February 23, 2011
photo by SarahBrideau.com from 2008 (in Montreal?)
It is a good time to exist my friends, because The Luyas‘ stunning new record “Too Beautiful to Work” was released yesterday and our ears are filled with wonderful sounds. Mysterious, haunting, beautiful sounds unlike anything else you are likely to encounter.
You should go, now, to Idée Fixe Records where you can stream the full album, download two tracks and where you can, nay must!, buy it.
There is a dreamy quality that coats the album. Jessie Stein’s unique voice reaches out plaintively as the music swirls and builds, until things become urgent – like at the 1:41 mark of “Worth Mentioning” where bells ring and penetrating drumming kick in propelling the vocals along. The shifts in the record – from lush to chaotic – make for some extremely memorable moments. The listener is kept off balance and alert, waiting for the next shift or surprise. And there are so many wonderful surprises here. Strange sounds permeate the record - is it effects-laden frenchhorn? the mythical moodswinger? strings or keyboards or horns or something else entirely? The listener is frequently left guessing. Lyrics are repeated, the words gaining meaning each time they are said, each time a new layer of sound is placed behind or over them.
The records is precisely crafted. With so many intricate pieces fitting together, with so many places where the seams could split apart, all the sounds are marshaled together without things feeling constrained. This delicate balance that is achieved on TBTW, between the chaotic and the restrained, makes the record so special.
Back in 2007 I said that The Luyas “are jubilant and terrified, strange and wonderful.” I think this is as applicable to TBTW as it was to “Faker Death“, perhaps, though, more jubilant than terrified but still strangely wondrous and wonderfully strange. They are more confident and commanding without losing their sense of awe or their willingness to joyfully explore dark corners.
The Luyas are embarking on a tour. You should go see them if they wander into your neighbourhood. They are playing many places Canada & the United States & Europe. They aren’t playing Kingston again, at the moment, but perhaps they will stop by soon. Here are some of their upcoming dates. See their site for full listings.
02/24 Montreal, QC- La Sala Rossa02/26 Quebec City, QC- Le Cercle03/04 Charlottesville, VA- Jefferson Theatre w/ Ra Ra Riot03/06 Jacksonville, FL- Jack Rabbits w/ Ra Ra Riot03/07 Ft. Lauderdale, FL- Culture Room w/ Ra Ra Riot03/08 Orlando, FL- The Social w/ Ra Ra Riot03/09 Tampa, FL- Crowbar w/ Ra Ra Riot03/11 New Orleans, LA- One Eyed Jacks w/ Ra Ra Riot, Givers03/12 Baton Rouge, LA- Spanish Moon w/ Ra Ra Riot03/14- 03/20- Austin, TX- South By Southwest
For Pop Montreal, The Luyas created an installation/performance space/event called “Everything is Outta Sight”. They made an enchanted forest from paper and lights. The evening was filmed and it can now be viewed here:
A year ago I saw The Luyas perform – they were haunting a stunning church. I have put some of the tracks online previously, but here is the full set. Enjoy.
The Luyas, Sydenham St. United Church, Kingston 2 February 2010
1. Cold Canada
2. makes you blind (talk)
3. Tiny Head
4. Dumb Blood
5. alright? (talk)
6. Seeing Things
9. Pietro walks (talk)
10. I Need Mirrors
11. kind ladies and sirs (talk)
12. Worth Mentioning
February 12, 2011
Jim Bryson and his friends The Weakerthans are coming to town tonight. However, if you don’t have your ticket already you are out of luck ’cause the show is sold out.
If you are like me and don’t have a ticket you are probably going to miss a great show. Maybe you were lucky enough to see them play at the Wolfe Island Music Fest this summer. If so, they you know that Bryson sings down to earth tunes with a rich, unassuming voice. They are melancholic and wistful but he is not defeated. Bryson picks himself up and continues on, no matter what life throws at him.
After Kingston, Bryson & The Weakerthans are heading out west. Go see them if you have the chance. Check out his website for full details.
Feb 12th, The Grad Club Kingston, ON (sold out)
Feb 25th, The Royal Nelson, BC
Feb 26th,The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
Feb 27th, Sugar Nightclub, Victoria
March 1st, Myer Horowitz Theatre, Edmonton
March 2nd, Communitea Café, Canmore
March 3rd, The Gateway Bar – SAIT Campus, Calgary
March 4th, Amigos Cantina, Saskatoon
March 5th, West End Cultural Center, Winnipeg
March 6th, Falcon Trails Resort, Falcon Lake, MB
Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans, Wolfe Island Music Fest, 7 August 2010
Get yourself the great Falcon Lake Incident & other stuff here.
February 11, 2011
Did you miss your chance to get tickets to the now sold out Jim Bryson/Weakerthans show on Saturday? (more on that show later) Well, never fear because your Saturday night can still be filled with awesome live music.
The fantastic Off the International Radar are playing with Mausoleum at The Mansion. There will be also be Special Intimate Solo Acoustic Sets from Shotgun Jimmie, Jay Baird & Megan Hamilton. Doors are at 8, sliding scale admission ($8-$10). See the FB event page for more details.
This is a CFRC Funding Drive event. Show your support for campus & community radio and donate today. It is the last weekend for the funding drive and they need your support to meet their goal.
Check out OTIR’s video for “A Cold Mirror”
And Holy Radar (Collaboration with Holy Fuck)
Buy the OTIR/HF split from HDD.
February 4, 2011
(photo of The Phonemes, with Owen Pallett, at the Tranzac 2007.)
The Phonemes are in no rush. They (really, she, Magali Meagher, with help from her friends) took three years between releasing her EP and her LP and it has been over three years since that wonderful album “There’s something we’ve been meaning to do”” came out. I am hoping that there will be a new album soon but I am more than willing to wait for what comes next.
The Phonemes create delicate, intricate pop songs which, understandably, do not spring forth fully formed. A stunning song like “Plate Dance”, with its restraint and refinement is not something that occurs by chance. No, The Phonemes are deliberate and slow paced. While this may be frustrating for a listener, who wishes that more and more and moremoremore of their songs will pour out of speakers and headphones, in the end, it is worth the wait.
When I saw them for the first time, there was just Meagher. Some of the understated lushness found on her recordings was absent, but her lovely pop songs shone. Accompanied on the records by friends who bring strings and drums and harmonies, The Phonemes have an intriguing complexity. For all that these additional players add to the recordings, live, they are not needed. Alone with her guitar onstage, Meagher performed with a modest confidence. She transfixed the audience with an intimate (and at times interactive – for “Steeples + Peoples” she passed out pages from a newspaper to be rustled by people in the crowd, while others clapped, adding wonderful texture to the song) set. Her rich, innocent voice and unadorned guitar were all we needed and more than we hoped for. Below are a few tracks recorded from that night. I hope you enjoy them.
The Phonemes will be playing tomorrow, Feb 5th at The Mansion with Random Recipe and Kingston’s own Monuments & Statues. This is The Phonemes last show at the moment but be sure to keep up to date on their site.
The Phonemes, Grad Club, Kingston, 19 September 2009
February 1, 2011
Julie Doiron‘s songs are like short stories: small gestures filled with emotion. Quick and to the point, they are devoid of filler, and they rapidly immerse you into their world. Her songs are given power by their brevity. They provide dark glimpses into a life where regret, longing, and desire are expressed – at times quietly, at times amplified by rage and desperation. Light shines through, though, at times, and memories of moments of tenderness and contentment help to make the dark times bearable. Whether she is singing about intensely private matters (heartbreak) or the simply comforts (returning home after an absence) Julie Doiron’s compact narratives are always engaging and affecting.
Here are a few songs from the last time Doiron played the Grad Club. She played most of her fantastic album “I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day” along with a bunch of older songs and Fred Squire took the mic for three songs. It was a really fantastic, intimate set. I have no doubt tonight’s show will be just as good. Last I heard, tickets were still available (although probably not online anymore). Find upcoming dates on her site:
02/01/11 Kingston, Grad Club
02/02/11 Peterborough,Red Dog
02/03/11 Toronto, Horseshoe Tavern
02/04/11 Ottawa, Mavericks
02/05/11 Montreal, Il Motore
02/08/11 Hamilton, The Casbah
Julie Doiron, Grad Club, Kingston, 27 March 2009
A lovely track from Little Scream who will be opening (from “The Golden Record” – to be released April 12th, 2011 by Outside Music)
* Little Scream, The Heron and the Fox