March 31, 2007
Ok. I’m running really short of time so this post is gonna be short and sweet – just like songs produced by today’s featured artist the Bicycles. This Toronto six-piece make insanely catchy, ultra-concentrated, little nuggets of pop goodness. Their sixties bubblegum sound is laden with horns, harmonies and tambourines and it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.
The Bicycles are opening for the Ride Theory TONIGHT at the Grad Club (sorry I didn’t give you more of a heads up on this one and it should be a great time. The recording below was from their visit to The Artel a couple of months ago. Just so you know, the vocals were pretty low in the mix so you can’t always hear them but the band sounds great throughout. Hope you dig it.
The Bicycles, The Artel, Kingston, 26 January 2007
1. you should go to the grad club (talk).mp3
2. Ah Ha! (title?).mp3
3. quit tellin’ us what to do (talk).mp3
5. we’re full (talk).mp3
6. Gotta Get Out.mp3
7. did it again (talk).mp3
8. I Know We Have to Be Apart.mp3
10. remember what we went over in practice (talk).mp3
11. Paris Be Mine.mp3
12. I Will Appear For You.mp3
13. Luck of Love.mp3
14. Kingston, you’re fattening us up (talk).mp3
15. End of A Good Thing.mp3
17. lucky 9 (talk).mp3
18. Two Girls From Montreal.mp3
19. pretend to leave (talk).mp3
20. Cuddly Toy.mp3
21. only bands that end in “ies” (talk).mp3
22. Jingle Jangle (The Archives cover).mp3
March 24, 2007
photos from Miles From Nowhere, who also has some videos from the evening.
Next weekend Jill Barber will return to the Grad Club. If you’ve read b(oot)log with any regularity you will know that I am a fan and have featured her on more than one occassion in these pages. I don’t know what Barber is like onstage elsewhere, but at the Grad Club, it is always like a homecoming. She is charming, chatty and engaging, telling stories and interacting with the audience. Her “smokey-folky” songs are never less that enchanting. This is what it was like at her Kingston CD release party last November and I have no doubt that the same will hold true for next Friday.
This performance was a bit different than the previous shows I attended, as Barber wasn’t alone onstage this time. Here, she was accompanied by Les Cooper on guitar and local legend Spencer Evans played the clarinet and piano (he also played the role of shameless promoter for the new album). The accompaniment added a richness to the songs and filled out the sound. With the exception of a less than successful attempt of an audience member harmonizing on “Two Brown Eyes,” the show was wonderful. The set drew heavily from “For All Time” but Barber also played material from her two eps as well as a handful of covers, including the an absolutely lovely rendition of a Rose Cousins song.
I highly recommend coming out to see her here next Friday if you can or if you live in Nova Scotia or BC she’ll be touring there in April. Below are the rest of the Ontario dates. See her myspace for full listings.
25 Mar London Music Club, London (Ont.) (with Matthew Barber)
26 Mar Casbah, Hamilton
29 Mar E-Bar, Guelph (with Matthew Barber)
30 Mar Grad Club, Kingston
Jill Barber, Grad Club, Kingston, 23 November 2006
1. intro (talk).mp3
2. Just for Now.mp3
3. Don’t Go Easy.mp3
4. this is a fantasy , this is not about reality (talk).mp3
5. Measurs & Scales.mp3
6. tonight is a celebration of sorts (talk).mp3
7. Ashes to Ashes.mp3
8. let me know (talk).mp3
9. In Perfect Time.mp3
10. i wish my family gatherings are like this (talk).mp3
11. For All Time.mp3
12. i want to believe in ghosts (talk).mp3
14. I don’t know how I feel about fruit in my drinks (talk).mp3
15. Dance if you Want To (Rose Cousins cover).mp3
16. any brave souls? (talk).mp3
17. Two Brown Eyes.mp3
18. do you like the lady’s scotch? (talk).mp3
19. Starting to Show.mp3
20. a little lounge-y (talk).mp3
21. When I’m Making Love To You.mp3
22. another special request (talk).mp3
23. Dream a Little Dream of Me (cover).mp3
24. a little song written by a guy (talk).mp3
25. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams cover).mp3
March 21, 2007
You know that on any given weekend there is probably something cool happening in town and chances are that things are going down at the Grad Club. This week is no different and there is a show on Saturday that I want to draw your attention to featuring two rather exciting bands.
The evening’s headliners, the Born Ruffians, are blowing up all over the place. And rightfully so. They have a great combination of infectious hooks, a very visible rhythm section which will get your feet a-movin’, quick-fire changes of tempo, and yelped vocals which are forceful but not grating. Everything comes across as a matter of urgency. It is jagged and barbed one moment and melodic the next. We are taken into the head of vocalist Luke Lalonde, who seems driven by his frustration and desperation. He lays it all out for us to see without embarrassment.
You can find their KEXP set over at I(heart)Music which features a great cover of Grizzly Bear’s “Knife” and a couple of weeks back they performed a set of stripped down songs (Lalonde was performing solo) and did an interview for AOL Interface which features a new song and three off their ep. Check it out here (the mp3 link only seems to give a minute and a half so try streaming it). Here’s one song:
Hitting the stage first will be We’re Marching On (or “WAMO” to those in the know…but I think it should really be “W’MO” but I guess that doesn’t have the same effect). This foursome should be really interesting to see live. Their ep “Argh! Umph! Ahh!” really is just a tease, featuring four songs with intro and outro tracks. These four songs are pretty eclectic (and that is by no means a bad thing) so I am curious to see how they pull a set together. Those few songs, however, are really fantastic. The disc starts out slowly, with fuzzed-out vocals plodding along but quickly switches gears becomes frantic, featuring a horns and spazzy synths, multiple vocalists calling out the lyrics, and fierce drumming keeping it all going. The songs shift several times in the middle so you are constantly kept off balance. Just at the point that the band might devolve into chaos, they reign things in and break out two slowburning tracks showing a rather different side of the band. They finish with the exceptionally soulful “1800s” (see below) which has a keyboard line that drives the song along, adding a melodic structure to the vocals which absolutely drip with passion. The individual elements of this song repeat with minor variations, mixing and building with strength until the drum-solo finish.
Here’s the tour dates:
March 22 Toronto @ Horseshoe Tavern
March 23 Ottawa @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
March 24 Kingston @ Grad Club
March 27 Guelph @ The Bookshelf E-Bar
March 28 Hamilton @ Casbah (Lounge)
March 29 London @ Call The Office
March 30 Brantford @ The Ford Plant!
Two mid-week posts. I better slow down or I just might strain something. I think I should go rest. I’ll see y’all on the weekend for my regularly scheduled post.
March 19, 2007
As many of you will know, CBC’s amazing Radio 3 has been axed from the terrestrial airwaves. Sure, there still will be the podcast and, if you can afford satellite radio, it is on Sirius, but there will be a definite hole in my Saturday night. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in thinking that taking Radio 3 off the air is a mistake but the brass at the Ceeb think that it is wise to do away with a stellar show which features predominantly Canadian indie music at a time when indie rock, and Canadian indie rock in particular, couldn’t be any hotter. I’m no media expert so perhaps I’m mistaken. The upshot of if all is that the masses will be deprived of something really cool and that really blows.
I was away from hearth and home (and radio) on Saturday night so I didn’t get to listen to the last show live but I did record it. At least some of it. Due to technical error, or most likely my boneheadedness, I only got from 7:30 to 11pm. From what I heard of it, Saturday’s show was a celebration of the program and its predecessors. The good and the great called in to talk, reminisce, and recall the good times and, of course, play some really awesome music. All in all it was a pretty way to go out.
The greatest thing of all was the live in-studio appearance of two of the greatest musicians around: John K. Samson and Christine Fellows. Because of the aforementioned non-recording of the last bit of the show, I only got one song from each, but man-oh-man are they great. I know they played a few more songs, including “Left and Leaving” and if you happen to have successfully recorded the rest of session and would be kind enough to share it with me you would totally be my hero (I live in hope that they put the session on the Radio3 site). Anyway, from me to you, from the best radio show around, may it rest in peace, here is one last sample of the great things that CBCRadio3 brought to Canada week in and week out.
* John K Samson, The Reasons (live on CBCRadio3, 17 March 2007)
* Christine Fellows, Vertebrae (live on CBCRadio3, 17 March 2007)
JKS records with a little outfit called The Weakerthans and you can get their records here and here and the stunning work of Christine Fellows can be found here. Your record collection is severely deprived without them.
March 15, 2007
I can’t freakin’ believe it: WordPress just ate my entire post when I went to save it. Below you will find a completely re-written version…you’ll just have to take my word for it that the original post I had for you was much more eloquent.
If there are any banjo lovers among the b(oot)log faithful, they you are in for a treat this week. Kingston is going to be visited by not one but two bands which feature some awesome banjo action. First up, who I just want to quickly mention before moving on to my planned feature, will be Old Man Luedecke who will be at The Artel on Friday, March 16th. Fitting firmly into the standard folk/bluegrass traditional sonically, Luedecke knows his stuff. But he is not afraid to explore more contemporary scenarios in his some of his lyrics, bringing the traditional sound to bear on modern themes. What to have a little sample? I’m happy to oblige.
* Cemetaries Downtown
These songs come from OML’s latest release “Hinterland” which can be found on Black Hen Music, who kindly provided the above tracks, and can also be acquired from the kind folks at Zunior.
Great Lake Swimmers photo by DoneWaiting, taken at HighFive, Columbus, OH, 7 April 2006
The second group that features banjo coming to town this weekend are the Great Lake Swimmers, who will be hitting the Grad Club with Julie Fader on St. Patrick’s Day. Unlike Old Man Luedecke, Great Lake Swimmers aren’t defined by their banjo use, but it is certainly present and it is a key component in their sound. And this sound is extraordinary. It is subtle but affecting. The atmosphere created evokes indistinct memories, faces faded with time, and the specters of events that are all but forgotten. Great Lake Swimmers are melancholic but are not bleak. With their musicianship they draw you closer, where Tony Dekker’s exquisitely crafted lyrics ensnare you. They will haunt you for day after hearing them.
Their stunning new album “Ongiara” is released in Canada on March 27th (later in other parts of the world) but is available now online at Zunior and other fine electronic retailers. The lead track “Your Rocky Spine” alone is worth the price.
This week’s session was recorded in the Ceeb’s Toronto studio in 2004. While I am willing to accept all the accolades you will no doubt heap upon me for sharing this, I must give credit where credit is due: Muzzle of Bees posted this set originally a few months ago. However, I feel it is worth putting up again for those of you who might have missed it over there. Enjoy.
Great Lake Swimmers, CBC Studios, Toronto, 16 August 2004
Bonus track (because it makes me grin insanely every time I hear it)
* See You On The Moon!
You can pick up all sorts of wonderful Great Lake Swimmers stuff at Zunior or you can get the albums from Weewerk and Nettwerk. The ridiculously wonderful “See You On The Moon!: Songs for Kids of All Ages” can be acquired from PaperBagRecords, if you ask them politely.
March 9, 2007
photo by Miles from Nowhere.
Remember how I said that Jon-Rae and the River‘s last show in Kingston was the best show I saw last year? Well, get ready Kingston, ’cause they are back in Kingston tonight, and this isn’t something you want to be unprepared for. You need to warm yourself up before immersing yourself in the sweaty, sexy, booze-soaked rocking out that will be going on at the Grad Club. If you go in cold, you probably will collapse from the awesomeness. I suggest getting to the Grad Club early and having several stiff drinks, stretch your biceps so you don’t hurt yourself with the fist-pumping you are bound to do, and listen to the tracks I’ve posted below from Jon-Rae & the River’s appearance on CBC’s Fuse with violinist Anne Lindsay (a quick note: the stream I recorded off of was a bit crappy so there is some “popping” throughout the recording, my apologies). Do these three simple things and you will be all set for tonight. It’s gonna be great.
Tonight’s gig is the first in an honest-to-goodness coast-to-coast tour, hitting all 10 provinces in this great land of ours (sorry territories, looks like you get left out). After they hit Kingston, The River are heading out to Newfoundland where they will be joined by a little rock n’ roll outfit you may have heard of called The Constantines. When they get to Nova Scotia, Shotgun and Jaybird join the party until they get to Toronto at which time Ladyhawk comes on board to rock out to the west coast. Man, just typing that out seems awesome. Check out JR&theR’s site for full dates.
Jon-Rae and the River and Anne Lindsay, Fuse, CBC Radio, broadcast January 27, 2007
March 2, 2007
photos from Grant Hall, Kingston, 28 February 2006
Do you like to dance? Of course you do. But being the cool rocker kid that you are, the sleazy meat markets aren’t exactly your scene. Well, this is where Holy Fuck comes in. Using the weirdest assortment of sound-emitting devices (but without the aid of laptops) they create improvised dance music that will get your staid indie-ass moving. Their music is complexly layered, sometimes jarring but never without some serious beats, and is always incredible to watch. While I dig their record a lot, they really come alive on stage. Seeing Brian Borcherdt frantically pulling filmstrips through a machine is an intense live-music experience.
If you are in the Kingston area forget about the freezing rain and get yourself to the Grad Club tonight (you probably want to get your ticket early as I’m told they are going fast) and witness the spectacle yourself. The two times I’ve seen Holy Fuck before were in significantly larger venues and I am curious to see if the Grad Club can contain the awesomeness without collapsing in on itself. Come and see for yourself. [note: be sure to return to the Grad Club this Saturday for In-Flight Safety and Two Hours Traffic.]
As you can see from the titles below I haven’t a clue what the songs are called. Holy Fuck do improvise a lot onstage so they may, in fact, not have titles. But if you happen to know what any of the tracks below are called please feel free to let me know. Hope to see you on the dance floor.
Holy Fuck, AJ’s Alehouse, Kingston, 13 September 2006
2. we don’t have a singer (talk).mp3
3. Tone Bank Jungle.mp3
4. They’re Going to Have to Take My Thumbs.mp3 [title updated]
5. Track 5.mp3
6. Track 6.mp3
8. pants exploded (talk).mp3
9. Frenchy’s.mp3 [title updated]
10. Lovely Allen.mp3 [title updated – with thanks to Ikram]
11. trying stuff we haven’t done before (talk).mp3
12. The Pulse.mp3 [title updated]
13. Track 13.mp3
And, coincidentally, Holy Fuck are this week’s guests on my new favourite cooking show – Let’s Get Baked with Mat & Dave. Check out the podcast and learn how to make ‘Improv Spaghetti Squash and Tofu Scramble.’ Awesome.