December 31, 2007
photo by Fireflyvt, at Divan Orange, Montreal, 17 Nov. 2007
There seemed to be quite a few bands that seemed to come out of nowhere to take the world by storm this year. Typical of this is Montreal’s Plants & Animals. Sure, they have a previous recording, but nothing to prepare me for what they unleashed in 2007 – the amazing “With/Avec EP”. They will release their full length album entitled “Parc Avenue” on March 25th – could Secret City snag the Polaris two years in a row? It is quite possible. Plants & Animals deliver sprawling, folk-tinged psychedelic rock. Each of the 4 songs on their EP are mini-epics, containing multiple twists and turns. Throughout the record genres and moods shift, as sounds hastily merge only to break apart. This is a foot stomping, stargazing, hands in the air rocker of an EP and they shined live onstage. They were energetic, jammy-but not too jammy, and pretty much all business as they tore through their set. They undoubtedly made fans of everyone in attendance.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year’s. See you in 2008.
Plants & Animals, Grad Club, Kingston, 12 October 2007
2. lots of vocals (talk)
3. Faerie Dance
4. beer? (talk)
5. Feedback In The Field
6. almost screwed up again (talk)
7. Bye Bye Bye
8. develop something on the drums (talk)
10. New Kind of Love
Buy the stunning ‘With/Avec EP” through Secret City.
December 23, 2007
photo of taken at (and courtesy of) The Artel, Kingston, December 1, 2006
A month ago Sandro Perri took the small stage in a small venue and filled it with his very large songs. Listening to the recording it is almost hard to believe that one man was responsible for the lush, full sound produced. The simple percussion of a bass drum grounded Perri’s intricate guitar work and provided scaffolding on which his voice saunters before rising, his words becoming abstractions. It was a bit surprising that Eric Chenaux, who shared the bill that evening and who played on Perri’s “Tiny Mirrors”, did not join Perri onstage, but with a bit of looping, some electronics, some harmonica, and a strange contraption which Perri pulled out from the inside of his guitar, Perri deftly provided his own backing. He moved effortlessly from gentle strums and delicate picking, whispering his lyrics to an emphatic, passionate delivery with thunderous guitar work, never ceasing to be anything less than mesmerizing.
Sandro Perri, The Artel, Kingston, 22 November 2007
1. Double Suicide
2. Love Is Real
3. nice to be back (talk)
4. City of Museums
5. use your imagination (talk)
7. Sky Histoire
8. Family Tree
9. enough said (talk)
10. Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)
11. severe objections (talk)
12. Tears Die Upon the Floor (with my thanks to Shane for providing me with the title to this track)
Pick up one of the year’s best records, “Tiny Mirrors”, through Constellation. If you are going to be in Toronto for New Year’s Eve you would be wise to check out Perri at the Tranzac who will be performing a Glissandro70 dj set.
December 18, 2007
photo taken at Baba’s in Charlottetown, August 11, 2007.
While this is not “news” by any means – others have beaten me to this by months – it is both timely and interesting.
Rich Aucoin had an inspired idea. Take a Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and alter it. He did not redraw or reedit, but rather created a new soundtrack, changing the meaning of the images; infusing the beloved film with new life.This took time, patience, creativity, ingenuity, but I think you will agree that it was worth the effort as his album “Personal Publication” becomes intertwined with the hallucinogenic world of the Grinch. His lush orchestrations, featuring upwards of 25 instruments all played by Aucoin, pour over you relentlessly as the images are made strange(r).
Rich Aucoin had another inspired idea. Take a a bicycle and tour coast-to-coast raising money for a children’s cancer charity all the while. This took time, persistence, strength, courage, and a touch of audacity. Not many bands make true cost-to-coast tours in Canada: the distance is too daunting. I imagine no one else has attempted to do it on a bicycle. You can read about his tour, in Aucoin’s own words.
Here are some things for you to do:
Visit YouTube to watch the synch of Personal Publication/How The Grinch Stole Christmas (sorry I can’t seem to embed the youtube video in my post).
Listen to a couple of songs:
Listen to a couple more on his myspace – especially the xmassy “Oh My God, My Love” which you can download for your very own xmas mixtape.
Buy the album for yourself.
Congratulations to Ammie who is the winner of the Buck65 contest. My thanks to all who entered.
December 15, 2007
photo taken by Allsoldout at Toronto’s Harbourfront, August 26, 2006
Having seen Torngat perform in the last days of 2006, they were poised to become one of my favourite bands of 2007. The release of “You Could Be” sealed the deal and their return to the Grad Club in October was icing on the cake. Their new record is their strongest release to date (and don’t get me wrong I lovelovelove their eponymous debut and the EP “La Rouge”), with its soaring horns, intricate and at times carnivalesque keyboards, electronics with just the perfect amount of glitch, and spot on percussion. They capture the greatness of their joyous album live with the added bonus of just touch of improvisation. The trio of Pietro Amato, Mathieu Charbonneau, and Julien Poissant were are exceptionally tight onstage, innately knowing when to enter, when to fade out, just how long to let their part build and they stop on a dime.
They didn’t spend too much time talking to the crowd – they don’t have vocal mics, after all – but when they did they were warm and humourous. Torngat performed nearly all the songs off their new album and entered the crowd during the encore for an “old song” (which I can’t for the life of me figure out title of) whereupon Pietro and Julien played a game of brassband ‘marco polo’ chasing each other throughout the various rooms of the Grad Club.
I’ve decided not to post the entire set but if you like what you hear here let me know and I might be persuaded to share the rest. And do buy the record because it is utterly fantastic.
Torngat, Grad Club, Kingston, 20 October 2007
* Moutin Noir
* You Could Be
* Bordeaux Boredom
* Celebrating New
* Minute By Minute
updated to include
* Finger Painting
* Surf [I finally figured out the name of this song!]
Pick up a copy of each of the Torngat records for someone you love. In fact, you will want to buy two: one to give away and one to keep for yourself.
And don’t forget to enter my Buck 65 contest (see post below) which ends Tuesday at noon.
December 11, 2007
Looking for that perfect gift for the audiophile in your life? Well, I might just be able to you help you out. With only a few short days until Xmas we’re featuring a pretty rad contest. We have, for one lucky individual, an autographed copy of Buck 65‘s new album “Situation“, courtesy of Warner Music Canada.
This is something of a return to hiphop form for Buck65 (and it is refreshingly unlike any other hiphop I am familiar with, although I admit I am not expert in the genre). With relentless flow of gritty rhymes, Buck65 is never rushed in delivering his lyrics: he methodically lets his stories unfold. And let me tell you, there are stories. Ably backed by Skratch Bastid, Buck 65 provides an detailed examination of the year 1957 – its preoccupations, its highs and its underside that is often overlooked in our rose-tinted impressions of the ’50s – the Golden Age of Rock n’ Roll & radio, cars with fins, poets, pin ups & pornography, baseball, and street fights.
Here’s a sample:
Way Back When (stream)
Want it? Sure you do. For a chance to win just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Buck 65 contest”, or something similar, in the subject line. I will choose a winner at random. Contest closes at noon (EST) on Tuesday, December 18th.
December 9, 2007
photo of Jason Collett at the Grad Club on 26 November 2005 by Tamingnoise.
Hey hey folks. Greetings from Columbus, OH. B(oot)log is on the road in a pre-holiday trip to meet & greet friends and family and take advantage of the strong Canadian dollar (or weak US dollar, as it were). But I shall be back home in time for the next Arts&Crafts artist who is coming through Kingston. We had Apostle of Hustle, then Hidden Cameras, Broken Social Scene hit town last week and now we are going to be graced by Jason Collett. Of all the A&C stable, Collett is the most straight-forward singer-songwriter type. He sings songs rooted in place, traveling songs, and songs for swaying and staring. Collett sings songs about Parry Sound and the 401, but even if you don’t know what he is referring to, his finely crafted stories will mesmerize you. He coos and whispers but his confident, warm voice soars in the rocking moments, of which there are many.
In February, Collett will be releasing a new album, “Here’s to Being Here”. In his solo performance last year at the Grad Club, he previewed a number of songs which are going to be found on his new record and I think it is pretty safe to say that it is going to be another fantastic collection of songs. Onstage, he held the potentially chatty Friday night crowd in check with his wonderful songs and with his banter which was snarky to start and highly amusing once he knew the crowd was in the palm of his hand. Come see for yourself – he is back at the Grad Club on December 14th and will be in Toronto at the Dakota Tavern on December 11th and again on the 18th for what’s being called “Jason Collett’s Basement Revue”.
Jason Collett, Grad Club, Kingston, 1 December 2006
1. intro & known for throwing hissy fits (talk)
2. Roll On Oblivion
4. i’m gonna be on your ass all night (talk)
5. We All Lose One Another
6. kinda screwy, but there is a charm (talk)
7. i know you’re lonely (title?)
8. pale moon symetry (title?) [update – this song is Feral Republic. Thanks Bryan.]
9. a little story of mine (talk)
10. Pink Night
11. a little creepy trying to enjoy the good weather (talk)
12. Parry Sound
13. Through the Night These Days
14. a little tip of the hat to Kingston (talk)
15. No Redemption Song
16. Hangover Days
18. i don’t have that pride anymore (talk)
19. Waiting for the World
20. Brownie Hawkeye
21. I’ll Bring The Sun
22. only want to get you high (title?) [update: this song is “Glad Girls (Guided By Voices cover)”, with my thanks Cmelman for the info]
23. problem with microphones (talk)
24. Pavement Puddle Stars
25. encore break & I thought you let that grudge go (talk)
26. Bitter Beauty
Treat yourself or someone else this holiday season and pick up Collett’s records and shirts.
December 1, 2007
photo by Optimuscrime from the Hidden Cameras performance at the Grad Club, 27 October 2005.
The Hidden Cameras offer you pure, glorious pop . Their music is at times anthemic and at others graceful and it is never hampered with cynicism or sarcasm. In slower moments you will find vulnerability and lush orchestration. In the up-tempo moments you will be treated to rollicking, rock’n’roll stompers that will make you shimmy and clap and bounce and smile. Behind it all is Joel Gibb’s strong voice and personality.
Onstage the songs really come alive. Performances in the past featured male go-go dancers and the band performing in blindfolds, or so I understand, but even without tricks and tropes they are amazing to watch. In the show where the above photo was taken they crammed seven people on the stage plus had a cellist and a viola player sitting off to the side. There was banjo, there was xylophone, there was coordinated dancing. The Hidden Cameras put on one of the most engaging shows out there.
And you can witness the spectacle and majesty for yourself tonight (sorry for the late notice) at the Grad Club. I understand that they will be previewing a bunch of new songs so get out there and see what the band has been working on. Here are the remaining dates of their East Coast tour:
1 Dec Kingston, ON Queen’s University Grad Club
2 Dec Montreal, PQ La Sala Rosa
4 Dec Sackville, NB George’s
5 Dec Halifax, NS The Attic
7 Dec Cornerbrook, NF Club Vertigo
8 Dec St. John’s, NF The Rock Club
To get you in the mood here is a conference recording from the finest people in Seattle, KEXP.
The Hidden Cameras, KEXP/The Triple Door, Seattle, 2 December 2006
1. intro (talk)
2. Builds the Bone
3. Follow These Eyes
4. Boys of Melody
6. She’s Gone
7. Hump from Bending
8. Music is My Boyfriend
10. only for the radio (talk)
11. The Waning Moon
12. what’s it called? (talk)
13. Death of a Tune