October 31, 2007

The Weakerthans, The Current, MPR, 25 September 2007

Posted in mp3, radio session at 12:45 am by rgsc

You and I both have been waiting for what seems like ever and ever for the fourth Weakerthans album. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t left a shade underwhelmed at first listen. Given that they took four years to complete the album I was expecting to be knocked on my ass with awesomeness. As it stands I think it is a good record (and a good record by the Weakerthans is better than 98% of what is out there), but wished they rocked out a little more often. I hope that with a bit more time Reunion Tour attains the classic status in my mind along side with its predecessors.

What is undeniable after spending a bit of time with Reunion Tour, however, is that John K Samson is one of the most talented songwriters around. He continued his streak of crafting intimate tales centred exclusively around domestic life in a Canada, where people really do get that excited about curling and it is colder than all get out for a good portion of the year. Despite the site-specificity of much of his output, Samson manages to nevertheless ensure that there is a universal quality to his lyrics, resulting that listeners can identify with his narrators, even if they couldn’t point out Winnipeg on a map if their lives depended on it. The musicianship behind Samson is impeccably solid, as one would expect, and Ian Blurton has managed a fine balance of complexity and depth while managing to keep all the individual elements distinct.

The band is on tour and will be hitting all kinds of places near you, as long as you live in Ontario. Check it out:

Nov. 1 – Boston
Nov. 2 – Montreal
Nov. 3 – Quebec City
Nov. 4 – Ottawa,
Nov. 6 – Kingston, ON – at the Elixir – tickets are well on their way to being sold out so get yours now here or at the usual places.
Nov. 7&8 – Toronto (with Christine Fellows who will be releasing her fantastic new album the day before)
Nov. 9 – London, ON

On Nov. 22 through Dec. 12. they will be touring the UK and Europe. Check out the Weakerthans site for full details.

Now onto some live goodies courtesy (again) of the amazing folks over at MPR who have come through for you and I with an acoustic set with Winnipeg’s cherished chroniclers. Enjoy. I’ll try to check in before the 6th with a few live tracks from Jenn Grant, who will be opening for the Weakerthans during their November dates.

If you want to win a copy of Reunion Tour head on over to I{Heart}Music for a review of the record and a contest.

The Weakerthans, The Current, MPR, 25 September 2007

1. intro
2. Night Windows
3. mostly lies (talk)
4. Civil Twilight
5. March is a deceiving month (talk)
6. Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call

Support MPR by buying all the Weakerthans records using their link here.

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October 18, 2007

Spiral Beach, Wolfe Island Music Fest, 11 August 2007

Posted in bootleg, mp3 at 12:18 pm by rgsc

check out Chromewaves for better photos from the day.

On Tuesday, Spiral Beach released their second album, “Ball.” This album will confirm what fans of their self-titled debut know and is sure to bring the band to the attention of many more people. They use the same sonic building blocks as their first album but manage to produce a record that is much richer and more textured. Using spooky synths and eerie vocals, capped off with rock-solid drumming and hook-filled guitar work, Spiral Beach have crafted a highly distinctive sound. The exuberance and intensity that is found in their live show – and which was largely absent from their first album – is successfully captured here. And let me tell you, they put on an intense live show. For a taste, you can check out my recording of their set from this year’s Wolfe Island Music Fest below (and a recording from Toronto earlier in the year, here).

You can and should see Spiral Beach for yourself this Friday in Kingston at the Grad Club – playing with the fantastically eccentric Wax Mannequin (get your tickets HERE or at the Grad Club)

Full dates can be found on their Myspace and here’s quick list of their upcoming shows:

Oct 18 The Arbour Room / Hart House Theatre, U of T (basement) Toronto, ON (TONIGHT!)
Oct 19 The Grad Club Kingston, ON
Oct 26 The Ford Plant Brantford, ON
Nov 01 The Phoenix Toronto, ON w/ Go! Team
Nov 10 The Black Sheep Inn Wakefield, QC w/ Wax Mannequin and The Miles!
Nov 11 The Pepperjack Hamilton, ON w/ Wax Mannequin
Nov 15 Ebar Guelph, ON w/ Elbow Beach Surf Club

Spiral Beach, Wolfe Island Music Fest, 11 August 2007

1. New Clouds, Hot Clouds
2. Rocket Fuel
3. buy it for cheap (talk)
4. Voodoo
5. cheer loudly (talk)
6. Kind of Beast
7. improvisational spirit (talk)
8. Philosophy is My Cat/Wolfe Island Ferry is a Very Nice Ferry
9. “Somewhere for my head to lay” (new song)
10. We Saw Ghosts
11. Astro Girl
12. tents & rock n’ roll (talk)
13. Casual T

Be sure to pick up their new disc – first 50 orders get an autographed copy. Or check out Zunior for a digital version.

October 15, 2007

Patrick Watson, Grad Club, Kingston, 9 February 2007

Posted in bootleg, mp3 at 1:18 pm by rgsc

photo by Djenvert, taken 15 May2007 at la Boule Noire, Paris

It is old news now that Patrick Watson won the 2007 Polaris Prize. I was quite surprised with the announcement as it never occurred to me that he was really even in the running. I got the album days prior to seeing him live in February and while I was very impressed with his live performance, the album didn’t really do it for me like some of the other albums that were nominated. That is not to say, however, that Watson didn’t deserve to be on the list or that he doesn’t deserve the prize, as “Close to Paradise” is quite a striking album. Since the prize was awarded I have spent a little more time with the record and its strengths are becoming more and more apparent.

In “Close to Paradise,” Watson and his bandmates crafted a series of lush lullabies. The songs are filled with swirling electronics from which guitars and piano emerge. But things are not always so straightforward, as the dreamlike melodies are punctuated by shifts in tempo and volume and the songs build into crescendos and which, on occasion feature carnivalesque moments (see ‘Weight of the World’ and ‘The Storm’ for example) that, while not nightmarish, certainly unsettle things. Watson’s dynamic voice keeps you enthralled throughout as he croons and warbles, dips and soars. Watson has a wide vocal range and easily shifts from delivering his lyrics in a soft, almost whispered, voice to a powerful falsetto. The Grad Club seemed to be an ideal place for seeing Watson perform. The intimacy of the songs were reflected in space and it felt as if Watson were letting us in on a series of carefully guarded secrets. They performed the majority of the songs off “Close to Paradise”, a selection of which you will find below. Watson is a confident frontman, getting lost in his songs when playing, but emerging to engage with the audience, chatting and telling stories.

Patrick Watson, Grad Club, Kingston, 9 February 2007

* Giver

* The Storm

* Weight of the World

* Slip Into Your Skin

* Luscious Life

Buy the Polaris winning Close to Paradise.

October 10, 2007

Patrick Watson and Torngat, Fuse, CBC Radio, 1 July 2007 broadcast

Posted in mp3, radio session at 2:04 pm by rgsc

I know, I know, I’m even later this week posting than I was last week. What can I say, I’m a bad blogger. And since I don’t have much more time now than I did on the weekend to post I thought I would give you this one song which is (sorta) topical for the following two reasons:

1. Much to my surprise Patrick Watson was recently announced as the winner of the 2007 Polaris Prize. Who saw that coming? Not I. I think I will do a full write-up on Watson for my next post so I won’t go into too much detail here except to say that I really enjoyed the live show but didn’t feel the record was the best of the bunch. Just my 2 cents…which is worth just about that much. The Polaris jury’s opinion is worth $20k so I’m sure what they think is of more importance to Watson than my ramblings. Anyway, congrats to Watson & co. and I will talk more about them later. Watson is on tour in Quebec at the moment and will be heading to the UK & Europe at the end of the month with Cold War Kids. Dates here – note that there have been some cancellations in Quebec. (buy the Polaris Prize winning album Close to Paradise here).

2. The absolutely amazing Torngat have just released a fantastic new record called You Could Be and they are coming to the Grad Club in Kingston on October 20th. I saw them last year and this three piece blew me away. They produce stunning postrock/improve jazz featuring french horn, keyboards and drums. I can’t recommend this band highly enough. Go see them live – they are playing in Ottawa, Guelph, Kingston, and NYC in the near future (more details here) and be sure to pick up their all their records – each of which has the “b(oot)log seal of approval” (again, for what its worth). (buy You Could Be).

CBC’s Fuse, which as you all know is probably the best show on the radio anywhere, brought together Watson and Torngat earlier in the year. I’ve missed hearing the show when it was broadcast, much to my dismay, but I did catch their Canada Day show where they played outtakes/songs that didn’t make the original hour-long broadcasts from various shows over the previous season. They included this new song from Patrick Watson, penned, I assume, by bassist Mishka Stein. Torngat’s swirling atmospherics blend beautifully with Watson’s soaring, echoing vocals. Unfortunately there’s a bit of static (or something) in my recording but it is a pretty great song and I hope you enjoy it.

Patrick Watson and Torngat – Mishka’s Song

That’s it for now. Have a great week. Since I most certainly won’t be writing before be sure to check out the Exclaim tour featuring Plants & Animals, The Acorn & Elliot Brood at the Grad Club on Friday which is going to be rad (and check the above link for dates in other cities across the country).

And if you happen to have an extra ticket or two for Tegan and Sara on Thursday I would be willing to give you my undying love and some money for it. I went to pick up my tickets for the show when I got back to town and they are all sold out. That’s what I get for leaving town, i ‘spose…So, hook me up people! If not, lemme know how it went.

October 2, 2007

Kevin Drew, The Hub, BBC6 Radio, 5 September 2007

Posted in mp3, radio session at 8:44 pm by rgsc

photo from The Line of Best Fit, who has Kevin Drew answer 20 Questions.

Howdy folks. I know I’m a few days late in posting and, while you would think that my admittedly slack schedule shouldn’t be hard to keep up with things sometimes keep me away from the computer. My excuse this time is that I’m on holidays. Right now I’m taking a few minutes away from my (much deserved, if I say so myself) vacation in Cape Cod to post. So please forgive me for being a few days behind.

Broken Social Sceneter Kevin Drew has released an(other) exceptional album in “Spirit If…” Fans of the BSS collective will surely not be disappointed and while this album probably won’t open the eyes and ears of the unconverted it is, ultimately, their loss. Drew’s breathy vocals meld with the complexly layered songs that are BSS’ hallmark. His lyrics are as dense as the instrumentation and poetic snippets will occasionally float above the music to grab your attention, shaking you awake with their poignancy just as the music has made you complacent with its dreaminess. Drew has made a beautiful album in which the ideas of the last BSS record have been given room to evolve and develop with equal doses of intimacy suitable to the solo artist format and out and out rockers which make great use of all the folks credited in the liner notes. This album has been on heavy rotation while I’ve been driving around the Cape and with each listen it grows on me, giving up a few more of its secrets while reassuring me that there is always going to be something wonderfully enigmatic left about it. About a month ago Drew visited Tom Robinson who was filling in for Gideon Coe at the Beeb. Below you will find the interview along with two songs (including one written that morning prior to the show) that Drew played. I hope you dig it and I’ll catch up with you when I get back to my Home and Native Land.

Kevin Drew, Gideon Coe (Tom Robinson sitting in), The Hub, BBC6 Radio, 5 September 2007

1. spiritual return (talk)
2. Safety Bricks
3. gotta clear some stuff up (talk)
4. Untitled (new song – exclusive to BBC6)
5. outro (talk)

Buy “Sprit If…” from Arts & Crafts.