January 31, 2007
photo by Kevin Parnell from the 2005 Wavelengths Music Series
As great as the first Apostle of Hustle show at the Grad Club was (and it was really, really great) this Saturday’s show could very well top it. Not only will AoH be settling into their new material and have a few more shows under their belt, but the opening act will be fantastic Woolly Leaves.
Woolly Leaves is the work of Will Kidman of Constantines fame (yeah, I know, I fell in to the trap where anyone who mentions Woolly Leaves immediately references the Cons, which i am sure is tiresome). The two projects, however, are very different: where the Constantines are loud and raucous – rockn’roll through and through – Woolly Leaves is quite and contemplative.
This music is soft and intimate. With simple, but by no means unsophisticated, instrumentations – a gentle strum of the guitar here, some beatuful vocal harmonies there – Woolly Leaves draws you in. Kidman is confiding in you and you can’t help but be attentive. These songs make me want to get right up close to my speakers, pressing my ears against the felt, so he can whisper to me directly.
Listen for yourself:
You can check out Woolly Leaves live this Saturday at the Grad Club. Get your tickets early – last weekend’s show was packed and I imagine this one will sell out. If you are not fortunate enough to live in the Kingston area, here are the complete tour listings:
Feb. 3 – Kingston – The Grad Club (with Apostle of Hustle)
Feb. 7 – Toronto – The Rivoli (with Apostle of Hustle)
Feb. 17 – Montreal – Casa De Popolo
Feb. 20 Toronto – The Drake
Or if you’re lucky you can win it from me. The kind and generous folks at StageFright have provided me with a couple of copies of the album to give away to the b(oot)log faithful. Just send your name and mailing address to me at email@example.com with “Woolly Leaves Contest” in the subject line and I will randomly choose the winners. Got it? Ok then. The contest closes this Sunday, Feb. 5th, at noon (est) with the winners being notified shortly thereafter. Good luck.
January 26, 2007
photo by Kathryn, taken at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, March 8, 2005
On a day like today, which is c-c-c-c-cold, I feel I need a little Apostle of Hustle. These songs, which act as a sonic gateway to somewhere tropical, are like a cup of hot chocolate for the spirit. At times they saunter along; at others they move more briskly and with a definite purpose. They are filled with poetic lyrics which evoke hazy days where the most pressing concern is the arrival of the next round of mojitos. They are organic and expansive, captivating and entrancing.
To celebrate the release of “National Anthems of Nowhere,” AoH is doing two residencies: one in Toronto, which is to be expected, and less obviously, one in Kingston. I can only chalk it up to the charm, grace, and superduper kung fu booking abilities of Virginia over at the Grad Club for securing this. So, Kingston readers, starting tomorrow, Jan. 27, hustle over the Grad Club (man, that is a terrible pun. I apologize but I couldn’t resist) for the first of three Saturday evening engagements with special guests. Full tour dates are:
-27 Jan 2007 20:00
Grad Club Kingston, Ontario
-31 Jan 2007 22:00
The Rivoli Toronto, Ontario
-2 Feb 2007 20:00
Casbah Hamilton, Ontario
-3 Feb 2007 20:00
Grad Club Kingston, Ontario
-7 Feb 2007 22:00
The Rivoli Toronto, Ontario
-9 Feb 2007 19:00
Winterlude 2007 Ottawa, Ontario
-10 Feb 2007 20:00
Grad Club Kingston, Ontario
-15 Feb 2007 22:00
The Rivoli Toronto, Ontario
Apostle of Hustle, CBC Radio 3 Session, (date?)
Apostle of Hustle, The Current, MPR, 15 March 2005
Be sure to get the NEW ALBUM (to be released February 6th, pre-order now) along with the old one and t-shirts and other awesome AoH stuff through our friends at Arts & Crafts or you can buy here to support MPR which is good for everyone.
January 19, 2007
You all know that Jill Barber is a b(oot)log favourite, but you may not be aware that her older brother, Matthew Barber, is also a fantastic singer-songwriter. He is a little more rockin’ than his sister but they often tread some of the same lyrical ground, namely, relationships, love and heartbreak. This acoustic set shows off the strength of Barber’s songwriting. Accompanied by a pedal steel guitar rather than on his full band, the Union Dues, the focus was placed fully on Barber’s narratives of loss and hope for a new start. Some of the killer hooks found on his recorded work were lost in these stripped down arrangements but what is lost in hooks is gained in immediacy. It was like a friend playing in your living room…if your friend had a ton of books and no furniture.
The set was drawn almost exclusively from his latest record “Sweet Nothing” with only two songs from his earlier releases (I ran out of tape for the last track so I provided the album version). There is some tape hiss (this recording was from my analogue days) but I hope it is not too distracting. Enjoy.
Matthew Barber, Indigo Books, Kingston, 23 February 2006
1. banner (talk).mp3
2. Soft One.mp3
3. Somewhere in Your Sleep (title?).mp3
4. everyone, this is Stew (talk).mp3
5. Love/Death.mp3 (you can find Jill’s cover of “Love/Death” here)
6. Awful Dream.mp3
7. troopers (talk).mp3
8. Water From a Tap.mp3
9. another driving song (talk).mp3
10. Morning Light.mp3
11. song about songwriting (talk).mp3
12. Easy to Fall.mp3
13. you’re not captive here (talk).mp3
15. The Story of Your Life.mp3
16. secret record and kingston (talk).mp3
* The Beautiful Things That We Waste.mp3 (from “Means & Ends”)
You can get Barber’s records through Indigo. I recommend all three, particularly the ep “The Story of Your Life”.
January 12, 2007
B(oot)log has now been existence for one year. It was my birthday and none of you sent presents or even e-cards. Jerks. Ah, that’s ok. I forgive you – I sorta forgot about it too. Wow. One year. Isn’t that like 7 in blog years? Who knew I’d stick with it this long? Anyway for my birthday/anniversary I am going to take a weekend off, sort of, and post the work done by someone else.
As the b(oot)log faithful know, I go out of my way trying to bring you awesome stuff week after week. Awesomeness just doesn’t occur in Kingston, at least this is what I am told, so being the venerable music institution that I am, I have sent correspondents into the field to record the finest music out there across this great land. In what I hope will become an frequent occurrence, this post comes courtesy of the generous b(oot)logWest.
photo by Silje Ese Haugen from a show in Norway in 2005.
This is classic Geoff Berner set. It is filled with his literate lyrics, awesome accordian licks, and is full of intelligent, if sometimes rather bizarre, jokes made at the expense of himself, the audience, the French, the Germans, the Ukrainians, you know, just about everyone. While playing his wonderful, often very beautiful and equally as often highly amusing, narrative songs, Berner a is not above interrupting himself in order to expand on the story or to crack wise. He is part poet, part storyteller, part jester, part political commentator, part raving drunken lunatic, but above all is a fantastic musician and entertainer. Geoff Berner is one of the most engaging performers out there in my books.
Berner is releasing a new album titled “The Wedding Dance of the Widow Bride” on February 6th. He is spending February tour Canada and in March he is in Europe – check out his site for complete dates. He will be in Kingston at the Grad Club with Bob Wiseman on February 24th, so come on out and witness the whiskey-fuelled, accordian-driven mayhem yourself. It should be pretty awesome.
(ps. I think I tagged the genre something silly and not exactly accurate. I meant to change it before I uploaded the files and then promptly forgot. Feel free to invent your own genre for this one. I suggest “klezmer-folk-punk” or something along those lines)
Geoff Berner, Blue Chair Cafe, Edmonton, September 17, 2006
01. Intro by Harold (talk).mp3
02. Volcano God.mp3
03. Good Luck Now Intro (talk).mp3
04. Good Luck Now.mp3
05. Widow Bride Intro (talk).mp3
06. Widow Bride.mp3
07. That’s What Keeps The Rent Down Baby Intro (talk).mp3
08. That’s What Keeps The Rent Down Baby.mp3
09. Whiskey Rabbi Intro (talk).mp3
10. Whiskey Rabbi.mp3
11. Maginot Line Intro (talk).mp3
12. Maginot Line.mp3
13. Weep, Bride, Weep Intro (talk).mp3
14. Weep, Bride, Weep.mp3
15. Unlistenable Song Intro (talk).mp3
16. Unlistenable Song.mp3
17. Lucky God Damn Jew Intro (talk).mp3
18. Lucky God Damn Jew.mp3
19. Clown & Bard Intro (talk).mp3
20. Clown & Bard.mp3
21. How Come You’re So Fucked And Nothing Seems To Be Wrong Intro (talk).mp3
22. How Come You’re So Fucked And Nothing Seems To Be Wrong.mp3
Buy Geoff Berner’s albums from Black Hen Music.
January 11, 2007
When a copy of their new album “Are We Not Horses” fell into my hands I didn’t really know anything about Rock Plaza Central. Upon the first listen, I was confused (robot horses???Whaa???) but hooked nevertheless. It took a while to figure out what they are going on about (a post-apocalyptic future where robotic horses, who think they are real, are victorious in a battle against angels…or something along those lines) so thankfully this is a record that lends itself to repeat listens. The music is as complex and wonderful as the lyrics. While the subject matter is science fiction the sound is Americana (Canadiana? they are from Toronto, after all). But this is not your standard country-folk: along with guitar, banjo, mandolin and the other usual suspects, the sound is filled out with xylophone and shakers and a grade 3 choir and horns, amazing horns, which serve to build and build and then blast out in emphasis. The record is almost bipolar in tone, moving from moments of defeat and exasperation, found in lines like “…should tonight we die tonight, dear, there will be nothing left” (on “How Shall I To Heaven Aspire?”), to defiant jubilation with “Be joyful/My children be joyful!” a moment later. An album that deals with existential crises of robot horses (see the title track) is certainly a rare thing and if the theme sounds a bit odd or confusing don’t let it be off-putting. Rock Plaza Central has created an dazzling soundtrack to their unique, finely crafted fantasy world.
They are on the road for the next month or so, so be sure to check them out if you can here:
Saturday, Jan 13, 2007
Ottawa at Zaphod’s w/ As the Poets Affirm and My Dad vs Yours
Thursday, Jan 18, 2007
Guelph at E-Bar w/ The Constantines
Saturday, Jan 27, 2007
Montreal at Main Hall (5390 St. Laurent) w/ Oxford Collapse
Sunday, Jan 28, 2007
Toronto at Lee’s Palace w/ Oxford Collapse and Thunderbirds Are Now
Feb 17, 2007
NYC at The Glasslands (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) w/ Oxford Collapse and Meneguar
Of course I can’t leave you without posting a few tracks. These come from RPC’s visit to Irene’s Pub in Ottawa, with my thanks to MockingMusic.
I am loving the posters for the MM shows:
January 5, 2007
At the beginning of December, Ottawa’s As the Poets Affirm paid a visit to Kingston. Kingston’s music fans, however, were elseshere. Busy studying or something… I suppose this the trouble with playing a university town during exam time: it really cuts down on the casual concert goers. Despite a tiny and somewhat unenthusiastic audience, AtPA made a valiant attempt to showcase their new album “Awake.” The band’s stage show successfully translates their complex and carefully orchestrated sound into an energetic live performance. This came through in the best moments in this show, such as their performance of “Pan(Demonium)” and the Daft Punk cover where they really shined. Despite a lack-lustre atmosphere, a sparse and somewhat irritating audience, and technical difficulties which made for some lengthy pauses between songs, the music sounded great and they played a pretty cool show.
I am confident that AtPA will have a much better atmosphere in which to play when they open for Rock Plaza Central on January 13th as part of the Mocking Music Weekend Showcase.
As the Poets Affirm, Clark Hall Pub, Kingston, 2 December 2006
(as you can see I haven’t been able to identify four of the songs – listening to their albums I just can’t seem to pin them down tonight. Can anyone give me a hand with the titles?)