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Ell V Gore Interview

Ell V Gore has slowly but surely been creating rifts in the Toronto music scene. With the recent release of his debut EP, Sex Static, Ell V has enveloped the darkness and has been sending gothic chills of pure no-wave and punk-inspired darkwave bliss to anyone willing to lose themselves in the seedy, ethereal black world of Gore. With blood-curdling howls, scathing guitar, and frantic, paranoid percussion, Sex Static is a very well composed EP that could be filed along with a Joy Division that maybe spent a little too much time at that one industrial rave warehouse that you have always felt uncomfortable walking by. Having played a couple of showcases at NXNE, opening up for the likes of Iceage, I recently got a chance to sit down with the lead madman himself, Ell V. Seated on a eerily yet hysterically appropriate leopard print chair, I spoke to Elliot about his past, his influences, and he even gave a nod to my Sonic Youth shirt, which is a definite thumbs-up.

Ell V: Sorry about this leopard print chair, which was here, I didn’t put it here.

MV: No don’t worry about it, it looks awesome.

So how have you been liking the festival so far?

Well it’s only the second night, so I haven’t really checked anything out too much yet. I saw Merchandise the other night; there were a few songs that were good.

Yeah, that was the secret show right?

Yeah, well they were playing the same night as us so I wanted to catch them at least once. At first I wasn’t really into them, but then I found out that they have a full drummer now so I thought I would check it out. There were a couple good tunes.

Are there any acts that you are really looking forward to?

The next act going on after this band, Cellphone, they’re like one of my favourite Toronto bands. They’re crazy and need to get out there. Wild, spastic, punk shit. Really cool.

You probably know Iceage right? I really want to check them out.

Oh yeah, we’re playing with them! On Sunday at The Garrison.  They’re the “secret band”.

Oh wow, thanks for that! That’ll be awesome.

[Laughs] Totally. Iceage is cool but I haven’t seen them live. Their records are pretty good though,

I hear their shows get pretty wild. Congratulations on the EP, I’m a really big fan.

Cool, man, glad you dig it.

Can you tell me how Ell V Gore got started?

I was in a nosier, no-wave punk band a couple of years ago called Brides. We were recording a record but then broke up during that and I still wanted to do my own thing so I started doing some solo stuff. My middle name is Vincent so I kept the Ell-V and then just added ‘Gore’ on the end because why the fuck not, like it doesn’t really make any sense, but I just did it and kept it going. I got a band together and it took a while to get started and eventually release an EP but I had done other recordings, but I just was not happy with them. Now I have learned that when you record something, to just put it out and not to be a fucking diva.

Ell V Gore is a badass name though.

Is it? [Laughs] Nobody really knows what it is though yet but like it was hard getting shows or getting my record label to pass that name through, they thought I was a Spanish rocker or something.

What would you say inspires your sound, musically or otherwise?

I have always been into that really abrasive, jarring 80’s stuff like Swans but I wanted to put my own take on the aggressive punk sound. I have also been listening to a lot of synth stuff too, so I just blended the two together. And influences… I don’t really know. I guess when I started working at the strip club and seeing a certain side of Toronto like every day, going to work and not seeing the sun for 24 hours, and getting in a weird head space. It wasn’t angry, but I don’t know, I just sort of threw it out there.

Exactly, I wouldn’t call your music angry per se, but there is just a lot of energy behind it.

Yeah, there’s a lot of energy and is sort of like hyper ‘rock’, fuck, I don’t even know.

I would consider your sound dark right?


And what would you say attracts people to the darker side of things?

I guess it’s just some sort of taboo, like it just may not be your average, everyday lifestyle but everyone has their own dark side. It’s good to get it out sometimes.

What sort of music were you into growing up?

My father was into jazz, so I grew up listening to a lot of jazz stuff and that led to me getting into more ‘out-there’ experimental jazz and avant-garde shit like certain Cole Train records and Sun Re and all that weird junk stuff. So I got into that and that led to me, well you’re wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt, and Sonic Youth was one of those influences. I had an older brother who listened to them and I was terrified at first when I listened to them because I was a little kid. They’re one of the bands that altered a lot of things. I grew up listening to a lot of no-wave and all that crap.

I find that Sonic Youth is a great entry point for more abstract music. And so Pretty Pretty, that was a monthly party at first?

Yeah, at first.

How did it evolve into a label?

This friend just came in, my friend Cam who was recording a record, Kontravoid, I don’t know if you know him?

I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. He’s a really cool guy.

Yeah, he’s a cool guy. And basically friend John was looking to put out a record and Kontravoid had finished his and then I was doing these parties and they I guess they wanted to bring me in and there was already this momentum behind it and we just decided to put the records out as Pretty Pretty Records.

I loved that video where Ell V Gore and Kontravoid played ‘Lobotomy’ together.

That was funny and a while ago actually. Yeah, that was a completely different version of the song.

I loved the cheesiness and the vibe from it. [laughs]

Oh yeah, it’s cheesy. You can’t take everything too seriously.

Did you always want to go into music?

Sure. I wasn’t really good at anything else. I got a guitar one day and started banging on it and experimented until I found something that I thought sounded good.

If it weren’t for music, where could you see yourself?

I don’t know how to answer that, man. Drug addict maybe? It keeps me busy during the day and at night.

interviews reviews

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2013 – Sunday June 16th, Day Four Preview bonnaroo

Hello and welcome to the final day of Bonnaroo 2013! You’ve survived the lion’s share, now there’s just one day left but today might just be the most exciting of all. If I had to summarize the day in one theme it would be hip hop. The first act I’ll be waking up to see is at 1:30 when Ghostface Killah’s vocal twin Action Bronson takes the stage in “The Other Tent”. Directly after him but on “What Stage” is every mother’s favorite rap game partnership Macklemore & Ryan Lewis who are sure to put on a lavish show for the fans. There’s a brief lull here where more likely than not I’ll be resting up for later shows but notably playing are Canadian rockstars The Sheepdogs. For most fans however there is one name that stands well above the rest on the afternoon’s bill. With his album good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar solidified his place as the best young rapper in the game, with one of the best hip hop albums in recent memory, perhaps top ten all time. His live shows, which usually also feature other artists on his label Top Dawg Entertainment, are known to be showcases for Kendrick’s talent and with the hype that has grown up around the young mc, expect several guest appearances during his set.

After Kendrick the tone of the afternoon shifts back more towards rock and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes will be bringing their big band collective to the “Which Stage” at 5:30, followed by The National on “What Stage” at 6:30. In the time in between or if either act isn’t holding my attention, I’m pretty pumped to have my back up plan be Tame Impala, the Australian group that is reviving the psychedelic rock of past generations. I saw them once this year in New York and the show would have a great time had it not been in a cramped club with screaming college girls everywhere. After The National, another act who has blown up this past year goes on in “The Other Tent”. A$AP Rocky blew up in the past two years with the release of an amazing mixtape , Live.Love.A$AP. and the release of his album Long.Live.A$AP and expect for his show to be a highlight of the festival. Perhaps as a portend of things to come, every rapper who was featured on Rocky’s (jaw dropping) clique cut “1 Train” with the exception of Joey Bada$$ and Yelawolf are at Bonnaroo already so we can hope that these new names in the game get together again. Unfortunately after Rocky, we’re left with only one show to close the festival, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Old enough to know how to throw a live show and with enough ubiquity to close a festival, Tom Petty is the perfect middle ground and promises to end Bonnaroo 2013 in style.

Let us know what you thought about the festival, who were the best acts, what you would like to see next year or anything related to Bonnaroo in the comments section below and have a great rest of your summer!

Bonnaroo 2013 Schedule | Sunday, June 16th

What Stage:
Lee Fields & the Expressions 12:30 – 1:30
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 2:30 – 3:30
Kendrick Lamar 4:30 – 5:30
The National 6:30 – 8:00
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 9:00 – 11:00
Which Stage:
Kacey Musgraves 12:00 – 1:00
Delta Rae 1:45 – 2:45
The Sheepdogs 3:30 – 4:45
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 5:30 – 6:45
David Byrne & St. Vincent 7:30 – 9:00

This Tent:
The Rubens 12:15 – 1:15
JEFF the Brotherhood 1:45 – 2:45
Baroness 3:15 – 4:30
Swans 5:00 – 6:30
Divine Fits 7:00 – 8:30
That Tent:
Aoife O’Donovan 12:15 – 1:00
John Fullbright 1:30 – 2:15
Black Prairie 2:45 – 3:45
Noam Pikelny & Friends 4:15 – 5:15
Sam Bush & Del McCoury 5:45 – 6:45
Ed Helms’ Bluegrass Situation Superjam with Special Guests 7:15 – 8:45

The Other Tent:
Matthew E. White 12:00 – 1:00
Tame Impala 6:00 – 7:15
Action Bronson 1:30 – 2:30
Wild Nothing 3:00 – 4:00
Holy Ghost! 4:30 – 5:30
A$AP ROCKY 7:45 – 9:00

Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre hosted by IFC:
David Cross ft. James Adomian 2:45 – 4:00
Bob Saget ft. Jared Logan & The Improvised Shakespeare Company 4:30 – 5:45
Bob Saget ft. Jared Logan & The Improvised Shakespeare Company 6:15 – 7:30

New Music On Tap Lounge brewed by Miller Lite:
Staying for the Weekend 12:00 – 12:50
LiL iFFy 1:20 – 2:10
Cat Martino 2:40 – 3:20
Alice & the Glass Lake 4:00 – 4:50
The Mowgli’s 5:20 – 6:10
Milow 6:40 – 7:30
Royal Thunder 8:00 – 8:50
Cafe Where?:
Bri Heart ft Jervy Hou 2:30 – 3:30
Little Red Lung 5:00 – 6:00
White Lung 7:45 – 8:45

Silent Disco:
DJ Keebz 4:00 – 7:00
Sonic Stage:
ItsTheReal 12:00 – 12:30
John Oates 1:00 – 1:30
Lucius 1:45 – 2:15
Mac DeMarco 2:30 – 3:00
The Revivalists 4:00 – 4:45
Aoife O’Donovan 3:15 – 3:45
Delta Rae 5:00 – 5:30
The Sheepdogs 5:45 – 6:15
Surprise Set 7:00 – 7:30

Solar Stage:
The Revivalists (Performance & Interview) 1:00 – 1:45
Very Special Guest (Interview) 2:00 – 2:45
Beans on Toast (Performance & Interview) 3:00 – 3:45
John Fullbright 4:00 – 4:45
Black Prairie (Performance & Interview)5:00 – 5:45
The Battleholex and Friends Hip Hop Variety Show Breakdancing 6:00 – 7:00

interviews reviews

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2013 – Saturday June 15th, Day Three Preview

Welcome to Day Three! Friday was a blast but don’t expect it to stop quite yet! We still have all of today and tomorrow to see before we all start the long trek home and both days hold some really exciting acts. The shows start today at 12:15 to give all of us tired, huddled, yearning masses a chance to sleep in a little bit before  it’s back into full swing. The first show I plan on seeing is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. When my family visited New Orleans a few years ago, they caught this act in their hometown and raved about them for months so I’m psyched to see whether all the hullaballoo surrounding their live show lives up to expectations. Next up for me is Gov’t Mule, a Southern rock jam band founded by Allman Brothers band members and an act that tours every summer as sure as the sun rises. They’re a staple at festivals across the country and you don’t get to that level of popularity by being less than stellar. If you’re into house and electronic music, check out Four Tet over in “The Other Tent” while I check out alternative psychedelic band Portugal. The Man, whose newest album has been on repeat in my apartment since it came out June 4th. That being said, I will be leaving that show early so that I don’t miss a single minute of hip hop legend Nas who will be rocking “What Stage” from 5:00-6:15.

After Nas’ show, the evening begins the semi-awkward period of time where Beach House, A-Trak, and The Lumineers will be playing their sets but everyone will be looking forward to the main headliner of the night on “What Stage”, Mumford & Sons. For those of you who aren’t predisposed to white guys and banjoes though, immediately after Mumford & Sons, r&b superstar R.Kelly will be crooning through his hit filled set from 11:30-1:00 after which the Rock n’ Soul Superjam with Jim James, John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be kickin’ out the jams until 2:00 when those who are still awake will be treated to their choice of Empire of the Sun, Boys Noize, or Bustle In Your Hedgerow as the final shows of the evening.

It’s important to note that there are many other stages at Bonnaroo this year as there are every year and while I have only been focusing my previews on the main music stages, there is tons to experience beyond the normal shows. Many performers are also performing DJ sets or dancing in the tents beyond the regular stages so be sure to explore. Remember to stay fueled and hydrated and get ready for the last day!

Bonnaroo 2013 Schedule | Saturday, June 15th

What Stage:
Preservation Hall Jazz Band 1:00 – 2:00
Nas 5:00 – 6:15
Björk 7:00 – 8:30
Mumford & Sons 9:30 – 11:30
Which Stage:
Gov’t Mule 2:45 – 4:15
Solange 2:25 – 3:15
Cults 12:30 – 1:30
Portugal. The Man 4:00 – 5:15
Cat Power 6:15 – 7:15
The Lumineers 8:15 – 9:30
R. Kelly 11:30 – 1:00

This Tent:
Patrick Watson 12:30 – 1:30
Lord Huron 2:00 – 3:00
Tallest Man On Earth 3:30 – 4:45
Dirty Projectors 5:15 – 6:30
Beach House 7:00 – 8:30
Rock n’ Soul Dance Party Superjam featuring Jim James with John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste (of the Meters), Preservation Hall Jazz 12:00 – 2:00
Bustle In Your Hedgerow 2:30 – 4:30
That Tent:
Two Gallants 1:45 – 3:00
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls 3:30 – 4:45
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors 5:15 – 6:30
Dwight Yoakam 7:00 – 8:30
Billy Idol 12:00 – 1:30
Empire of the Sun 2:00 – 3:00

The Other Tent:
Clockwork 12:30 – 1:30
Death Grips 2:15 – 3:15
Four Tet 4:00 – 5:00
Matt & Kim 5:45 – 6:45
A-Trak 7:15 – 8:45
“Weird Al” Yankovic 12:00 – 1:30
Boys Noize 2:30 – 4:00

Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre hosted by IFC:
Michael Che, Nikki Glaser, Jared Logan, James Adomian 12:45 – 2:00
Ed Helms’ Whisky Sour Radio Hour 2:45 – 4:00
David Cross ft. James Adomian 4:30 – 5:45
Comedy Bang! Bang! with Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts 6:30 – 7:45

New Music On Tap Lounge:
Ranch Ghost 12:00 – 12:50
James McCartney 1:20 – 2:10
Chris Stapleton 2:40 – 3:30
Daniel Romano & The Trilliums 4:00 – 4:50
Lucius 5:20 – 6:10
SIMO 8:00 – 8:50
Bean 9:20 – 10:10
William Tyler 10:40 – 11:30
Mac DeMarco 12:00 – 12:50
Cafe Where?:
Stop Light Observations 6:40 – 7:30
Peanut Butter Lovesicle 1:45 – 2:45
Tiny Victories 3:45 – 4:45
Kyng 6:00 – 7:00
The Revivalists 8:30 – 9:30

Silent Disco:
DJ Keebz 4:00 – 6:00
DJ Sam Spiegel of N.A.S.A. 6:00 – 8:00
Jared Dietch 11:00 – 2:00
MSSL CMMND 2:00 – 5:00

Sonic Stage:
Johnnyswim 12:00 – 12:30
Futurebirds 12:45 – 1:15
Rayland Baxter 1:30 – 2:00
JEFF the Brotherhood 2:15 – 2:45
Kalidescope Space Tribe 3:00 – 3:45
Ryan Montbleau Band 4:00 – 4:30
Patrick Watson 4:45 – 5:15
Lord Huron 5:30 – 6:00
Matrimony 6:15 – 6:45

Solar Stage:
MC Yogi 11:30 – 12:30
Ryan Montbleau Band 1:00 – 1:45
Naia Kete 2:00 – 2:45
The Mowgli’s 3:00 – 3:45
Preservation Hall Jazz Band 4:00 – 4:45
Special Guest (Performance & Interview) 5:00 – 5:45
Mawre African Drum & Dance 6:00 – 7:00
The Flavor Savers Beard & Mustache Contest Carnivalesque Entertainment:
Bellydance & Vaudeville 8:30 – 9:30

interviews reviews

NXNE Day 1: This Hisses at Hard Luck Bar, June 12th

The Hard Luck Bar on Dundas St. W, Toronto is everything you would expect from a venue with a long history of disseminating punk and metal out into gentile streets of Toronto. Many a hard noted band has played here. Audiences have called out for the black musical vapor to pour onto them, contracted hepatitis and gotten pregnant here; this is the place to witness to magical underbelly of today’s burgeoning post-punk scene.

This Hisses is such a band. Though I’m sure they would prefer not to be labeled, as no band actually likes that; they are so called because of the incredibly hard notes that back up the languid and beautifully dark lyrical content of their catalogue. Patrick, their guitar maverick, is quite demure in real life, but as I knew from their album ‘Anhedonia,’ that I was going to witness massive shredding.

Julia doesn’t look like your typical disenfranchised punk singer. She is operatic, and dresses with an air of femme fatale. Red dress, smokey eyes, and a come-hither-so-I-can-scream-in-your-face expression; she is the epitome of vocal talent and stage persona.

It’s possible that JP is one of the most dynamic drummers I have ever seen. He creates a huge space as he uses his kit, standing sometimes for emphasis, moving all the way around the symbols so as to hit the skins like a Taiko drummer; all accented by his artisanal facial hair.

I am blown away by the assuredness they project while on stage. Their songs feel like small pockets of dispelled knowledge; truth that one needs to learn the hard way. I’m sitting with my back against the sound booth, my feet vibrate on the wooden bench when the bass hits. Everything in the bar that is nailed down oscillates. I am in a weird space where physically I feel massaged, and emotionally I feel messaged. For forty minutes they are the last band on earth, and we are the last listeners. Ahhh, punk.

Look out for MVRemix’s upcoming interview with This Hisses.

interviews reviews

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2013 – Friday June 14th, Day Two Preview

Congratulations! If you’re reading this you survived the Day One of Bonnaroo 2013! Yesterday was only the warmup though because it is today that the festival starts rolling out some of the big names and Friday boasts what might be the most musically diverse day of the entire weekend. The entire day is packed with great acts and if you’re like me there will be lots of bouncing back and forth between the three tents and two stages in Centeroo to catch everyone you’ll want to see. To give you the time to recover from the previous day and night’s festivities the earliest shows in the morning start at noon but the first thing I’ll be awake to see will be Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue who are going to be laying down some gut busting funk over on “What Stage” from 12:30 to 1 while at the same time the indie rockers from Reptar play “The Other Tent”. If you aren’t tired of buzz bands after Thursday, Local Natives will also be playing “What Stage” from 2:30-3:30, immediately followed by folk rockers Of Monsters and Men on the nearby “Which Stage”. When you inevitably get tired of banjos though, you havevery good alternatives. From 4:00-5:00, Earl Sweatshirt of OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) will be performing in one of his first festival appearances without the rest of the Golf Wang crew. However if vulgar, off kilter hip hop isn’t your cup of tea, electronic five piece Passion Pit is going to be rocking “What Stage” from 4:30-5:30 and from 4:45-6:00 the blind Malian couple of Amadou & Miriam will be playing their unique blend of Afroblues.

After this time in the afternoon, the festival really begins though with perennial indie favorites Grizzly Bear, Foals, and southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. all playing overlapping sets followed closely by Wilco, Jim James, and the recently reunited and touring Wu Tang Clan. From 9:00-11:30 though there is no choice as all eyes will be on “What Stage” where Sir Paul McCartney will be playing his headlining sets, likely drawing from the catalogues of Wings, The Beatles and his solo work.  THe party starts back up after Macca finishes his set with The xx playing on “Which Stage” while a hip hop fan’s wet dream of a Superjam happens in “That Tent” as RZA, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Earl Sweatshirt, ScHoolboy Q, Solange and Chad Hugo share a stage along with “Special Guests”. As if that wasn’t enough, to close the night out dubstep remix king Pretty Lights puts on his trippy concert experience from 1:30-3:15 also on “Which Stage” and closing the night out with their set ending at 4:00 is indie group Animal Collective.

Friday promises to be a great day for festival goers regardless of where their personal listening tendencies lean and everyone is sure to discover a new favorite r two. Stay hydrated and get some sleep while you can because we’re going to be right back here tomorrow for Day 3!

Bonnaroo 2013 Schedule | Friday, June 14th

What Stage:
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue 12:30 – 1:30
Local Natives 2:30 – 3:30
Passion Pit 4:30 – 5:30
Wilco 6:30 – 8:00
Paul McCartney 9:00 – 11:30

Which Stage:
Trixie Whitley 12:00 – 1:00
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit 1:45 – 2:45
Of Monsters and Men 3:30 – 4:45
Grizzly Bear 5:30 – 6:45
The xx 7:30 – 9:00
Wu-Tang Clan 11:30 – 12:45
Pretty Lights 1:30 – 3:15

This Tent:
Sea Wolf 12:15 – 1:15
Calexico 1:45 – 3:00
Glen Hansard 3:30 – 4:45
Foals 5:15 – 6:30
Jim James 7:00 – 8:30
ZZ Top 11:30 – 1:30
Animal Collective 2:00 – 4:00
That Tent:
Bernhoft 12:00 – 1:00
Bombino 1:30 – 2:30
Fatoumata Diawara 3:00 – 4:15
Amadou & Mariam 4:45 – 6:00
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension 6:30 – 8:00

The Other Tent:
Reptar 12:30 – 1:30
Charli XCX 2:15 – 3:15
Earl Sweatshirt 4:00 – 5:00
Big K.R.I.T. 5:45 – 6:45
Conspirator 7:30 – 9:00
Wolfgang Gartner 11:30 – 1:00
Porter Robinson 1:30 – 3:00
Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre hosted by IFC:
Chris Gethard, Eric Andre, Nikki Glaser & Cristela Alonzo 12:45 – 2:00
Mike Birbiglia ft. Michael Che 2:30 – 3:45
Daniel Tosh ft. Jerrod Carmichael 4:30 – 5:45
Daniel Tosh ft. Jerrod Carmichael 6:30 – 7:45

New Music On Tap Lounge brewed by Miller Lite:
Alanna Royale 12:00 – 12:50
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister 1:20 – 2:10
Baxter 2:40 – 3:30
Ryan Montbleau Band 4:00 – 4:50
NOCONA 5:20 – 6:10
Cloney 6:40 – 7:30
Ex-Cops 8:00 – 8:50
Casey Crescenzo (of The Dear Hunter)9:20 – 10:10
Matrimony 10:40 – 11:30
Luxury Liners 12:00 – 12:50
Cafe Where?:
Naia Kete 1:30 – 2:30
Jillette Johnson 3:30 – 4:30
Von Grey 5:30 – 6:30
ON an ON 8:00 – 8:50

Silent Disco:
Passion Pit (DJ Set) 2:30 – 3:30
Vacationer (DJ Set) 4:00 – 6:00
Atta Unsar 6:00 – 8:00
Y Luv (DJ Set) 11:00 – 12:30
DJ Logic 12:30 – 2:30
Jared Dietch 2:30 – 5:00
Sonic Stage:
The Stepkids 12:00 – 12:30
Jonny Fritz 12:45 – 1:15
ALO 1:30 – 2:00
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue 2:15 – 2:45
Sea Wolf 3:00 – 3:30
Milo Greene 3:45 – 4:15
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers 4:45 – 5:30
Bombino 5:45 – 6:15
Maps & Atlases 6:30 – 7:00

Solar Stage:
Appalachian Flow Arts (Hula Hooping) 12:20 – 12:40
Johnnyswim 1:00 – 1:45
Wake Owl (Performance & Interview) 2:00 – 2:45
Allen Stone 3:00 – 3:45
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister 4:00 – 4:45
John Oates (Performance & Interview) 5:00 – 5:45
The Battleholex and Friends Hip Hop Variety Show Breakdancing 6:15 – 7:15
TBD 7:30 – 8:30
The Flavor Savers Beard & Mustache Contest 8:45 – 9:45

interviews reviews

NXNE presents Billy Talent, Sloan and Evan Dando

NORTH BY NORTHEAST (NXNE) has confirmed that punk rockers Billy Talent will perform a free show on Saturday, June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square. Plus NXNE Film announces another Canadian premiere, NXNE @ YYZ returns, and The 7th Annual Put The Boot In soccer match unveils the 2013 roster.

NXNE will take over Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) for four days of free concerts starting Thursday, June 13 with the legendary Social Distortion, presented by Monster Energy Drink, along with Old Man Markley, The Flatliners and Imperial State Electric. On Friday, June 14, Deezer Canada, the official streaming partner of NXNE, presents The National, in partnership with Collective Concerts, with CTZNSHP.

Saturday, June 15 at YDS – presented by Ford – will feature a performance by hometown heroes Billy Talent headlining a full day of music including Millencolin, Big Black Delta, Moon King, Blinker The Star, We Are Scientists, Steve Hill and The Burning Boyz.

Also confirmed by NXNE Music is Toronto’s Sloan, presented by Porter Airlines, who will play The Great Hall on Friday, June 14; and Evan Dando of The Lemonheads, performing Saturday, June 15 at The Rivoli.

NXNE will present top festival bands at the NXNE @ YYZ concert series – marking the sixth year that NXNE and Toronto Pearson International Airport have worked together to entertain travelers. On Thursday, June 13, Terminal 1’s Arrivals Hall will host Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, of Kids in the Hall fame. And on Friday, June 14, Toronto seven-piece Mamabolo and indie stalwarts Blinker The Star will rock the concourse at Terminal 1.

NXNE Film presents the Canadian premiere of If We Shout Loud Enough, a documentary about Double Dagger, a post-hardcore band from Baltimore, on Friday, June 14 at the Drake Underground, preceding a performance by Peals (featuring Bruce Willen from Double Dagger). This charming, funny film follows these DIY musicians, chronicling their history and final memorable performances – and features interviews with Dan Deacon, members of Wye Oak, Future Islands, Ruiner, Thank You and more.

NXNE and Right to Play will team up again this year for The 7th Annual Put The Boot In charity soccer match. Canadian musicians (the Rockers) line up against a team of media moguls (the Rollers) in the country’s longest running fundraiser for Right To Play. This year’s match – on Sunday, June 16 at Lamport Stadium – will include Rockers and Rollers like Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Mike Haliechuk (Fucked Up), Scott Jardine (DirectKickTV), Adam Killick (CBC Radio 1), Adam Van Koeverden (Olympian) and many more. For the full team rosters visit

All NXNE passes, wristbands and tickets are now available online at

19 Years, 1000 Bands, 30 Films, 65 Interactive Sessions, 200 Comedians, 35 Visual Artists, 7 Days.

NXNE acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.

interviews reviews

The Knife – Shaking the Habitual album review

Allow me to paint you a picture:

It’s 8:00am and you’re sitting on the train, bleary-eyed, hoping you don’t fall asleep and miss your stop. You think to yourself, “Hey, this is the perfect opportunity to listen to that new album by The Knife! Maybe the electronic grooves the band is so notorious for will wake me up and jump start my day!” Ten minutes later, you’re wide awake, and afraid to ever sleep again. Welcome to Shaking the Habitual; a disturbing, beautiful, impossible, political,  genius, album. I don’t have the space for all the adjectives this album deserves.

Firstly, this album is pointless if you don’t understand its context. This album isn’t about sounding nice or rocking out; this album is about exploring what music is. So if you go into Shaking the Habitual understanding this, it’s much easier to appreciate. In fact, the Swedish duo released an interview shortly after the album was released to help out those of us who didn’t know this to begin with (myself included). Through this album, The Knife experiments with new instruments, structures, and subjects, and it’s all part of their experiment with sound.

Secondly, have a lot of time to devote to the album. In its entirety, the album lasts over 90 minutes. But it’s not just 90 minutes of music. There are periods of chaotic collisions of sound that put you on edge, briefly followed by lapses of everything but ambient noise recorded in a boiler room (true story). The album brings your mind in and out of focus, undulating through your thoughts. And that’s nice, because people like myself can’t consistently focus on anything for more than an hour at best.

One of the most unique experiences I had with this album was listening to “Full of Fire.” As described above, I was on the train, half-dozing, listening to Shaking the Habitual, when this track began. I was digging it at first, and it slowly, eventually got more and more disturbing. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but by the middle of the  nine-minute overture, my mind was generating some pretty disturbing images, fed only by what I was hearing. It really rattled me, which I suspect is part of its intended effect. As soon as the nightmare ended, “Cherry on Top” begins, which brings your mind back to rest with its serene, comforting sounds that almost resemble white noise. And though this only lasts for a few minutes, it becomes clear by this point that The Knife really knows what they’re doing; they know where your brain is going.

My feelings about this album are incredibly conflicting, which I think is perhaps the most appropriate outcome for Shaking the Habitual. On one hand, I truly appreciate the message(s) The Knife is trying to put out there. I applaud them for their fight against the commercialism of music. On the other hand, the album is just so damn weird. No, this is not the album I would listen to when I’m jogging or getting ready for a night on the town. And its epic runtime and stretches of near-slience can really wear on your patience. This album definitely isn’t for everybody. In then end, though, I’m glad for the experience of Shaking the Habitual, which is so much more than a mere album.


Sasquatch 2013 Day Two: A Mayan god takes the stage… but Sigur Ros upstages it.

**Block Party

Waking up early has its advantages at a music festival (“early” being a relative term and meaning roughly 8:30 in this case). First: hot water and no line for the showers. Although not an option at all campsites, hot water especially is still a “hot” commodity when this many people are involved. Secondly: a few moments of quiet, the calm before the storm if you will. There will, undoubtedly, be a group of guys playing Lawn-Pong (much like Beer-Pong but substituting a large, grassy area for a ping-pong table, buckets for Dixie cups, and full beers for… well, not everything’s different)either starting early or continuing the previous night’s festivities, but joining it isn’t the worst way to start your morning. And thirdly: the opportunity to go back to sleep in the sunshine on a somehow more comfortable spot of lawn than the one beneath your tent.

As the festival gates open up to a new day, the first must-see of the day is the Vancouver based synth-pop, techno-rock pioneers, Bear Mountain. With choreographed digital graphics interspersed with the camera shots on the big screens, these BC boys threw one hell of a party for those lucky enough to have shaken off their hang-overs. The twin brothers, Ian and Greg Bevis, lead vocals/rhythm guitar and percussion respectively, Kyle Statham on lead guitar, and the tech genius/creative co-ordinator of the group, Kenji Rodriguez pushing out up-tempo hit after hit, they kept the one o’clock crowd dancing from open to close. Looking around the fan-base in the audience, every girl with a tall guy in tow used the shoulders offered to them; partially to get a better view, but mostly just to show off their dance moves and love of the music blasting out of the massive speakers. I got the chance to sit down with a couple of the guys later on in the day so be sure to look out for that interview posting later this week.

The Bigfoot stage seemed to be where it was at on Saturday and it was honestly hard to abandon as the day progressed, regardless of the acts you knew were happening all around you. Atlas Genius garnered a nearly packed area in the middle of the afternoon full of pretty ladies and pretty men. I’m not sure if it was the music or the sunshine, or the combination of the two, but everyone was letting their freak-flag fly by this point and I, for one, was not complaining! With good vibes and moody guitar riffs, the brothers Jeffrey, Keith on vocals and Michael on drums (familiar sounding… are brother musicians the new black and I missed it?), these Adelaide, South Austrailians on stage connected with their fans not only with witty banter and jokes in between songs but also, at one point, Keith jumping into the crowd, still strumming his guitar. Even though there was some humour to the fact that he couldn’t find a way back onstage, it only served to endear him to the fans even more. Once their single, “Trojans” hit, the crowd was in frenzy and calling out for more. Truth be told, the vocals seemed a touch generic at times but there wasn’t much to complain about and the tightness of the music the Jeffrey brothers created made for a hell of an afternoon rock event.

Then the personification of soul walked onstage. Michael Kiwanuka, unknown to me until the moment he walked on stage, I have already found his album, Home Again, bought it off iTunes (because you’ve got to pay to hear music this good in my opinion) and have listened to a number of the tracks every spare second my ears get. With a single song often split between Hendrix-inspired grooves picking you up and then Withers-esque slow jams that force your eyes closed to fully appreciate what you’re hearing, Michael takes his job very seriously, and everyone is the happier for it. His lead guitarist for the show who’s name I couldn’t catch, a Washington State native on his home turf, with full afro in tow, had a non-chalant swagger about him and, once picked out, he didn’t seem to stray more than a foot or two while wooing the crowd into submission with his numerous solos. Had Ben Harper been in attendance, he would’ve applauded and shook the hands of the man that might finally push him to retirement. This, as shown on the faces of all those wandering off aimlessly afterwards, was exactly the relaxing re-charge we all needed.

Devendra Banhart, much to the excitement of the throng of young girls in the front rows, took the stage following Michael Kiwanuka and continued the unique musical stylings that would be the category-defying trend of the day. Fabrizio Moretti, the now recognizable drummer of The Strokes helped Devendra out on the kit and really added some pinache to the already interesting grooves. Opening with a number of songs of his album What Will We Be, Devendra kept the vibe laid back to start, strolling around the stage tipping his hat to his fans and smiling coyly when they responded with affection. The interesting mix of soul, funk, latin-infused folk, and a little bit of rock kept you guessing from song to song whether it was time to sway, swing, or shout along with the band. Already making waves, having just released his seventh studio album, it’ll be exciting to keep an eye on this Texan-born, Venezuelan raised singer-songwriter.

**Bloc Party

And then Bloc Party happened. Near to the top of my own personal favourites list, the re-united Brits filled the Gorge’s main stage with a fury of sound! To open their set with the smash hit “Banquet” from their debut album, well, screaming like a little girl was a thing many grown men found themselves doing for the first time (or maybe I’m alone on that one). After getting the capacity crowd fired up, a simple, “We’re Bloc Party from London… So let’s get this party started…” was all they needed to launch into “Hunting for Witches”; the lead-off single to their sophomore effort. With a catalogue full of hits, playing one after another including, “Waiting for the 7:18”, “Pioneers”, “Positive Tension”, and “Talons”, you could visibly watch as the four bandmate’s smiles get bigger as the set progressed. Lead vocalist /rhythm guitar Kele Okereke played in gym shorts and high-tops showing that playing music is just what he was meant to do, he doesn’t need an image or a look while lead guitarist Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes on bass guitar, and Matt Tong on drums all did and looked however they pleased to follow suit. A quick note by Kele expressed what everyone was feeling, that they were witnessing something special: “The last time we played here was, no lies, the worst show we’ve ever played. We are having a brilliant time up here forgetting that experience and having the best time while doing it.” To close up an unbelievably upbeat and energetic show, Kele offered up a song he stated, “…is an old song. I don’t know if you’ll remember it.” Less than four notes into “This Modern Love”, Kele broke verse and laughingly played witty with his fans, “…oh, you do remember.” We all remembered and we all crossed off another notch on our bucket lists after seeing a Bloc Party show we’ll never forget.

Strolling through the grounds after that show, I was pulled back to Bigfoot Stage hearing the unique vocal stylings of Divine Fits co-frontman, Dan Boeckner. The Canadian/American “mega-group” is composed of Dan, formerly of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, Britt Daniel, formerly and currently of Spoon, Sam Brown, formerly of The New Bomb Turks, and Alex Fischel (formerly of something I’m sure). Dan and Britt along have played enough shows to know how to rock a crowd proper and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Playing the majority of their tracks off their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, the guys also had fun covering Tom Petty’s classic “You Got Lucky” and finally closing with Britt’s heartbreak cover of “Shivers”, the latter happening after the lights dimmed to deep reds and muted purples conveying the high school pain Nick Cave and the rest of The Boys Next Door no doubt felt when writing the song all those years ago. These boys are good, and they’ve only just begun this mega-group’s work.

**The XX

The next two shows to hit the main stage were The XX and Sigur Ros, one moody and incredible experience after the other. The XX walked out in all blacks onto an all black stage and immediately started playing a show using stripped down special FX consisting mostly of strobe lights and the occasional white laser light. Although their music is dark and brooding in the best way possible, their stoic facial expressions hit the joy they felt and conveyed to their fans. Romy Madley Croft took the mic after finishing a haunting rendition of Shelter to say, “Three years ago we played the second stage during the day. We watched Massive Attack from the lawn and dreamed of this moment. And it’s all because of you. Thank you so much.” Weaving their way seamlessly through their hits, “VCR”, “Crystallized”, and “Islands” all off their 2009 debut studio album, it was surprising that such highs (both vocally and beat related) came from such sombre-sounding beginnings but there was something undeniably sexy about their presence that pushed the music to another level as they often stood facing each other on stage, forehead to forehead, eyes to the ground, using their guitars with and against one another finding the perfect reverb at precisely the right moment. The climax came with “Infinity”; melodic and tranquil right until the clash of the synthed-up symbol hit and lights and sound combined, actually shocking the audience momentarily with the effect of lightning crashing onstage time the chorus hit.

**Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros, who are capable of an equally moody and down-tempo show, came out in matching uniforms to deliver, seemingly, just that. With the crescendo of the first song hitting however, everyone in attendance knew we were about to witness something entirely out of this world. With visuals ranging from lead crystals reacting to magnets, the cellular growth of membranes, and eerily beautiful underwater close-ups to over-exposed decimation of entire forests akin to nuclear blast waves, the visuals, as per design, were fully a third of the show. The other two thirds, you ask? Frontman and creative wonder-being, Jon “Jonsi” Birgisson. Taking pieces from all of their studio albums, Agaetis Byrjun, (), and through to their latest, Kveikur, the lack of ability to pronounce or even understand any of the lyrics is surprisingly a non-issue to newcomers and a welcome, often spiritual experience for the initiated. Some of their more “popular” songs including “Hoppipola” had the crowd dancing and swaying as digital sparks reigned across the screen behind while other songs took the audience to Pacific depths only to leave them stranded at Everest Heights much to their delight and wonder. The images of burning forests and vehicles often juxtaposed the symphonic moments of quiet reflection within the music before hitting a fever pitch harder than the most intense heavy metal imaginable. This man screams in a more beautiful register than most highly paid performers can sing. With a very simple, “Hello, thank you for having us…” Jonsi is deep into a creative space throughout. So much so that you find yourself waiting for him to look directly at you in the few brief periods he addressed the audience in the vain hope that you might, for just a moment, see the world as he sees is; see things the way someone as creative as this man sees them. This group takes dream-stuff and crafts ethereal, often hypnotizing sounds out of it. And if, on the off chance you didn’t know this was what your dreams were capable of, well, put on any one of the albums they’ve created, or, had you been lucky enough to catch last night’s performance, simply close your eyes and wait.

Stumbling away for an incredible night of unbelievable performances, I was awakened while walking by the images of insanity made real. “Oh yes,” I thought, “Empire of the Sun is performing on Bigfoot Stage.” Four men on pink, furry stilts slammed down on massive, double-deck, neon guitars, all angled out from the god-figure that was Luke Steele who stood on a raised platform covered head to toe in gold with an ornate gold headpiece reminiscent of the Mayan and Incan kings of old. And then shit got weird. By the time their insanely popular single, “Walking on a Dream” began (look it up if you’re unsure, you’ll know it well, I guarantee), my mind couldn’t cope and I decided that I either needed some mind-altering drug to keep going or to just accept that there are still two more days of music to come and prepare myself for the terrifyingly epic dreams that would come with sleep. Sleep it was.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day Two

interviews reviews

Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones Part 2 album review

Chapter two of Stone Sour’s concept album does not fail to meet expectations, which were set high by House of Gold and Bones Part 1. The ambitious heavy metal saga features both hard hitting metal and rock ballads throughout. Lyrics depicting devastation and longing of the main character, a lone traveler, and are still sung and screamed with conviction by front man Corey Taylor. The shared responsibility of Jim Root and Josh Rand’s lead guitars chug through the verses and rip through the albums’ highs. Where House of Gold and Bones Part 1 led with many fast-tempo head bangers, such as “Absolute Zero,” and variously dips into the slower tunes like “The Traveler,” Part 2 finds a different niche with a mix of fast-paced rock and the slow churning, riff based, mid-tempo ballads with minor chords.

A cinematic piano riff and Taylor’s vocals start off this Stone Sour installment on the opener “Red City.” A slow building, ominous tone is set, properly foreshadowing what is to come. Thunderous, calculated drums pounded by Roy Mayorga are especially enjoyable on “Black John” and the fast-paced “Pekinpah.” Moments of Part 2 seem to nod towards a Deftones element of deep seeded heaviness. Stone Sour seems to be unveiling more elements of their identity as the album unfolds.

A break in the action comes for a brief twenty seconds on “Stalemate,” which is proof of their attention to the complete picture of the concept album. Corey Taylor’s vocals switch between growls and earnest confessions, proclaiming on “’82” “deep down there’s a devil inside, he can make you give up everything, settle if you want to die, or you can live for a world that must be free.” Stone Sour explores psychedelic phrasing with a few introductions, most enjoyable on “Blue Smoke,” proving their ability to push their limits.

Some surprises are saved for the end, as the band toy between their slow and heavy tunes.  Lead guitar mastery is achieved on the solo of “Do Me a Favor,” which also features welcomed dramatic vocal delivery by Taylor.  Up next they take a complete 180 degree turn on “The Conflagration,” which turns out to be one of the albums strongest and slowest songs with its “instant-classic” sounding rock ballad chorus. Here we find violins and smooth guitars make the desperation sound beautiful again. On the album closer, which is also the title track of both albums, “House of Gold and Bones,” Stone Sour drives us home with heavy distortion and Root and Rand’s shredding guitars.

This album attempts to be a heavy metal version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall meets Alice in Chain’s Dirt, as stated by Corey in an interview during the recording stages of the album. A graphic novel series of the same title, with writing credits to Corey Taylor and illustrations by Richard Clark has also been released on April 17th of this year. Corey stated in the same interview, “if I pull (House of Gold and Bones) off, this could be biggest thing we’ve ever done in our career.[1] As for the albums impact on a The Wall meets Dirt standard, only time will tell. House of Gold & Bones on the whole achieves what it set out to achieve.  Solid songwriting is backed by a larger than life sound. I think we can affirm Stone Sour have done the biggest and most ambitious thing they’ve done so far in their career with the House of Gold and Bones rock saga.

[1] Further Info

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DFA Records Short Film Premieres Today || Red Bull Music Academy

Unique, Frenzied And Entertaining Look Inside The Iconic NYC Record Label That Made The Indie Kids Dance

Featuring Appearances By James Murphy, Jonathan Galkin, Juan Maclean, Members Of LCD Soundsystem And Many More

May 25: Red Bull Music Academy Presents Seven-Hour 12th Anniversary Party At Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall Featuring The Entire Label Family

Today, May 8th Red Bull Music Academy released a 12-minute short film about New York record label, DFA Records. Fans will catch a rare inside look into the history, stories and details that accompany the origination and daily operations of the “iconic and somewhat renown independent music label.” From interviews with founders James Murphy and Jonathan Galkin to candid appearances by members of LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and Holy Ghost!, to unseen archive footage, the unique story of this NYC institution will be told for the first time.

Founded in 2001 by James Murphy, Jonathan Galkin, and Tim Goldsworthy, DFA Records is home to the likes of Juan Maclean, Sh*t Robot, Planningtorock, YACHT, and many more. The label has grown steadily over the past 12 years, having released 141 12’’ singles, 34 albums, and six compilations – all while keeping its production and operations small and family-like, as Galkin describes in the film, “DFA is a family; ‘dysfunctional’ is a good word to use.”

DFA Records was instrumental in sparking a musical movement now commonly referred to as indie dance. “Throughout the 90s dance music was not something that was accepted in any way in the indie rock world,” says The Juan Maclean. By almost single-handedly changing that, DFA became an era-defining New York City institution.

Galkin comments, “this film perfectly and quickly captures the story of our label DFA, a story that is told many different ways by many different characters – and honestly no one remembers much all too clearly. The filmmakers really capture the close knit creative sprit of what we do and the perculiar ways we do it.”

Alongside the short film, on May 25th, Red Bull Music Academy will take over Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall for an epic seven-hour, multi-room celebration of the label’s 12th anniversary. The night will see performances by James Murphy and over 15 more live acts and DJs spanning the entire history of DFA, including some fist ever US performances.

“Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic: 12 Years of DFA” is a m ss ng p eces production. m ss ng p eces is a Brooklyn-based production company inspired by storytelling, technology and the limitless potential of the web. Narrated by Marc Maron and directed by Max Joseph (of MTV’s Catfish), the originality and creativity of the short film is a true testament to the vision of m ss ng p eces. CEO and Executive Producer Ari Kuschnir says, “DFA’s music was a part of the reason why I moved to New York, so it’s been a dream to tell their story for the first time. It feels like a way to give back for all those sweaty nights I’ve danced to DFA songs, and a great reminder that all successful creative families are lovingly dysfunctional. I hope a new generation will watch this film, get inspired, and get into the music.”

“Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic: 12 Years of DFA” will be released on on May 8th at 10am Eastern Time.

Fans can also listen to songs from the film and other DFA favorites on Spotify. is an essential online destination for those with a passion for sound. With an archive of hundreds of lecture videos – featuring musical luminaries ranging from Erykah Badu to MF Doom, Skream to Morton Subotnick, and everything in between – the site is a perennial one-stop-shop for inspiration on the web. The website also plays home to Red Bull Music Academy Films, written features from today’s top music scribes, and of course daily updates from the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy that is currently happening in New York City through May 31st.