Interview With Kaiser Chiefs Performing “Falling Awake”

Listen to this track by Leeds-born new new wave quintet Kaiser Chiefs. It’s “Falling Awake” the newest single as taken from their upcoming and currently untitled sixth record

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Kaiser Chiefs (image: Danny North)

After four albums in their original incarnation, and with their 2005 debut in Employment that made a splash big enough to provoke Brit Awards and Mercury Prize nominations, Kaiser Chiefs underwent something of a personnel change. After twelve years in the drum seat, co-founding member Nick Hodgson departed in 2012. The band were able to bounce back with a new drummer in Vijay Mistry, and with a new record last year, Education, Education, Education & War. That year, they also played for crowds at the London Olympics, playing “Pinball Wizard” subbing in for none other than The Who.

This year, the band are on the road again, with this single to serve as something of a preview for the awaited sixth full-length record. I got a chance to chat with Nick “Peanut” Baines, resident keyboardist and guitarist for the Kaiser Chiefs about the new single, their current tour, and about how the band is evolving from their mid-2000s original incarnation. Read more

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Interview With Ben Wilkins Singing “Day To Day” feat. Bonnie Pointer

Ben Wilkins All From HelloListen to this track by singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and arranger and producer with an ear for detail Ben Wilkins. It’s “Day To Day”, a track as featured off of his newest record All From Hello, his follow up to 2011’s self-titled début.

Like that début, this song and the rest of the record is lushly arranged with a slight nod to eras gone by. With this song, we get a special treat; none other than Bonnie Pointer formerly of The Pointer Sisters and a solo artist in her own right singing with Ben on a decidedly R&B-influenced song that shimmers with positivity. Mixed into that are hints of the shades of grey which can characterize the course of a life, with certainty and doubt constantly in flux; the pleasure and the pain from the heavens, yet falling down the drain, too. Ben recorded the new songs in his one-time base city of Montreal, embracing new textures, and yet with no less of an emphasis on intricate arrangements that hold a balance of their own; for all of their intricacy, they still allow the songs to breathe, and to get stuck in the heads of listeners. That’s always been one of Wilkins’ strengths. Yet this new record isn’t a case of more of the same.

I got a chance to talk to Ben via email about the new record, the business of writing a follow-up, and about a shift in sonic vocabulary that involved analogue synthesizers and an archaeological expedition to the record store on the hunt for mythical 12-inch R&B singles.

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Interview With Gay Nineties Who Play “Letterman”

Listen to this track by four-cornered West Coast indie-rock pop artisans Gay Nineties. It’s “Letterman”, their single that served as a taster for their first “album-EP” Liberal Guilt, released online January 27, and in shops on February 3.

The band was born in 2010 when guitarist Parker Bossley, formerly of Hot Hot Heat, formed a musical bond with bassist Daniel Knowlington and drummer Malcolm Holt. They’ve since added a fourth member in keyboardist Bruce Ledingham IV, thereby expanding their sonic palette from the indie power-trio they were into a supple unit with an easy hand with texture and nuance. With that shift of course, they’re still able to joyfully pummel audiences with their enthusiastic brand of angular pop-rock in an alternative vein, and clearly made for radio.

The Gay Nineties Liberal Guilt

I got a chance to chat with Parker Bossley who answers for Gay Nineties via email about this song, about the new record, and about the role which that aforementioned pillar of success, rock radio, has in their lives.

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The Delete Bin: 10 Highlights After 1000 Posts

I can’t believe it. But, you are reading the 1000th post of this blog.

The Delete Bin started in its first incarnation in 2003, and petered out. Then I revived it and relaunched it on December 18 2007. It’s been going strong since with at least two posts a week. For those of you who have been around for that long, thanks for still following along. This blog wasn’t always in the format that it’s in now. It actually wasn’t always a music blog, exclusively. But, as things sometimes unfold as they need to, this blog became what it is pretty naturally anyway. And there have been some highlights.

1000 posts

Not all of them have equalled to worldwide recognition. Actually, no one post has done that just yet. But, there have been little events that stand out in my mind that have helped inspire me to continue to pilot it, beyond my need to write about the music I love for just the sheer joy of it, of course. As is my custom here, I’ve chosen 10 such highlights that stand out for me as being milestones in the life of this blog, The Delete Bin. Here they are!

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Interview With Craig Northey of Odds: Someone Who’s Cool

Listen to this track by Vancouverite power-pop poobahs Odds. It’s their arguably best-known hit song among other well-known radio favourites, “Someone Who’s Cool” as it appears on their 1996 album Nest.

That record marked the end of an era for the band, the last of their releases that included guitarist-singer and songwriter Steven Drake. After this, the band went on hiatus for a period, with solo careers, collaborations, and other projects with each other, and with members of other bands .

But always being hard-working and fiercely local in their emphasis, they came together again at the end of the 2000s, sans Drake, but with a seemingly undiminished capacity for  writing and performing hook-laden songs that sound joyous yet are laced with bitter acrimony and black humour.

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Odds today (image: Cole Northey)

Singer and guitarist Craig Northey takes lead vocals on the lion’s share of the band’s material these days, although this one was always a highlight for his voice, and a great example of his ability to make self-deprecating humour and subtly tragic overtones into something to which everyone can sing along with gusto. It helps that he is part of a band that is still as passionate about live playing as they ever were, giving audiences that very opportunity.

Their love of playing for crowds stretches back to the time when they played hard nearly every night on the local scene to hone their craft and fund their ambitions to continue to record their own original material, which they’d written even before they served as house band under a different name at Vancouver’s The Roxy. And it’s good that they did, considering that many of their songs, including this one, has become such a vital part of the Canadian pop music continuum.

I had the tremendous pleasure to speak to Craig Northey through the magic of email about this song, about their roots as a west coast band, and about karaoke, too. Here’s what he said.

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Hushdrops Play “Tomorrow”

Hushdrops Tomorrow LP coverListen to this track by Chicagoan power-psych trio and returning pop contenders Hushdrops. It’s “Tomorrow”,  the lead track from their most recent double-album, and long awaited follow-up to 2003’s Volume 1Tomorrow.

This new record is a double, and expands on the band’s well-observed synthesis of ’60s psych, orchestral pop, British Invasion-inspired power pop, and jagged MBV drone-distortion melodicism across a generous 21 tracks. Tomorrow was a long time coming (as it were!), with each member of the band involved in various side projects over the years, touching on other acts including Veruca Salt, Plush, and The Waco Brothers. As mentioned, a wide spectrum of rock music tradition is touched upon here.

This opening and eponymous track reflects an interest in riff-driven rock music from multi-instrumentalist and singer  John San Juan, singer and drummer Joe Camarillo, and bassist Jim Shapiro, and delivering what a listener might expect to hear when catching the band live on the floor. But, since that spectrum is pretty wide, it’s really only a part of the whole story.

I had the chance to talk with John San Juan and Joe Camarillo from Hushdrops via email about their return to the studio, about the creation of a follow-up record with a pretty wide span of time having passed, and about re-engaging and re-inventing what Hushdrops means in 2014. Here’s what they said.

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Raleigh Play “It Will Rise”

Raleigh Sun Grenades and Grenadine SkiesWatch this clip featuring a track by Calgarian chamber-folk-art-rock practicioners, and one of my favourite Canadian bands Raleigh. It’s “It Will Rise”, the closing track to their 2013 record, Sun Grenades & Grenadine Skies, their second.

The band is comprised of Clea Anaïs on vocals, cello and keyboards, Brock Gieger on guitar and vocals, and Matt Doherty on drums. The music is nearly impossible to pin down in terms of a single genre, incorporating folk, chamber pop, ambient, and jazz. But, their sound is anchored by the intertwined voices of the two vocalists Anaïs and Gieger, and the polyrhythmic approach that Doherty takes behind the kit.

When they released their debut record New Times In Black And White in 2011, I got to talk to Brock and Clea. This was around the time they took to the road to tour Canada. Now, with the release of this album, they’re about to take another tour to Europe. And I got to speak to Brock Geiger again recently via email, about the new record, about the making of this track and video, and about taking to the road across the ocean, too. Here’s what he said.

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Ben Wilkins Plays “Through To You”

Here’s a clip of Burt-Bacharach-Brian-Wilson-Carole-King-Todd-Rundgren classic pop inheritor, and singer-songwriter from Montreal Ben Wilkins. It’s the video for his new single “Through To You” a tune featured on last year’s Back Of My Head EP , and now a shining gem on a full-length debut record of gems, 2011’s Ben Wilkins.

Formally trained in music at Montreal’s McGill University, and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Wilkins built up his skills in playing music for the sheer fun of it by developing a solid base of composition, singing, harmonic theory, and some arranger’s chops into the mix. A love of AM radio singles of decades past endured all the while.

As a result, his approach to arranging and recording involves a seriously sumptuous and lushly-realized sound that pulls from orchestral pop traditions which gelled and became immortal at the end of the ’60s. But, here we’re reminded that just because a sound is closely associated with an era, it doesn’t mean it’s stuck there. As such, what we’ve got here is the kind of thoroughly enjoyable contemporary pop record that we’re always complaining never gets made anymore. The decade in which it was made doesn’t really matter.

This is classic pop.

After receiving a preview copy of the record, I spoke with Ben via email about the making of this song,  the video ,the album, about the spirit of classic pop, and the elusive idea that music may or may not be the universal language. Read more

The Balconies Play “Kill Count”

Listen to this track by transplanted Ottawa trio now based in Toronto, the Balconies. It’s their new single “Kill Count” with B-side “Tiger”, both currently featured on an EP of the same name Kill Count, and serving as an outlier to their upcoming 2012 full-length album. You can buy the EP when you see the Balconies live.

The band have traded in a style of pop-rock music that incorporates power-pop, post-punk, and with a dash of surf-rock in there for good measure just to make it all danceable. Lead vocalist and guitarist Jacquie Neville’s voice is a soaring instrument, backed up by the fluid bass playing of her brother Stephen Neville, and anchored by drummer Liam Jaeger.

The band started in the basement as two classically trained music students and a brother. Their subterranean rock ‘n’ roll racket led to success with the impossibly catchy single “Serious Bedtime”, a self-recorded release, and shared stage appearances with Sloan, Mother Mother, Cold War Kids, and others. They’ve since been named as a band to watch by the National Post and MSN Canada.

I was offered a download of the Balconies’ recent EP. Through the wonders of email, I chatted with drummer Liam Jaeger on the subject of its lead track, vinyl releases in the 21st century, working up their forthcoming album, and about the so-called inevitable trek from Ottawa to Toronto.

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Interview With Xoch, Performing “The End of the World”

Listen to this track by Las Vegas-based songwriting  and all-around performer Xoch (pronounced “Zoach” and meaning goddess of flower and song, derived from Mayan and Aztec culture). It’s “The End of the World” as taken from her most recent record Hollywood.

In many ways, hearing Xoch’s music undercuts a lot of assumptions after you’ve seen her step out on stage, or seen her in pictures. She’s done some modelling. She’s also an actor, having appeared in films, TV shows, and commercials. These other interests might make one think that music is just another pursuit for her. But, she’s not just a pretty face.

“The End of the World” hits the power-pop and folk-pop songwriting sweet spot that goes beyond her years. Clearly, Xoch has been paying attention, and honing her craft accordingly.

I talked to Xoch via email about stage names, Sin City, varied pursuits and multi-disciplined artistic expression, and about avoiding stagnation by challenging one’s own routines.

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