NASH Premieres Arty “Sad Robot Harmonies”


It has been a long time in the making, but the moment that you have been waiting for is here. NASH’s video for “Sad Robot Harmonies,” dropped today on Baeble Music in all of its glory.

Directed by Christopher Mills (Modest Mouse, Broken Social Scene, Interpol, Blue Rodeo), with Illustrations by Gaelle Legrand, and Executive Producer Geoff McLean, the trio create a visual masterpiece to the upbeat and catchy track.

An animated NASH will take you on a comic book ride that gets more interesting with every view. This is one video you will have to watch more than once, because you aren’t going to want to miss a thing.

“The song is a large thank you to some really good people in my life which points out the contrasts between good-intentioned people and people with agendas, and my ability to deal with or be able to cope with the latter,” says NASH. “I figured I’d be ironic about it and tell it from the perspective of a robot with artificial intelligence who’s so frustrated with humans and the terrible things that they do that he decides he can’t take it anymore and resorts to building himself a tree house so that he can be removed from his human counterparts. The song ends with the moral of: ‘No matter how shitty things get, there’s always good, and love prevails despite the sadness of things around you.'”
Though the suburban Montreal native is only just in his thirties, he’s already gone through more experiences, turmoil and hardships than a person twice his age.

NASH embraced music in his teens and it has continued to be the driving force in his life through his ups and downs and stints as a music journalist, record company employee, concert promoter, drug dealer and addict, aquatics instructor, semi-professional athlete, artist manager, studio owner, construction worker, university student, non-profit organization founder, frequent hospital patient, repeated robbery victim, singer, songwriter, composer, musician and producer. Much of his professional music career has been split between Montreal and roach-infested abodes in Los Angeles, with significant periods also spent in New York City, Toronto, Vancouver, and touring across North America.

NASH’s musical influences range from the alterno-indie-cynism of Beck to Phoenix, the quirkiness of Cake to Spoon, the rhythms of reggae and the haunting vocal touches of Failure and Depeche Mode. He takes elements from these artists and infuses them with unique arrangements, unusual instrumentation, danceable beats and memorable hooks to create a sound that’s truly his own.

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We Are Scientists Among Bands Contributing To Ben Sherman’s V.I.P. Charity for Trekstock

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Mod British clothing company, Ben Sherman is about to open up a second round of auctions for their V.I.P. (Very Important Plectrum) charity.  As it was the first time around 100% of the proceeds will be kindly contributed to a worthy cause.  The focus for this auction is Trekstock, a UK-based foundation that specializes in this kind of thing.  Trekstock works with Cancer Research UK, collecting donations and raising awareness for youth with cancer through shows, music and fashion collaboration, and the like.

Participating artists in the auction will offer up their signed plectrums, otherwise known as picks — but think more than just guitars! harpsichords, mandolins, and ukuleles need to be plucked too.  To name a few bands involved: We Are Scientists, Anna Calvi, Band Of Horses, Interpol, and Broken Social Scene.  Check the poster above to see all participating artists, and go to Ben Sherman’s VIP site or Trekstock’s site to learn more.

Learn Why Everyone Loves Sloan

Sloan’s 10th album in 20 years The Double Cross came out on May 10th via Yep Roc Records but you still need some convincing before you get it? Well, everyday for 10 days, Sloan is releasing videos where their friends and admirers talk about all they love about Sloan: their favorite Sloan song, album, lyric and anything else they associate with the band.

Appearing in these videos are famous Canadians from all backgrounds, from Damian Abraham of Fucked Up to Stephan Brogen of Degrassi (no kidding). The first video, which you can view at the end of this post, shows Jason Schwartzman, Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, Dave Foley, the actor from The Kids in the Hall and Newsradio, and Sebastian Grainger of Death from Above 1979 remembering the first time they heard the band’s music.

Watch “When I first heard Sloan” below, and check back that same page to see the rest of the videos!

The Wooden Birds Announce New Album and SXSW Shows

The Wooden Birds will be releasing their new album, Two Matchsticks, on June 7th via Barsuk Records! Frontman Andrew Kenny, who you may know as a former touring member of Broken Social Scene and a founding member of American Analog Set, wrote all the songs, performed all the instruments and recorded everything in a converted bedroom at home. The album features guest appearances by Ben Gibbard and members of Ola Podrida.

The Wooden Birds will be performing these new tracks during shows at Austin’s South By South West festival. If you’re lucky to be there, check the dates below to catch on their sets!

THE WOODEN BIRDS AT SXSW

Sunday 3/13 @ Club DeVille, Found Footage Festival, 8:30 (free show)

Thursday 3/17 @ Homeslice, 2:15 (free show)

Thursday 3/17 @ Red Eyed Fly, Barsuk Showcase, 10pm

Saturday 3/19 @ The Hilton, KUT performance, 11:30am (free show)

 

Modern Mystery’s Top 30 Albums of the Year

The time is finally here where we announce our favorite albums of the year. Yes, it took a whole lot of thinking and a whole lot of relistening, but in the end we figured it out.  Trust us, it was no easy task this year. Take a peek at what kept our interest in 2010.

1. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “Let It Sway”

This will forever be known as the album where SSLYBY fully matured. Working with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla,  the band produced a stunning record full of pop hooks and catchy lyrics. The result, Let It Sway (Polyvinyl), one of the greatest pieces of work our ears have heard by any indie band in a long time. We loved it so much we made a tribute  video celebrating the record which you can watch below. Congrats SSLYBY!

2. Vampire Weekend – “Contra”

A nearly flawless album, the VW boys started off 2010 with a burst of energy that continued througout the year. Neck in neck with the Yeltsins, Contra (XL) also shared the tale of a too-good-to-be-true indie band growing up in the public eye.

3. The Morning Benders – “Big Echo”

Another record that was running with the big boys on this list, The Morning Benders released Big Echo (Kanine) early in the year and exploded like no one could ever have imagined. It’s ab out time. They deserve it.  This is one of the catchiest albums we heard this year and it never gets old.

4. Of Montreal – “False Priest”

Of Montreal are always evolving. That is what we love most about the band. False Priest (Polyvinyl) takes them to a whole new level, dabbling in R&B and dueting with Solange Knowles. We may have been skeptical at first but it quickly won over our hearts and the dance floor.

5.  Surfer Blood – “Astrocoast” 

Everyone’s favorite “IT” band of the year produced a promising debut album called Astrocoast (Kanine). We followed the boys around CMJ 2009 and knew they were about to blew up huge. We were right, and now Surfer Blood has taken over the world.

 6. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Before Today”

A chilling record filled with reverb and haunting vocals proved to be just the thing for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Before Today (4AD) stunned the indie music world and makes us wonder what the next Ariel Pink chapter has to hold.

7.  Jukebox the Ghost – “Everything Under the Sun”

A thriving piano backed by a guitar and drums made an unexpected assault in the indie world this year. Everything Under the Sun (Yep Roc) dropped jaws quickly this year and had Jukebox the Ghost playing with big name bands and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman.

8.   The Love Language – “Libraries”

Much different from their first record, The Love Language stunned us with a near perfect record, Libraries (Merge) this year. There was a lot of buzz about this album and as the tracks leaked, we could feel the greatness building up. We were right.

9. We Are Scientists – “Barbara”

Without a record label in the U.S., We Are Scientists broke through this year with Barbara. They haven’t changed too much since the last time we heard from them, which is a good thing. They still have their driving 80’s vibe, W.A.S. charm and brilliant tunes.

10. Magic Kids – “Memphis”

This was an unexpected treat this year that had us putting Magic Kids on repeat. Memphis (Goner/True Panther) often has a lo-fi and retro vibe, and that is what really makes it special.

 

The rest of the list….

11. Miniature Tigers – “Fortress”

12. Matt Pond PA – “The Dark Leaves”

13. Wavves – “King of the Beach”

14. Sufjan Stevens -“Age of the Adz”

15. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

16. Free Energy – “Stuck on Nothing”

17. Javelin – “No Mas”

18. Best Coast – “Crazy for You”

19. The Drums – “The Drums”

20.  Tokyo Police Club – “Champ”

21. The New Pornographers – “Together”

22. Spoon – “Transference”

23. Hot Hot Heat – “Future Breeds”

24. Kids of 88 – “Sugar Pills”

25. MGMT – “Congratulations”

26. Harlem – “Hippies”

27. Broken Social Scene – “Forgiveness Rock Record”

28. Born Ruffians – “Say It”

29. Caribou – “Swim”

30. Interpol – “Interpol”

Album Review: The Luyas – Too Beautiful To Work

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The musicians in Montreal clearly have a deep-seeded need and desire to collaborate. Bands such as Arcade Fire, The Dears, and Broken Social Scene adopt a more-is-better policy when it comes to assembling their personnel. Because of the large infrastructure in many of these groups, musicians travel between the ensembles, like musical chess pieces, as their scheduling and tastes dictate. Another group to add to this list: The Luyas. The band formed in late 2006, releasing their debut album, Faker Death, in 2007. Although the number of members changed at various points in the group’s history, they have essentially consisted of: Jesse Stein [also of Miracle Fortress], Pietro Amato and Stefan Schneider [both of Bell Orchestre, Amato also having worked as a french horn player for Arcade Fire], and Mathieu Charbonneau. Add in Sarah Neufeld [violinist for Arcade Fire] and Owen Pallett [Final Fantasy and string arranger for Arcade Fire] to the current recording roster, and you have one amazing Canadian super-group on your hands.

On their Dead Oceans debut, Too Beautiful To Work, the band excels at crafting dreamy pop textures—using layers of organ, keyboards, horns, and mallet percussion on top of the standard foundation of guitars and drums. Jesse Stein contributes significantly to The Luyas singular sound by playing the Moodswinger—an experimental 12-string zither—as well as supplying her breathy vocals, calling to mind both Nina Persson and CocoRosie’s Casady sisters.

The opening title track plunges the listener right into The Luyas’ world: a short organ riff becomes the foundation for the song’s spiky rhythms, light drums, and Stein’s voice, which churn bubbly lyrics at you so quickly, it actually takes a couple listens to even decipher what the text is. [The track is so infectious and joyous that really, multiple listens would be mandatory anyway.] Stein is incredibly adept with her voice, working hand in hand with the drum set so well that she sounds like she is replicating yet another percussion instrument to add to the mix. “Worth Mentioning” places her even more in the forefront of the group, gently cooing “Trust me now, and keep in mind there are no ungraced thoughts” over throbbing guitars and organ. Stein might as well be singing right into the listener’s ear; the effect created is so intimate and hushed.

The Luyas move into a different direction on lead single “Tiny Head,” washing their entire sound in reverb. The guitars echo, the percussion trembles, and Stein’s Moodswinger finally comes into play. It’s an altogether different sound than you’ll ever hear, and as the vocals and zither dovetail in and out of each other’s phrases, you come to realize that this bizarre instrument is used as an extension of Stein’s voice and not another piece of accompaniment—the Moodswinger even taking center stage as the track gently fades into silence.

The second half of the album alternates between these two contrasting styles: “Canary,” “Spherical Mattress,” and “Seeing Things” submerging the band in their wash of reverb, while “Cold Canada,” “What Mercy Is,” and “I Need Mirrors” display their sense of intricate rhythm and catchy hooks. “I Need Mirrors” finds the band at their most playful and inventive, creating a modified-Bossa Nova rhythm as the foundation of the song, a tropical idea of a dance to enjoy even while your city is covered in snow and ice.

Even though the album began with the greatest sense of energy, by the end of Too Beautiful To Work, the group is seen at its warmest and most intimate on the closing track, “Seeing Things.” After a brief chorale employing a set of muted French horns, an oscillating figure in the guitar begins, and Stein and guest vocalist Pallett form an incredibly moving series of harmonies—never rushing any piece of the melody as the drums and horn try to interrupt their thoughts. Stein keeps the mood tranquil throughout, never allowing the group to attain the energy produced earlier in the album. Compared to the anthemic nature of their Canadian brethren, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, The Luyas overwhelmingly come across as atmospheric, intimate, and endearingly quirky—welcome qualities to display in a music scene already filled with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.