December 31, 2006
I was going to do a Top 10 shows I saw this year or something but I have been feeling a little lazy and list making is a surprising amount of work. Instead I will give you my top three – all three shows absolutely blew me away and it was pretty tough to rank them given how different they were. Anyway, here they are in
descending ascending order:
3. Torngat at the Grad Club, 14 October. (I didn’t record this set, sadly, but they offer a bunch of live tracks on their site.) Outstanding instrumental indie-jazz-i don’t know how to describe it. The crowd was small but really quite into it – especially that dancing chick – she was crazy…and a little scary. They are working on a new album so hopefully they will be out on the road again soon.
photos by Miles from Nowhere who also has four videos from the night.
Jon-Rae and his compatriots win the number one spot due to the incredible amount of rawk they brought to Kingstons best (if tiniest) stage. It was rock n’ roll as it was meant to be: filled with booze and grit and sex and sweat and heartbreak and more booze. If you aren’t familiar with the band I tend to describe them as CCR if Janis Joplin sang with them. It is Southern Rock sang by a bespeckatcled dude from BC (now based out of Toronto), with a healthy dose of gospel but with more swearing than you would find in your average revival tent. The band was great, the backup/main vocals of Anne Rust-D’Eye were fantastic, and Jon-Rae Fletcher was all passion and soul. Even the softer moments were filled to the brim with emotion. The packed crowd was feeling it too. There was a great deal of fist-pumping and rocking out occurring in the audience. I think everyone in the room, on both sides of the mic, had a great time. If I had seen this show and/or heard their outstanding latest record “Knows What You Need” before submitting my hottest Canadian acts to I(heart)Music I am pretty sure they would have taken a pretty high spot on my list.
Tonight, Jon-Rae and the River are headlining a Indie Alterna Gospel Country Roots New Years Eve with Lullabye Arkestra (or The Kisses according to the Lee’s Palace site) & Horsey Craze. I have no doubt that it will be an outstanding show.
What ever you are up to tonight I hope you have a rockn’roll New Years filled with drunken, sloppy makeouts.
Jon-Rae And The River, Grad Club, Kingston, 4 November 2006
1. intro – we’re gonna start this song when Dave’s Ready (talk).mp3
2. Nice Room.mp3
5. All that I Had.mp3
6. gimme an e and tuning (talk).mp3
7. Fuck Me.mp3
8. I have lost half of my voice (talk).mp3
9. When You Come Knocking.mp3
10. also know as ‘Tip Your Bartender’ (talk).mp3
11. Best of My Time.mp3
12. a weird time for a narrative (talk).mp3
13. Yong Man Meets Old Death.mp3
14. Nothing to Do.mp3
15. you guys were playing on two (talk).mp3
16. Eastern Migration.mp3
17. our new drumer. he fuckin’ rules (talk).mp3
18. Just One More.mp3
20. just have one more (talk).mp3
When my Friends Get Together Songs in Harmony.mp3 [update: i totally blanked on the titled of this song before. This is the right one. you’ll have to fix the tags yourself]
22. you actually fucking saved my soul (talk).mp3
23. You Never Miss Your Water (Till The Well Runs Dry) (Otis Redding cover).mp3
24. glad you enjoyed it and It’s not gonna happen, Steve (talk).mp3
25. Two Hands.mp3
26. how many people are here from Kingston (talk).mp3
27. Hard in the City.mp3
December 24, 2006
Happy Holidays everybody. I am pleased to announce that Chris C. is the winner of the Memphis contest. The b(oot)log elves will be shipping the cd and other goodies off once they finish wrapping all the gifts that I am supposed to have under the tree by tomorrow morning. Congratulations Chris and thanks to everyone who entered.
Because I am in the giving mood, I thought I would share an extra little post with you all that has ties to both Memphis and Christmas (convenient!). Here, for you listening pleasure, is a Stars session with Gideon Coe from last year. It features not only one of my favourite Stars songs but a great (if slightly less gritty than the original) cover of the fantastic Pogues song “Fairytale of New York,” which may just be the best Christmas song ever written. Enjoy and Merry Christmas.
Stars, Gideon Coe, BBC 6Music, 9 December 2005
Buy the ‘Ex-Lover’ single featuring the ‘Fairytale of New York’ b-side from Arts & Crafts – it’s on sale!
December 23, 2006
At the end of September Memphis played the Grad Club. It was their first time in Kingston and I have a feeling they won’t be rushing back. While they played a very good set the crowd was, unfortunately, not into it. They would just not shut up. Torq asked politely, begged, cajoled, bribed, and pointedly insulted but they wouldn’t pay attention. Given the typically soft, introspective music that Memphis had to offer it didn’t make for the best experience for those who were into the show and, I can only imagine, for the band. Perhaps they would have went over better on a different night of the week, I don’t know. All I know is that this particular Friday night crowd was far from interested in music. It was their loss. Memphis played pretty much every track of their new album as well as a few from their previous one. Their music translated very well live, with rich textures behind Torq’s hushed delivery. Hopefully Memphis do come back and the next time they find an audience that will give them the attention they require and deserve.
Given that there is a ton of crowd noise on my recording I am just going to post the five best tracks of the set. It is just a small taste of Memphis live but I think it is fairly representative of their captivating live show (well, at least some of us there were captivated).
Don’t forget to send an email to email@example.com for a chance to win a copy of Memphis’ new cd A Little Place in the Wilderness. Contest ends tomorrow, the 24th so you only have a few hours left. The winner will be announced sometime shortly after the contest closes.
Memphis, Grad Club, Kingston, 29 September 2006
December 19, 2006
Just in time for the holidays, I am happy to present the first ever b(oot)log contest. Thanks to the kind people at Good Fences I have up for grabs a smashing Memphis prize pack consisting of their new album A Little Place in the Wilderness, a notepad and a couple of buttons.
Memphis features Torquil Campbell (of Stars fame) and Chris Dumont who produce lush music best suited for the pre-dawn hours and other contemplative moments. Comparisons to Stars are inevitable and this album could almost pass for a follow-up to Set Yourself on Fire. Torq’s whispered vocals find a wonderful counterpart in Dumont’s instrumentation, particularly with the use of horns and slide guitar. Torq is a dreamer and images dreams and sleeping feature in almost all the tracks on this album, as well as in the album art. The songs feature a rather refreshing earnest, if melancholic, hopefulness without dipping into naive optimism. The somnambulistic tone of most of the album is broken up by well spaced up-tempo moments, the song “Incredibly Drunk on Whiskey,” in particular, which serve to keep you from drifting to far into your own reverie. This is certainly not an album for every mood but it is certainly one to have on hand for those times when you need to be lost in your own thoughts.
Here is a track from the album:
Hopefully my hackneyed description hasn’t turned you off. To enter the contest all you have to do is email your name and addresss to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Memphis contest” in the suject line and I will randomly select a winner. Contest closes Sunday, December 24th at noon (e.s.t.). Check back this weekend to see if you’ve won and for your regularly scheduled b(oot)log post featuring a live set from, you guessed it, Memphis.
December 16, 2006
From the first time I saw the video for “Cold Snap” on MuchMusic back in the mid-’90s I was hooked by Weeping Tile, although I only pickup up their three releases and really started paying attention to the band years later, after seeing Sarah Harmer live for the first time, I think. Those three Weeping Tile recordings cds now rank among my all-time favourites. I think Kingston is an all-round pretty swell place to live but during Christmas time it becomes the only place I want to be because it means that I will have the opportunity to see Weeping Tile play in their annual Salvation Army Benefit show.
For those who don’t know, Weeping Tile was a Kingston-based “alt-rock” band that made a bit of a splash in the mid-’90s. The band was originally made up of Sarah Harmer, Joe Chithalen, Gord Tough, and Chris Smirnos. Following the release of “eePee” the band’s line-up completely changed with Harmer the only original member, joined by Cam Giroux, Mary Harmer, and Luther Wright. Every year Weeping Tile reforms, gathers a bevy of local musicians onstage with them, and throws a great party in support of the Salvation Army. The shows are always a great deal of fun. The band revisits the best of Weeping Tile, as well as playing solo-material, and you are guaranteed to have a cover or two. Good times are definitely had by all.
This year they are putting on two shows – on Dec. 20 & 21 – at my favourite venue, The Grad Club, and the lineups are eclectic and wonderful. I’ve seen most of the bands performing and I think it is safe to say there is a little something for everyone. Here’s the line-ups:
Wednesday Dec 20th 7:30pm all ages
the Lady Racers
Thursday Dec 21st 9:30pm 19+
Kyra and Tully
Slaves of Spanky
Tickets, which can be found at Zap records, Destinations, and at The Grad Club and through LutherWright.com, are going fast (the all-ages show is sold out online – you still may be able to get them at the other locations). Don’t forget, if you can’t make the show you can still give to the Sally Ann.
To get you all in the mood I am posting my recording of the 2004 show. It isn’t the greatest quality (a bit rattle-y at times) but still very listenable and highly enjoyable. Or at least I think so. From a post on SilverRoad.org (now defunct?) it looks like there may be another, possibly better, recording out there. I would be much obliged if anyone who has one would share it with me (are there any other Weeping Tile bootlegs out there?). Lastly, I don’t know the titles of two songs in the set. They seem so familiar (perhaps because I have listened to this tape a hundred times) but I have never been able to place them. Can anyone help me out? That’s it. Hope you enjoy this recording and maybe I’ll see you at the shows.
Weeping Tile, Salvation Army Winter Relief Benefit, AJs Hanger, Kingston, 13 December 2004
1. I’m Late.mp3
2. makin’ it look & sound better (talk).mp3
3. Good Fortune.mp3
4. South of Me.mp3
5. Weakened State.mp3
6. Took It All.mp3
8. the freedom capo (talk).mp3
9. King Lion.mp3
10. UFO Rosie.mp3
11. this one is in G (talk).mp3
12. Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) (Ramones cover).mp3
13. Inspiration Mission.mp3
14. Julie will come and play, patchcord and thanks (talk).mp3
15. Every Good Story (split).mp3 [I missed a bit in the middle as I switched tapes]
16. singers required (talk).mp3
17. Love Will Buy You a Plane Ticket.mp3
18. top of the season (talk).mp3
19. Country Home.mp3
20. anytime is a good time to donate to the Salvation Army (talk).mp3
21. Caught me on the Camera (title?).mp3
22. Not letting go (title?).mp3
23. need you to dance (talk).mp3
24. Hey Ya (Outkast cover).mp3
25. how do you follow that? (talk).mp3
26. Cold Snap.mp3
27. singalong (talk).mp3
28. Across the Universe (Beatles cover).mp3
December 9, 2006
photo by photosapience from their Toronto show on Sept. 23, 2006
When Montreal’s Land of Talk opened for the Dears in November it was my second time seeing them. Despite having high expectations, when I saw Land of Talk open for Shout Out Out Out Out and Holy Fuck in September I was slightly underwhelmed. I am not sure what it was but I just wasn’t feeling it that night. However, I didn’t let that first impression sour me and I made sure I was at the Dears show good and early so I could give LoT another shake.
This time around I wasn’t at all disappointed. I was completely won over by their upfront, hookfilled songs. There is nothing really fancy or overwrought in their music (unlike the complex orchestrations of the night’s main act) but this doesn’t mean they were ever dull or predictable. The three-piece played solid rock tunes in which all the musical elements were distinctly featured, creating an extremely well balanced sound. The bass and drum work provided excellent foundations to feature the wonderful vocals of singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell. What struck me most about her singing (something that has been reinforced in the many, many times I have listened to their cd) was the longing in her voice – a beautiful loneliness seems to fill most of their songs. Catchy, haunting, Land of Talk’s music stays with you long after you hear it.
They played most of the songs off their ep “Applause, Cheer, Boo, Hiss,” as well as a few unrecorded songs and were quite personable. As their set closed they were really beginning to hit their stride and I was left hoping for a few more songs.
Land of Talk, AJs Alehouse, Kingston, 15 November 2006
[Files removed at the label’s request]
2. wonky (talk).mp3
3. Magnetic Hill.mp3
4. Sounding ok? (talk).mp3
6. cold in the basement (talk).mp3
7. Summer Special.mp3
8. good crowd/gauging our time (talk).mp3
9. Speak To Me Bones.mp3
10. a new one (talk).mp3
11. new song (title?).mp3
12. wicked guitar (talk).mp3
13. It’s Ok.mp3
14. does anyone here know who we are (talk).mp3
15. Death By Fire.mp3
16. All My Friends.mp3
Buy LoT’s excellent EP (one of the year’s best releases) from Dependent Music.
December 7, 2006
I said that I would try to put up something else midweek and, although I realize it is closer to the end of the week, I thought I would post another little something for you all before my regularly scheduled weekend post.
If you go to shows in Kingston with any regularity chances are you have seen Nich Worby perform. I’ve seen him play a few times over the last two years or so and he seems to become a stonger and more confident performer each time he hits the stage. Even as he improves he nevertheless retains the the slight awkwardness and nervousness that make him personable. This barefooted singer-songwriter reminds me of Hayden, if you replace Hayden’s sullenness with a rather quirky sense of humour.
For your entertainment, I have part of Worby’s set from a couple weeks ago when he played last minute with Habitat. Enjoy.
Update: Links fixed… i think.
Nich Worby, Grad Club, Kingston, 17 November 2006
He has an EP on The Ford Plant’s record label. Check out his myspace page for more music. If you happen to find yourself in the Telephone City for the holidays be sure to check out the Christmas Extravaganza the Ford Plant is throwing on the 22nd featuring none other than Nich Worby (along with The Bicycles and Henri Faberge and the Adorables).
December 2, 2006
all photos by Chris Frey
DAMMMIT!!!! Matthew totally beat me to this post. I wrote this yesterday but didn’t publish it (when we had torrential rain, today is actually quite nice). I guess we were on the same wavelength or something. Since i don’t have anything else ready at the moment I will post this and maybe give you something new midweek. Anyway, he digs it, I dig it, you should dig it too.
I don’t know about where you live, but it is downright miserable here. While it doesn’t feel quite like December you know that winter weather is on its way. So, to get you up and shakin’ here is some bouncy tunes from Shout Out Out Out Out courtesy of the Mother Corp. SOOOO packed the CBC studios in Vancouver with their keys and drums and madness, busting out two tracks from their full-length, the b-side to their first single from a while back, and a
new song (well, at least new to me) cover of a Wilfred N. & The Grown Men song (my thanks to eli eli eli! for the info).
Shout Out Out Out Out, In Session at CBC Studio 2, Vancouver, 27 Sep 2006
Wanna keep dancing? Buy the records. And if you are in Edmonton for New Year’s Eve you would be the biggest lame-o around if you didn’t ring in the ’07 with SOOOO and MSTRKFT. Hottest party ever? Most likely.