November 24, 2006
Photos by BramptonBoi taken at Sneaky Dee’s, Toronto,20 November 2006
Last Friday I went out to see Canada’s Best New Band only to hear that their van broke down outside of Toronto. While it was disappointing that I didn’t get to see Ohbijou, the trip to the Grad Club was more than worth while as the supporting act, Guelph’s Habitat, stepped up to the challenge of headlining and were absolutely fantastic. Habitat is Sylvie Smith and John O’Regan who both play keyboards and sing. Backed by ipod-based beats, they dish out some rather retro and very poppy, fun songs. Despite their synthy veneers, these songs aren’t pure confection, however. There is real weight and emotion in their vocals, particularly in their standout set closer “Next Year”. The duo’s harmonies are wonderful – with Smith’s vocals being particularly notable for their warmth – and they are extremely tight. The six-song set was augmented by a game of Kingston-based trivia which Smith and O’Regan put together before the show. Although the questions weren’t that tough (or we were all just really, really smart) it was fun to play along, even if my table did totally get screwed on the prize front. Some people in the audience need to learn how to share their candy. Anyway, with their combination of three of my favourite things – boy-girl vocals, trivia and candy – Habitat put on a really great show. Check ’em out if you have a chance.
7) When You’re Gone (Bryan Adams cover).mp3 [removed 29 Oct 2008 following a DCMA request by Web Sheriff on behalf of Bryan Adams…yeah…]
11) Next Year.mp3
Habitat have an stunning ep in a beautiful hand-made sleeve which I am sure they will sell you if you contact them through their myspace page.
November 18, 2006
Kingston was visited by The Dears on Wednesday for the first time in three years. I didn’t attend their last show here but I heard it described as “Murray’s drunken debacle.” With that in mind I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the band. Would it be a stellar show? or a glorious mess? Thankfully, it was the former (although it might have been fun to write about a debacle) and Murray Lightburn and Co. were nothing but professional, tight and all business. With essentially no crowd interaction, The Dears tore through the better part of their new album, “Gang of Losers,” along with a number of tracks drawn from previous recordings, primarily “No Cities Left”. Every song, even those that start of slow and/or soft, would inevitably rise and build into passionate epics. It is a wonder that Lightburn is able to speak let alone sing as he pushes his vocals to their limits on every song. He was accompanied by wonderful dual backing vocals and the band sounded fantastic, featuring some rather blistering guitar and some wonderful flute played on “Never Destroy Us”. Also of note was Murray’s keytar which he broke out at the end. Nothing says rawk like a keytar. They played a really full and well paced set and after a brief break they came back out onstage. Their encore was jamm-y but it didn’t really feel that they were being self-indulgent (I’m looking at you, Metric). The Dears are playing thier third Toronto show in a row tonight before hitting Western Canada and the US. I highly recommend you check them out if you can.
photo by Steve Asenjo at the Electric Ballroom, Camden, London on November 1st, 2005
I am quite excited by this recording and not only because The Dears played a great show. This was my first attempt at taping a concert with my shiny, new minidisc recorder. I think you will agree that the results are pretty stellar. So long tapehiss, you will go the way of the “cold war and card catalogues” and won’t be missed (well, actually I still have a heap of analog recordings that will be appearing here now and then). Now I just need to get my shit together and design my new website and then we will have really entered a new, more professional, era of b(oot)loggin’.
photos by Steve Asenjo at the Electric Ballroom, Camden, London on November 1st, 2005
The Dears, AJs Alehouse, Kingston, 15 November 2006
18) I Fell Deep.mp3
November 10, 2006
I think you’ve waited long enough for the second half of the Sarah Harmer set. Same as before – lovely, lovely, lovely (with a touch of tape hiss). In this instalment, Sarah breaks out her Weakerthans cover and Spenser comes onstage without his shirt on. Much hilarity ensues. I missed the end of The Phoenix and all of “Goin’ Out” because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Sorry about that. They sang “How Deep in the Valley” without mics so the sound is extra-low but trust me, it is pretty fantastic in person. Sarah dedicated “You Were Here” to Joe and you should all give as much as you can to the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library. Speaking of great causes, have you signed up to support the tree yet? What about PERL? Support these things, not just because you are a rabid fanboy/girl (although any excuse will do) but because they are all worthy. In fact, I’m not going to let you download the second half of the set until you donate to one or all. Did you? Good. You can now go ahead and download away.
Sarah Harmer, Grant Hall, Kingston, 22 October 2006
19) 1st time at AJ’s talk.mp3
20) Coffee Stain.mp3
21) didn’t play this song last time talk.mp3
22) Left and Leaving (Weakerthans cover).mp3
23) Spencer surprises us all talk.mp3
25) The Hideout.mp3
27) BSS talk.mp3
28 ) Escarpment Blues.mp3
29) This one’s for Joe talk.mp3
30) You Were Here.mp3
31) Silver Road.mp3
32) locked myself in a car talk.mp3
33) The Phoenix (end cut off).mp3
34) I’m a Mountain.mp3
36) How Deep in the Valley.mp3
You can (and should) still buy SH stuff here.
November 3, 2006
Photo by Jukerr.
Our hometown hero, Sarah Harmer returned to Kingston close to a year after her previous visit to perform another stunningly beautiful show. In fact, I think it may have been an almost perfectly picked set – ok, I would have added is a few Weeping Tile songs, but that’s just me, otherwise it was fantastic. Ms. Harmer was quite chatty and rather funny except when she was discussing serious matter like trying to save one of the oldest tree east of the Rockies – HEY LOOK! There will be a benefit concert on November 5th go! And donate online to this cause!. Both Sarah and her band sounded amazing, as we’ve come to expect. Even after a weekend bender and driving seven or so hours coming back from Hershey PA – perhaps the happiest place on earth, I might add. The town smells like freshly baked brownies – I am so glad I was able to get tickets at the last minute as I, and the entire crowed, were treated to a mesmerizing performance.
A note about the tape – the sound was pretty quiet in Grant Hall so it the volume is a bit low on the recording. There is a tape hiss which I couldn’t quite get rid of completely (it is particularly noticeable in the talking bits) but I don’t think it should detract from your listening pleasure. If you are a real stickler you may want to test out one track before getting the whole thing. Stop by next week for the second half of the set.
Sarah Harmer, Grant Hall, Kingston, 22 October 2006
1) I am Aglow.mp3
3) Oleander intro.mp3
5) what happened to the plant talk.mp3
6) Around This Corner.mp3
7) Gone for Good (Shins cover).mp3
8 ) our man of all trades talk.mp3
9) The Ring.mp3
10) Dolly talk.mp3
11) Will He Be Waiting for Me?.mp3
12) isn’t every song a drinking song? talk.mp3
13) Uniform Grey.mp3
14) Luther talk.mp3
15) Luther’s Got The Blues.mp3
16) oldest tree talk.mp3
18) Greeting Card Aisle.mp3
November 1, 2006
Matthew of i (heart) music fame has done a great job polling bloggers, journalists, djs and other insiders and outsiders from the music scene in Canada about who they think are the 33 hottest musicians and bands of 2006. There are some surprises, some discoveries and some comments which make me want to revisit a few things I hadn’t paid too close attention too. All in all it is a pretty great list and I think it does quite a good job of representing the diversity of music being produced in the country (although it is apparent the list is predominantly filled with ‘indie’ rock bands – please don’t leave an angry comment stating that the glorious new wave of bluegrass stars or whatever have been unjustly overlooked by the panel. Next time you submit a top ten). So head on over there and check it out. Feel free to agree or disagree as you like but certainly give some time to read the comments and check out some really great bands.
I was asked to submit my top ten and, as you will see from my list below, it betrays my subjective listening habits and preferences. Looking at the top 33 there are a few bands that I would liked to have included on my list but I didn’t listen their albums enough or hadn’t seen them live so I had nothing to base my opinions on. You will notice that of my 10 all but two ended up on the i(heart)music top ten, with MSTRKRFT breaking the top 33 and only Jill Barber not making the final cut. Did I really put Destroyer below SOOOO? Hmm. upon reflection that doesn’t seem quite right. Anyway, here it is, my top 10 hottest Canadian Bands:
10) Jill Barber
8 ) Malajube
7) Tokyo Police Club
5) Shout Out Out Out Out
4) Broken Social Scene
3) Sunset Rubdown
1) Final Fantasy