thu 20/07/2017

Canada

CD: Arcade Fire – Everything Now

If you consider the fanciful notion that Arcade Fire are a kind of Canadian art house Dexys Midnight Runners who have substituted strained angsty soul for strained angsty rock, then the title track of their new album is their “Come On Eileen”. It’s...

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CD: Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

Hug of Thunder makes its case with “Victim Lover”, its ninth track. For the first time on Broken Social Scene’s follow-up to 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, the album takes a breath to focus on the song rather than its architecture. “Victim Lover”...

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It’s Only the End of the World

French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan leaves the time and place of It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) deliberately unclear: “Somewhere, a while ago already” is the only clue offered by its opening titles. An adaptation of the...

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St Lawrence String Quartet, Wigmore Hall

John Adams, let's face it, was the reason many of us came to hear the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Their performances and recordings as dedicatees of his labyrinthine First String Quartet and Absolute Jest, in which the four players function as...

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Planet Earth II: Cities, BBC One

Cities, the fastest growing habitats in the history of the world, provided the subject for the sixth and final programme in Planet Earth II, the series that came a decade after the original Planet Earth programmes set new standards for television...

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Kew's Forgotten Queen, BBC Four

The indefatigable Victorian spinster Marianne North (1830-1890) is the most interesting artist you've never heard of. The upper-middle-class Ms North thought marriage a terrible experiment, and with her single state allowing her control of her...

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Barenaked Ladies, Roundhouse

Lead singer and frontman Ed Robertson launches into a BNL-in-London rap, extolling the Roundhouse, “where they used to turn trains”, as well as the glories of Camden Market’s liquid-nitrogen ice-cream bar. The crowd, with its distinctly Cold Feet...

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theartsdesk at the Montreal Jazz Festival

The Montréal International Jazz Festival's 37th edition presented its accustomed surfeit of gigs, covering the complete range from concert hall spectaculars to small club sessions. A large part of this, the globe's biggest jazzfest, is the massive-...

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CD: MSTRKRFT - OPERATOR

Music is so often about context, some music more than others. Such is the case with the latest album – the third – from Canadian electronic bolshies MSTRKRFT. It’s wilfully obnoxious, caustic stuff, a battering techno-based assault that cares not a...

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19-2, Spike

Canada has been Uncle Sam’s body-double in countless drama productions. Shooting on location is easier and cheaper north of the border. One twinkly city skyline looks very much like another. 19-2 is set in and around car number two as it patrols the...

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Betroffenheit, Sadler's Wells/Ballet BC, Birmingham Hippodrome

I could tell you what the German word "Betroffenheit" means by giving a dictionary definition, etymology and connotations and so on. But I won't, because this dance-drama hybrid by Jonathan Young and Crystal Pite is precisely not about pinning down...

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The Burning Hell, Oslo

“We’ve been visiting libraries on this tour and it’s a lot of fun learning people still read.” The words of The Burning Hell’s main man Mathias Kom before launching into “Give Up” stress he and his band are not typical rock‘n’rollers. “Give Up”...

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