Live Review: Dirty Projectors & Purity Ring at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall, Friday, July 6

by Matt Juniper

A pair of critically acclaimed artists at very different points in their respective careers made their way to Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall last Friday night to kick off an eight-leg joint tour. Both Dirty Projectors and Purity Ring have had strong interest surrounding them in 2012, with the buzz approaching a fever pitch in early July as both bands prepare to release albums. For Montreal’s Purity Ring, it will be their highly anticipated debut album following on the heels of a string of singles beginning in 2011 that seemed to grow in quality and appeal with each release. For Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, the art pop veterans are on the verge of a breakthrough into mass appeal. Their unique brand of disjointed rhythms and aggressive vocal harmonies has been divisive in the music community but has converted a cult of followers large enough to ensure that no Dirty Projectors release goes unnoticed.

With doors opening at 9 p.m. and Purity Ring not set to take the stage until 10 p.m., a sizeable crowd showed up early to enjoy a beverage in the spacious venue while Purity Ring’s simple-but-bizarre stage setup awaited. At 10 p.m. sharp Megan James and Corin Roddick took the stage to a venue over three quarters full with energetic fans. It was a nice surprise for an opening act and likely a result of both proper promotion of the double bill by Embrace (concert promoter) and Purity Ring’s fast rising star.

A timid and unsure crowd seemed puzzled as Purity Ring sauntered through slow-building opener Cartographist. By the time the band transitioned in 2011 hit single Belispeak, progress had been made – feet tapping, heads bobbing and a growing sense of energy in the room. The duo played almost exclusively in the shadows, illuminated only by glowing lights pulsating around Roddick with each transition in tempo.

After six songs, Megan James decided the seating in the Danforth Music Hall didn’t lend well to her band’s hypnotic brand of synth pop and invited the crowd to leave their seats. Launching into Obedear with the crowd at arm’s reach, the band seemed infinitely more at home and closed their set triumphantly with Crawlersout and Ungirthed. Up close it was impossible not to notice the grin creeping across James’ face at the prospect of yet another crowd won over on their rise to prominence. See the full setlist below.

Dirty Projectors hit the stage just past 11 p.m. to the expected wild applause. With four days to go before the much-anticipated release of the band’s latest album Swing Lo Magellan, I had expectations of a balanced blend of new and old material. Instead, the band launched into new album opener Offspring Are Blank right off the bat and didn’t look back, rattling off five new tracks in a row to an enthusiastic if not mildly perplexed crowd. It was an interesting decision and one that perhaps demonstrated lead singer David Longstreth’s willingness to hedge his bets on the power of the internet: “Swing Lo Magellan” had leaked online nearly two weeks before, which was followed shortly by an official stream.

The new material is played confidently and lends itself well to the live atmosphere: the album is without a doubt the band’s most accessible effort to date. Still, it appeared not everyone had downloaded the leak or spent time streaming it. “This next one should be a little more familiar”, Longstreth says before finally playing Cannibal Resource (the opener off of 2009’s acclaimed album “Bitte Orca”) and we get a surge of energy in the room. Taking a cue from Purity Ring before them, Longstreth takes advantage of the growing buzz and invites the crowd to leave their seats and move up to the front. With the crowd on their feet, even the new material seems to leave a stronger impression. The highlight of the evening is wisely saved for the encore with crowd favourites Stillness is the Move and No Intention leading off and the bombastic new track ‘Unto Caesar’ closing out the evening. As expected, Caesar lends itself extremely well to the live show and will no doubt be closing out Dirty Projectors shows for some time to come.

Overall, the night was a tremendous success. Rarely do a pair of bands from such distinct genres blend so well together. While Dirty Projectors’ choice to lean heavily on new material (10 of the night’s 15 tracks) may have alienated and disappointed fans not yet familiar with the songs, as someone who has spent the last two weeks with the album I can say with confidence that the live renditions will leave fans extremely pleased on future tour dates.

Purity Ring setlist:

Dirty Projectors setlist:
Offspring Are Blank
See What She Seeing
About to Die
Gun Has No Trigger
The Socialites
Cannibal Resource
Beautiful Mother
Maybe That Was It
Dance for You
Just From Chevron
Useful Chamber
Impregnable Question

Stillness is the Move
No Intention
Unto Caeser


NXNE 2012: Doldrums @ Wrongbar June 16

It’s been a while since I saw Doldrums play live in their warehouse space, but they have really developed their sound since that show. They are a 3 piece in the current configuration of the band, made up synths, effects, sampler, and electronic / acoustic drums. Brothers Airick and Daniel work together to create a really unique vocal sound.

Doldrums are doing something completely different than what is out there in electronic music with the spacey atmospheric vocals and very bass heavy tribal / rave drum beats (in the live setting at least). Airick acts as a new age conductor leading his bandmates and the audience through a highly danceable, propulsive set.

MP3: Doldrums – Egypt

Even though there is a lot of buzz around Doldrums, they definitely deliver on the hype. I would go to see them in heartbeat when their next show pops up on the calendar. During their Wrongbar set, they played a new track that fit very nicely in with the rest of the set which came in just under 30 mins.

For more information on Doldrums, visit

NXNE 2012: MPG (My Pet Genius) @ The Great Hall June 16

MPG (My Pet Genius) made their live return last night for NXNE 2012 at the Great Hall after 13 years and it was a triumphant gig for the band.

They kicked off there set with Anjelika In Jhericurl from “Might Strike Satellite” – watch the video for the track below which was directed by Christopher Mills.

The rest of the set saw them power through a number of new tracks from their upcoming double album, “Empire Of Light”. The three core members Dean Mannella, Evan Sue-Ping and Zach Kourous were joined on bass for the latter half of the show by a member of Bronx Cheerleader. From the live set they ran through last night, Empire Of Light will definitely be an epic album and we are looking forward to hearing it.

Listen to the latest track lifted from the album.

MP3: My Pet Genius – Black Mesa Rally Cry

Bat For Lashes Announces European Tour Dates

Bat for Lashes will be returning to the live stage this summer with a number of performances across Europe. In addition to the festival dates, they will also take to the stage with three headline shows in Norway (June 20), Holland (June 28) and Luxembourg (July 10).

15 – Provinssirock, Finland
16 – Hultsfred Festival, Sweden
17 – Northside, Denmark
20 – Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway
21 – Bergenfest, Norway
23 – Southside, Germany
24 – Hurricane, Germany
28 – Amsterdam Paradiso, Holland
29 – Rock Werchter, Belgium
30 – Openair St Gallen, Switzerland

5 – Super Bock Super Rock, Portugal
6 – Pohoda Festival, Slovakia
7 – Heineken Open’er, Poland
10 – Den Atelier, Luxembourg
12 – Benicassim, Spain
13 – Musilac, France
15 – Latitude, UK

2 – Electric Picnic, Ireland
9 – Bestival, UK

Watch the video for Daniel below.

She Makes War Announces New Album And Releases Video

She Makes War releases her sophomore album Little Battles on April 9th. The album was co-produced by She Makes War and Myles Clarke (Sparkadia, Kid Harpoon, Belakiss) during the summer 2011. Recorded around the corner from the Hackney riots, London’s tension is echoed throughout the album – it’s honest and vulnerable yet confident, all melancholy romance and hope for the future.

To accompany the album, She Makes War has released a video for the song ‘Exit Strategy’. She describes the video as “Ms Pacman is brought to life in this claustrophobic Groundhog Day meets horror flick”.

Watch the video for ‘Exit Strategy’ lifted from the album below.

MP3: She Makes War – Exit Strategy

She Makes War is the gloom-pop solo project of Laura Kidd who is a multi-instrumentalist and visual artist. She has toured across the world while playing bass and singing for Tricky, A-Ha, I Blame Coco, The Young Punx and Alex Parks. Kidd released her debut album Disarm in September 2010 accompanied by five DIY videos and follows up its success with this new album, Little Battles.

Little Battles will be launched with a musical / visual extravaganza on April 11 @ The Half Moon, Herne Hill, featuring special guests including She Makes War’s indie supergroup The Olympians, alongside an international webcast party. An extensive UK tour will follow – see the list of tour dates below.

Tour dates:

April 11 – Little Battles Album Launch @ Half Moon, Herne Hill, London
April 16 – Bristol @ Louisiana
April 17 – Southampton @ Joiners
April 18 – Manchester @ The Garrett
April 19 – Cardiff @ Gwdlhw
April 20 – London @ Hoxton Hall – supporting Sunday Driver
April 24 – Chester @ Telford’s Warehouse
April 25 – York @ Stereo
April 26 – Aberdeen @ Cellar 35
April 27 – Edinburgh @ Banshee Labyrinth
April 28 – Glasgow @ Admiral Bar
April 29 – Leeds @ All Hallows Church
May 4 – Sheffield @ Lantern Theatre
May 5 – Margate @ Tom Thumb Theatre
May 6 – Newport Pagnell @ The Watershed MK
May 7 – Nottingham @ The Maze
May 8 – Brighton @ Friends Meeting House
May 9 – Cambridge @ Portland Arms
May 10 – London @ Hub Westminster
May 12 – Folkestone @ Googies
May 13 – Bury St Edmunds @ The Nutshell
May 17 – Norwich – Divine Hammer @ Olive’s

Go to for ticket links and full information

For more information on She Makes War, visit

Wild Flag Hit The Road Again

Wild Flag is back on the road again for another round of dates in support of their self-titled debut album. Hospitality has asked them to join them for some of their tour dates as well, so there are even more chances them flex their live muscles.

Wild Flag – Electric Band

Tour dates:
Mar 31 Boston, MA @ Paradise $
Apr 01 New York, NY @ Webster Hall $
Apr 02 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club $
Apr 03 Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero $
Apr 05 Chicago, IL @ Metro $
Apr 07 Mexico City, MX @ Indie-O Fest 2012
Apr 15 Indio, CA @ Coachella
Apr 18 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
Apr 19 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Apr 22 Indio, CA @ Coachella
Apr 04 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Apr 27 George, WA @ Sasquatch Music Festival
$ with Hospitality

Hospitality – Friends of Friends

Concubines Release Debut Single And Video

Concubines’ debut single ‘Darkness’ will be released on limited edition vinyl via Howling Owl Records on May 14. Concubines is an indie rock band influenced by Nick Cave, TV on the Radio, Roxy Music and Arcade Fire and have similarities to The Editors and Interpol.

Watch the video for ‘Darkness’ below.

The video for ‘Darkness’ was directed by Míša V Krabičce who applied her love for German Expressionism as well as influences from Kate Bush videos and the Shen Wei dance arts to the choreography of professional dancers, Finn Matthews and Izzy Bree.

Concubines are playing their debut London show at Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch on April 21st.

For more information on Concubines, visit