Have Plants and Animals gone Hollywood? The Montreal trio’s new album, La La Land (Secret City), finds the outfit hitting its stride with songs that boldly hark to the days or AOR radio, classic rock, and hazy, lazy California sunshine-dazzled days -- though strangely enough, the group got it all down on tape in Montreal and outside Paris (the latter spot was an old mansion crammed with vintage gear). It’s recording made for rocking out -- a sight to be seen when Plants and Animals arrive at the Independent on May 25.
Q: How did La La Land come to pass?
Matthew “Woody” Woodley: A voice told us it was time.
Q: What sort of ideas were simmering during its making?
The most dance-floor ready album by Caribou yet? Yes, of course, London-based songwriter Dan Snaith said recently from Austin, Texas, where Caribou had stopped to perform during its current tour. There’s no reining in the man behind one of the most shockingly powerful live shows I’ve ever seen at Bottom of the Hill -- listeners have been enthusiastically embracing Caribou’s new Swim (Merge). One can only assume their ears are well attuned to the onetime Manitoba mastermind’s electro-esque indie -- Swim simply foregrounds the beats to beautiful effect. And if you’re ready to take the plunge, Caribou performs two nights, May 23 and 24, at the Independent.
It’s always inspiring to see a band stretch its wings - bending them toward the sky, if you will - and fly. And that’s what Bay Area indie-rock combo the Morning Benders have done with its sophomore full-length, Big Echo (Rough Trade), beckoning to listeners to reach for their headphones and follow.
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf -- or synthesizers? Two UK bands playing this week in San Francisco -- Editors (Monday, Feb. 8, at the Warfield) and Wild Beasts (Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Independent) -- find swathes of fresh intrigue in those patches and plug-ins, all while baring their breasts and revealing busily percolating emotional lives.
Ah, Iceland, with its bubbling volcanic action, pervasive fairy magic, and recent unfortunate financial meltdown. Such a small, sweet, chilly country – and yet it boasts such a seethingly creative music scene, one that encompasses both Bjork to Sigur Ros, both haunting traditional folk song and light-as-air indie-pop in the form of Emiliana Torrini.
Stopping by the Independent last night on his 10,000LB Hamburger Tour wunderkind A-Trak made it clear that the 90’s are making a come back. The Montreal native, clad in his signature ensemble of a leather jacket and shades rocked the crowd of 20-somethings with a sample-filled electro set. Remixes of cult favorites like Daft Punk and Justice were interlaced with hip-hop throwbacks that had us feeling nostalgic for our youth. Safe to say if you were looking for a hot summer dance party in the midst of the chilling San Francisco weather last night’s show is where you would have found it.
I love the way each installment of Fabric Records’ mix series, the recorded spinoffs of the London nightclub Fabric, so acutely reflects the sensibility of its makers. Its DJs, producers, and artists have roved widely in all sorts of electronic and dance music genres: house, grime, minimal techno, electro, microhouse, hip-hop, breaks and drum ‘n’ bass. Recalling the imprint’s releases -- from the 2005 turn by dancefloor legend Carl Craig and the acclaimed ‘07 offering by Ricardo Villalobos to 2008 disc by Get Physical founders M.A.N.D.Y. and a recent entry by SF producer and Dirtybird label honcho Claude VonStroke -- I really have to marvel at the overall quality of the productions: the Herbaliser’s 2006 mix continues to be a fave for its blend of classics like Eric B.