THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES at Jeff Healey's Roadhouse (56 Blue Jay Way) with BEASTS OF EDEN and the UNCUT , tonight (Thursday, June 7), 11 pm, and with LAST DAYS OF APRIL and HOLLERADO Saturday (June 9), 11 pm. $20 door; and at 1 am, preceded by ACTION MAKES (midnight), SUPERFANTASTICS (11 pm), VESTALOYNES (10 pm), KEY WITNESS (9 pm) and STILL LIFE STILL (8 pm) at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), Friday (June 8). $tba. www.nxne.com. Rating: NNNNN
Among the most anticipated appearances at NXNE 2007 will be the return to Toronto of the Soundtrack of Our Lives for three belly-shaking nights of riotous Scando-psych revelry.
What makes TSOOL's three-night stand such a hot ticket isn't just the unusually intimate settings for the gigs (they typically play outdoor sports stadiums in Europe for crowds of 50,000 or more), but also the fact that they'll be premiering their first new songs in more than two years.
The forthcoming Origin II album, which they're currently still tweaking, is planned for release before the end of the year. But that's provided nosy journalists stop interrupting their recording and mixing sessions to ask when they expect to be finished.
"It's funny you should say that," chuckles burly frontman Ebbot Lundberg over the phone from Stockholm, "because when you called just now I was about to go into the studio to do some vocals.
"A lot of the songs were started while we were making our last album. But after Origin I was finished, we went out on tour right away and let everything else go. We didn't even listen back to anything we'd done until just recently.
"Now that we've gone through all the material, we've found five songs that are usable, but the rest will require some added parts or completely new takes. It should be out in three months or so."
What most TSOOL fans want to know is how the sound of Origins II will differ from their previous work, but judging by what Lundberg is saying about the recording process, it seems like it will be an extension of Origin I's anthemic blast rather than a radical departure into goth metal or glitch techno.
"There are so many songs we're working on right now about 30 in all that we haven't even decided which 12 will go on the new album. So exactly how it's gonna sound is difficult for me to say, but I don't think it'll be very different from Origin I.
"It's not like we've heard something so amazing recently that it's caused us to change what we do. That period of searching out different music to get an idea of what type of sound you want to develop as a band is something that happened a long time ago for us. Now we just try to make the best Soundtrack of Our Lives album we can."
It hasn't been all nose-to-the-grindstone for Lundberg and crew, who recently spent some time away from the studio to play a few shows in China. Apparently, the trip to the Far East was both enlightening and rewarding.
"Some of the venues were very strange because of the whole culture clash going on between the ancient and the modern. Our first show was on a boat, where we did an acoustic set for a crowd of mostly elderly English tourists, and then our second show was for a crowd of 40,000 people at an outdoor festival.
"I don't think many of the people who came to our gigs there were familiar with the kind of music we play, so it seemed to be kind of shocking for them at first. But they soon got into it, and the response was amazing.
"Having a large belly is a sign of prosperity in China, so everywhere we went people were fascinated by mine. They didn't believe it was real and wanted to know what I was hiding under my clothes. They wanted to touch my belly and take photographs. It was quite an odd experience."
Additional Interview Audio Clips
Soundtrack of Our Lives frontman Ebbot Lundberg has been keeping busy with side projects