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:
Cartographist
Belispeak
Loficries
Amenamy
Fineshrine
Saltkin
Obedear
Crawlersout
Ungirthed

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

Encore:
Stillness is the Move
No Intention
Unto Caeser

The Presets Announce New Album & Live Dates

Today, The Presets announced their new album, “Pacifica”, will be released in September through Casablanca. Featuring 10 tracks, Pacifica was produced by the band – Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes – and mixed in LA with Tony Hoffer.

It has been more than 4 years since The Presets released their sophomore album, “Apocalypso” which spawned 5 hit singles and exceeded Triple Platinum sales in their native Australia. The Presets received out 6 ARIA and ARIA artisan awards (including Album of The Year, Best Group, and Best Dance Release) at the 2008 ARIA Awards, and “Apocalypso” also received Triple J’s ‘J Award’ for Album of The Year.

A mysterious video and webpage (http://youthintrouble.com/) have recently surfaced which has been retweeted by label Modular People so it is rumoured that it may be a teaser for the band’s new single. There have also been rumours online relating to the posted video that the Presets have gone dubstep but Modular has firmly denied this is the case (luckily). There is also a code 0900290612 on the website that may represent the full video release details of 9 am on 29th June 2012.


You can now order a limited-edition version of the album featuring CD / Vinyl / digital download code coupled with a hardcover book filled with expanded artwork plus a limited edition lithograph that is numbered and signed by the band. All this is housed in a 12″ case with a lenticular cover. Pre-order it here.

In support of the album, The Presets will be playing some dates later this year.

Parklife 2102 dates:
09/29 – Parklife Brisbane @ Riverstage and Botanic Gardens, QLD
09/30 – Parklife Sydney @ Kippax Lake Moore Park, NSW
10/1 – Parklife Perth @ Wellington Square, WA
10/6 – Parklife Melbourne @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, VIC
10/7 – Parklife Adelaide @ Botanic Park, SA

North American tour dates:
10/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Treasure Island Music Festival
10/15 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10/19 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
10/20 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
10/21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
10/23 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
10/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
10/28 – Pomona, CA @ The Fox Theatre

Watch the video for Are You The One? from their debut album, “Beams”.


For more information on The Presets, visit www.thepresets.com.

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 www.endlessdoldrums.com.

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

NXNE 2012: Epic Show Cancellation June 15

As some of our readers know, Culture Addicts is an artist run blog and I (Cameron) was scheduled to play a NXNE showcase for my music project Your Pretend Boyfriend on June 15 at the super cool bar, Unlovable with a few electronic / DJ / hip-hop artists. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as originally planned with the Toronto Police coming in an hour before the showcase and revoking the bar’s liquor license (great timing during NXNE) and things spiralled downwards from there. The venue made a decision to close until the suspension is lifted, which obviously knocked out all showcases for the evening. Bummer # 2 of the festival.

Even though we were unable to play and I had prepared for a couple months leading up to the showcase, three good things came out of the whole bad situation. Firstly, I met The Futureless who create dark, new wave music – and are both super nice guys, and I am liking their sound a lot. I am hoping we will have a chance to work together in the future. Check out their video below.


Second, even though we didn’t meet under the best of circumstances, Jamal from Unlovable is also really cool (great meeting him) and he will keep the bar going (it would be a loss for the city if it closed permanently). By the way, this is where the amazing Little Girls filmed the video for their track Daydream – watch it below.


Once the dust settled and I packed up all of my equipment, I was bummed out and didn’t check out any bands.

Are you wondering what happened to good thing # 3 that came out of the epic cancellation? This actually happened on Saturday June 16, so you will have to check that post as well to find out.

Zulu Winter Gets Remixed + Play Live Dates

Next month, England’s Zulu Winter will release their debut album “Language” on June 19th via Arts & Crafts. As a lead up to the release, the record’s first single, Silver Tongue has been reworked by fellow Arts & Crafts act The Darcys who put their own spin on the track by slowing it down and adding echoing layers.

MP3: Zulu Winter – Silver Tongue (The Darcys Remix)

Check out the band live in NYC and at NXNE 2012

6/12: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge – Buy Tickets
6/14: Toronto, ON @ Rivoli for NXNE 2012

For more information on Zulu Winter, visit www.zuluwinter.com.

GHXST Release New Track + Announce UK Tour

New York’s noise grunge trio GHXST have released a new track titled, Doomgirl. This is the follow-up to the release of the “Evilwickeddesire” LP on vinyl last year via Paris-based Desire Records, which contained their first two EPs (Evil’s Wasted On You and No Rest For The Wicked). They state influences such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, White Zombie, and Sonic Youth, and plan to resurrect 90s rock but with a new kind of stylish noise rock, distortion, bluesy vocals, and heavy drums.

MP3: GHXST – Doomgirl

GHXST have announced a UK tour in June – see tour dates below.

June UK Tour Dates:
15th – DJ Set at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen w/ CLUB.THE.MAMMOTH, LONDON, UK
16th – DJ Set at Topman OXFORD STREET, LONDON. UK
17th – Green Door Store, BRIGHTON, UK
20th – The Old Blue Last, LONDON, UK
21st – Kraak Gallery, MANCHESTER, UK
22nd – Birthdays, LONDON, UK
23rd – Oakford Social Club, READING, UK

For more information, visit http://ghxstmusic.com/.