible all-star lineup of presenters for this seven-day experiment. All the shows are archived, so go back and listen to Felt/Denim mastermind Lawrence, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie (who appears on the new CSS record), Mute Records founder (and former Silicon Teen) Daniel Miller, Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos spin tunes, among other notables. Upcoming DJ slots include Radiohead's Colin Greenwood on Friday, Robert Wyatt and Alfie are on Saturday, and The Pastels on Sunday. Here's hoping they bring it back at a later date.
Ok, let's get into what this weekend and beyond has in store. Austin powerhouse trio Ume's current tour hits the city this weekend for two shows: tonight (6/9) at Pianos and Saturday (6/11) at The Rock Shop. As previously reported, the band just signed to Modern Outsider records who will release their debut album, Phantoms, in August. Pretty much everybody here at BV are Ume fans. They write great songs and, yes, they are a bundle of energy on stage with some serious guitar heroics provided by singer Lauren Langer Larsen. After NYC the three of them head north to the NXNE festival. All Ume dates are at the bottom of this post.
Memoryhouse also roll into town this weekend. They play Glasslands on Friday (6/10) and Piano's on Saturday (6/11). Both shows are with dreamy acoustic trio High Highs who are worth getting there early to see.
As you may have heard the Toronto duo are now signed to Sub Pop and should have something out on the label by year's end. Memoryhouse is also now a full band, including a drummer, which make the likelihood of their music remaining Eno-ambient less likely. I'd probably have more of a clue if I'd caught their set at our SXSW party this year. Reports I could find from Austin were positive, though not especially descriptive. Anyone got a firsthand report? Personally I"m hoping this more traditional band format pulls them into Slowdive territory. We shall see.
Both shows have their individual draws. Glasslands also has personal faves North Highlands whose debut album is in the can, apparently, and now we just have to wait for someone to release it. They will definitely be the most energetic live band on the bill, unless all the other groups have radically changed. Well, I've never seen Wonder Bear live but judging by the chill sounds on their album Avalanche (a free download) but I have to imagine it will be a mellow affair.
Speaking of chill, you may remember the sweatbox that was Glasslands last summer, well with the new club's new makeover they also finally got A/C. Certainly the 90 degree heat of this week will be a good test for it's power.
Meanwhile the Pianos show on Saturday has Foxes in Fiction which is, on record, basically Warren Hildebrand who is now also a member of the Memoryhouse live touring unit. At SXSW he was backed by Memoryhouse so I'd expect the same here. Last year's Swung from Branches mixed soundscapes with more structured songwriting (he gets compared to Bradford Cox a lot) and his most recent FiF release, Alberto (download the whole thing for free HERE), finds him moving into even more pop territory. It's a packed Pianos bill, including Eastern Conference Champions and Suns (not Suuns).
Let's keep going, shall we? Nashville party rock trio Natural Child are here for a two-night stint at Death By Audio, playing Sunday (6/12) and Monday (6/13). The band's debut album is out now on JEFF the Brotherhood's Infinity Cat label which should give you a good idea of what you're in for. An even better indicator are the two tracks from it at the top of this post from the album. If you like Thin Lizzy, honky tonk side of the Stones and JEFF the Brotherhood, you'll probably dig Natural Child too. These shows are bound to be packed and sweaty (and smokey) so be prepared for that, as well as for having a good time.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is former Stereolab vocalist Laetitia Sadier who will be playing Le Poisson Rouge on Monday (6/13) and The Rock Shop on Wednesday (6/15). Her solo debut, The Trip, came out last year on Drag City and was a lovely album. Not that far off from what she did with her band for the last 15 or so years, but it has it's own special charms as well.
And lastly this Tuesday (6/14) is a swell double bill of danceable Canadians at Webster Hall: Junior Boys and Miracle Fortress. Junior Boys' fourth album, It's All True, is out that same day on Domino and is another fine example of their lithe, breezy style. Miracle Fortress -- aka Graham Van Pelt of Think About Life -- just released its second album, Was I the Wave, which finds him setting aside the first LP's guitars in favor of electronics with a decidedly Eno-esque slant. You can download album track "Miscalculations" at the top of this post. It's a really nice record. When I caught him at SXSW, Van Pelt performed solo surrounded by tons of equipment and a few vintage table lamps. Not bad for a one man show.
That's it for this week. A few more day-by-day picks follow.
THURSDAY JUNE 9
Did you know The Cloud Room was still together? They are and play Mercury Lounge tonight. Of course they're going to play local hit "Hey Now Now," no need to shout for it.
DOWNLOAD: Miracle Fortress - Raw Spectacle (Pantha du Prince Remix) (MP3)
Junior Boys art for It's All True
"The striking image included with this announcement is a detail of the [new Junior Boys] album's cover, a deceptively abstract image taken by [Junior Boy] Jeremy Greenspan's sister of the UK Pavilion in Shanghai, China. Greenspan made an extended visit to Shanghai to write and begin recording It's All True. Traces of the influence of the trip can not only be seen but heard in tracks like the album opener "Itchy Fingers" whose exotic middle eight features local musicians Greenspan recorded during his sojourn. With much of the album composed and conceived, Greenspan returned to his native Hamilton, Ontario and was joined by [Junior Boy] Matthew Didemus to record in earnest at the band's recently constructed studio where Greenspan had recently mixed and recorded a few tracks on Caribou's most recent album, Swim." - Domino RecordsJunior Boys will hit the road in June with Graham Van Pelt's Miracle Fortress, tagging NYC at Webster Hall on June 14th along the way. Tickets for that show go on AmEx presale at noon on 5/4, and regular sale on Friday. All tour dates are listed below.
June 14th is also the date, It's All True, Junior Boy's new LP for Domino is released. The album's first single, "Banana Ripple," will be out in 12" format even sooner, on May 31st with a remix by The Field on the b-side. Listen to "Banana Ripple", all nine minutes of it, streaming below. Domino is giving away another song in trade for an email.
Miracle Fortress also have a new LP called Was I the Wave? which is out May 17th on Secret City Records. Download the Pantha Du Prince remix of "Raw Spectacle" off that album, above. Listen to the unremixed version alongside the cover art and full tracklisting below.
by Bill Pearis
M for Montreal is an interesting festival, at times more like a conference or summer camp or one of those all-inclusive resorts -- but with better music. There are about 40 "international delegates" (of which I am one) who basically spend the whole weekend together, going to panel discussions, cocktail hours, dinners and, of course the nightly shows. It's not like SXSW or CMJ where there are 30 shows happening at the same time - we delegates see every band at M for Montreal.
Take opening night's (11.19) Selection Officielle at Juste Pour Rire. The venue is used mainly as a comedy club, but they have shows there too with a great soundsystem and, as You Say Party! We Say Die! singer Krista Leowen noted, "fancy lights" which have made it possible for me to take at least one non-embarrassing picture of each band with my crappy point-and-shoot. (Again, apologies to BV's many awesome real photographers.) Juste Pour Rire has two rooms -- the Bowery-sized Cabaret and the slightly smaller Studio, and while one band was playing in one space, the next band sets up, so there's little or no downtime between bands, apart from the time it takes to herd the audience from one place to the other.
While being industry-oriented, M for Montreal is open to the public and tickets to individual events are cheap. ($12.75 for individual nights.) And the public does come -- the place was packed and going bananas for Think About Life's headlining set. Having seen TAL a bunch of times in New York (including at the BV official CMJ showcase this year), even shows like the fairly off-the-hook one at Arlene's Grocery during CMJ last month -- it just doesn't compare to watching them with a hometown crowd. This line-up is still pretty new. Drummer and founding member Matt Shane left the band in October to go back to school, with Greg Napier taking over. More significantly, the band added a second singer, Caila Thompson-Hannant of Shapes and Sizes, to the fold, and she and Martin Cesar have great chemistry.
The band played almost all of their great new album, Family, which is slowly starting to catch on down here in America. Pitchfork may be going gaga for "Having My Baby", but the Montreal crowd knew there are even better songs on the album. "Johanna," "Young Hearts" and "Set You on Fire" all had the crowd bouncing off the walls, some of which the band trotted out a horn section for, but it was Family's "Sweet Sixteen" that sent them over the edge. Though maybe that had something to do with special guest vocalist Cadence Weapon who clearly knew all the words. Think About Life may or may not make you think about life, but they will make you forget your troubles while they're playing.
Think About Life (who have a new CD and a CMJ show... info in a sec) member Graham Van Pelt is the main force behind Miracle Fortress, a band that also includes Jessie Stein who is also in popular Montreal band The Luyas.
And though they haven't released anything since 2007's Polaris-nominated Five Roses, Miracle Fortress is going on a tour at the end of October with Australia's Liam Finn (who hits Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand on his own). Those dates include a November 4th show at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Tickets are on sale.
Liam Finn recently made an EP with Eliza Jane called Champagne In Seashells which is out now via Yep Roc Records.
Some videos and all tour dates below...
by Montreal's BrooklynVegan Mike
DOWNLOAD: The Luyas - Play Dead (MP3)
The Luyas are one of my favorite bands in Montreal. Their music, a collaboration of guitar, drums, melodica, and french horn, reminds me of that classic early 90's college rock sound, but turned on its head - an intoxicating combination of unsettling and comforting.
And what would a Montreal band be without other bands to take up their time? The members of the Luyas comprise some of the best and exciting music in this city, with Jessie Stein also pulling duty in Miracle Fortress and Adam and the Amethysts, and Stefan Schneider and Pietro Amato playing in Bell Orchestre with Pietro also pulling duty for Torngat.
We spoke with frontwoman Jessie Stein about the formation of the band, their sound, and skinny dipping.
I just realized Miracle Fortress was in town for this random show that Earl Greyhound are also playing at the venue formerly know as Galapagos tonight....
by BrooklynVegan Mike
Think About Life is back! After being on the back burner while the guys pursued other projects (notably Graham's Polaris-nominated outfit Miracle Fortress, and Martin's project Dishwasher, the band played their first show of what should be an active '08 at La Sala Rossa in Montreal on Friday night (Jan 25, 2008) to benefit Distroboto
Miracle Fortess was planning on making their NYC debut at Bowery Ballroom during CMJ, but as you might remember, there were complications that stopped that from happening. They're going to try again - this time as part of a short East Coast tour with The Most Serene Republic. Tickets are on sale for a March 21st show at Mercury Lounge that Rolling Stone and Stereogum Band to Watch Liam Finn is also playing. All dates below....
Miracle Fortress @ the 2007 Polaris Awards (CRED)
Miracle Fortress, Sunset Rubdown, Basia Bulat, Handsome Furs, The Acorn, The Besnard Lakes, Tokyo Police Club, Patrick Watson, The Weakerthans, Land of Talk and Neil Young are among the list of 33 hot Canadian bands this year. In related news, Jessie from Miracle Fortress recently left a message about their recent problem at the border....
People from CMJ are trying to still get Miracle Fortress into the United States from Canada, but it looks like it's going to take a miracle (PUN INTENDED) to get them here at this point, and they're DEFINITELY not making it for 8pm - their set time at Bowery Ballroom tonight (me = crying). Bon Iver is now going on at 7, and The Shaky Hands are playing at 8, and everything else runs exactly on time. IF Miracle Fortress do make it, we'll let them play after Voxtrot at 1am. I'm not sure that's very likely though. They were supposed to play SoundFix tomorrow too. :-(
Miracle Fortress @ La Tulipe (Pop Montreal) - Oct 3, 2007 (CRED)
Miracle Fortress were THIIIIIIS close to winning the Polaris Prize. Graham Van Pelt's stunning release of 2007 has begun to turn people's heads to The Beach Boys and Brian Eno all over again. Playing for the hometown crowd, Miracle Fortress simply owned everyone. Having seen Miracle Fortress as a solo act first, then as a band, the project has come a long way in such a short time. Every show they play, they seem to inch closer to greatness. Also, I love watching drummer Jordon Robson-Cramer stand and drum. I'm not sure if this is for any particular reason or if it's just to look cool. Regardless, Cramer is a stellar percussionist and brings the band to a new level. [Pop Montreal 2007: Premiere Nuit]Miracle Fortress are playing the BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase with The Rosebuds (video), Dean & Britta, The Most Serene Republic, The Shaky Hands, Bon Iver and special guest. Tickets are still on sale. MF are also playing at Sound Fix Records in Brooklyn the next day.
Graham's other band Think About Life played Pop Montreal too. All tour dates below....