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TOPS – Sleeptalker

By Will Oliver, August 4th 2014 — with 1 comment

Tops - Sleeptalker

On September 2 Montral-based band TOPS will release their new album Picture You Staring via Arbutus Records. Their previous album Tender Opposites was one of my favorite albums of 2012, so it’s safe to say I have sky high expectations for the new LP.

“Sleeptalker” is the first single to be shared from Picture You Staring, and it’s a lush track that is absolute smooth sailing. There’s a sleepy nature to it, carried by the hushed vocals of singer Jane Penny.

Penny provided some insight on the song on the band’s facebook page. Find that posted below.

It’s a lovely listen, one that simply begs for you to replay. Stream it below.
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[CMJ]: TOPS @ Arlene’s Grocery (October 18, 2013)

By Will Oliver, October 21st 2013


Last year, Montreal band TOPS released one of my favorite albums of the year with the dangerously good Tender Opposites.

I kept missing them at previous CMJ’s or the scattered NYC performance here and there. So I made it a mission this time around to catch one of their performances, and it ended up being post-Arcade Fire at Arlene’s Grocery as a part of the M For Montreal showcase. Read the rest of this entry »

[music video]: TOPS – Double Vision

By Will Oliver, October 25th 2012

Regret not catching TOPS at all during CMJ, because I’ve been slowly getting into their debut album Tender Opposites, which came out earlier this year on Arbutus Records.

They released a video for “Double Vision” a song on the album that clings to nostalgia and memories of older days. It then makes sense that the video consists of home video recordings. Wish I didn’t wait so long to get into these guys.

Watch the video below.
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[music video] All The Damn Kids – The Book Stops Here

By Will Oliver, April 23rd 2010 — with 3 comments

I called All The Damn Kids a band to watch last week, and I firmly stand behind that statement. They are an exciting band from Sheffield who you should expect to hear more on frm me in the immediate future.

For now, check out their music video for “The Book Stops Here”. It is pretty much a nod to the legendary Albert Lamorisse short film Le Ballon Rouge. It is well shot, and the video certainly fits the mood of the song. Watch it below:

Recap: Eaux Claires 2015, Day 1

By Collin Quinlivan, September 1st 2015


Exit the suburbs of New York, and enter the long, straight roads banked by endless fields of crops and forests. Not a few hundred miles from my destination, I already saw hints of festival-goers on the road and at rest stops. Cars packed with people and things, “Eaux Yeah!” painted on the rearview window. We were all descending upon the little city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Eaux Claires is the brainchild of Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, an Eau Claire native himself, and Aaron Dessner of The National. Being the inaugural year of the festival, expectations were tall and wide. We were not disappointed.

Many festivals today have become so large that they’ve lost sight of what the experience should be about. Maybe it’s selling out, maybe it’s an inevitability of the medium. So many things try to promote authenticity, but end up merely emulating it. Eaux Claires didn’t have this problem. The very foundation of the festival was about collaboration, with multiple artists bring other artists onto the stage to perform with them. I’ve been to other, larger events where the sets have become carbon copies and non-engaging. No, this was as refreshing as the clear waters of the Chippewa River.

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I started off my day with The Lone Bellow, the alt-country/indie folk band from Brooklyn. It was sort of impromptu, but I was very impressed with their set. I then caught Sturgill Simpson before camping out at the Lake Eaux Lune stage for The Staves, Spoon, and finally The National. This was pretty much the universal idea in the crowd. Once again, The National put on a powerful, raw show that had the audience traveling through a range of emotions. During ‘I Need My Girl’, a very quiet moment in the set, I noticed a nearby man turn around and drop to one knee in front of his girlfriend. I’ve seen a lot of things in festival crowds, but never a marriage proposal…it was a perfect moment. Continuing with the theme of collaboration, Matt Berninger brought out multiple artists throughout the set: Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon, members of The Staves to name a few. I’m not sure how much planning went into this, but it worked out beautifully. Afterwards, I walked through the woods to the Dells stage, hoping to catch Boys Noize, but found it so packed that I abandoned the idea.

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I left the grounds feeling completely satisfied with the first day, and praying that the following day’s rain would hold off.

Find some photos of the performances below, as well as shots throughout the festival grounds.







The Lone Bellow:

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Sturgill Simpson:

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The Staves:

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The National:

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Wolf Alice at Le Poisson Rouge (June 18, 2015)

By Will Oliver, August 24th 2015

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In mid June Wolf Alice made yet another return to New York, this time to play their biggest show here to date at Le Poisson Rouge. They made a few stops here throughout the year, with free performances at Baby’s All Right and Brooklyn Night Bazaar (RIP), seemingly picking up tons of new fans along the way. Their rise has been a rather organic ride, with fans slowly picking up on the young British rockers, accumulating due to the simple fact that the band knows how to write a great rock and roll tune. Their debut album My Love Is Cool (RCA/Dirty Hit Records) is one of the finest debuts you’ll find this year.

Their performance at Le Poisson Rouge was as impressive as I’ve seen them yet. Even though it’s only been a couple of months, the group has improved upon each performance, bringing the grunge-inspired rockers to life with even more intensity and ferocity. Lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s haunted vocals captivate live, keeping your eyes totally transfixed on her while she’s on stage. It’s hard to believe these guys are really only getting started, as they seemed to be seasoned veterans already.

The stage will once again get bigger for Wolf Alice when they return on October 2 for a performance at Warsaw. Tickets are still available at the moment.

Find photos of Wolf Alice posted below, along with Buffalo three-piece Made Violent, who opened the show.

Made Violent:

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Wolf Alice:

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Spoon at Kings Theatre (June 16, 2015)

By Will Oliver, August 24th 2015

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Back in mid June Spoon made their return to New York for a sold out performance at Kings Theatre, the best large venue in New York City. The performance was one of their few remaining stops of the They Want My Soul tour, and featured an opening set from Brooklyn natives The Antlers.

Although The Antlers are more accustomed to playing more intimate venues, they were actually a pretty perfect fit to play at Kings. Their spacious and haunting sound filled out the place no problem. The tracks off their 2014 album Familiars never sounded better.

The last two times Spoon played in New York, the shows took place outside (Governors Ball and Summerstage, although there was the surprise show at LPR). Frontman Britt Daniel made note of this during the show, and wasn’t shy to slight the less than satisfactory sound at Central Park that night (the talkative crowd didn’t help either).

This show was the complete opposite of Central Park. The sold out crowd was in a trance like state for the entirety of Spoon’s impressive set, which was easily the best performance out of the half a dozen or so times I’ve seen them live now. Not only did they fill out Kings, but they made it look easy. They confidently tore through tracks off They Want My Soul with a simple but effective stage set up and light show accommodating the theme of each offering.

The expansive 23-song set lists featured not just one, but two encores, allowing Spoon to truly give the fans what they wanted. It was as close to a perfect setlist as any Spoon fan could ask for. The final encore of “Black Like Me,” ” You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb,” and “The Underdog” sent everyone home in a blissful state.

When I look back on all the shows I saw this year, this one will surely rank amongst the best.

Find photos of both Spoon and The Antlers below, along with Spoon’s setlist.


1. Rent I Pay
2. Knock Knock Knock
3. Don’t You Evah
4. The Way We Get By
5. Small Stakes
6. My Mathematical Mind
7. The Ghost of You Lingers
8. Satellite
9. The Beast and Dragon, Adored
10. I Turn My Camera On
11. Do You
12. The Fitted Shirt
13. I Summon You
14. Rainy Taxi
15. Inside Out
16. Don’t Make Me a Target
17. Got Nuffin


18. Outlier
19. Anything You Want
20. TV Set (The Cramps Cover)

Encore 2:

21. Black Like Me
22. You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
23. The Underdog

The Antlers:

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