February 24, 2008
photo of Jason Collett at the Grad Club on 26 November 2005 by Tamingnoise.
Its singer-songwriter week here in Kingston. On Friday evening we will be entertained by the Barber’s Sibling Revelry Tour (which I’ve been talking about for the last two weeks – do you have your tickets yet?) and that will be followed up by Jason Collett with Peter Elkas on Saturday night. Both shows are happening at the Grad Club and both shows are going to be great. Mr. Collett is out on the road promoting his new album “Here’s to Being Here” which is a worthy successor to 2005’s excellent “Idols of Exile”. There is no great departure here from his previous work, which is by no means a bad thing. All the hallmarks of great Collett songs are still present: evocative lyrics delivered confidently and strong musicianship backing the vocals without detracting from them. The new album does exhibit subtly differences, though, as it seems a little more carefully produced but without ever coming across as glossy or artificial. Equally comfortable belting out the rockers as he is whispering plaintive lines, Collet’s songs feature moments of beauty offset by gritty bits which, frankly, make them more interesting than your average guy-with-a-guitar fare. Come on out on Saturday and see what I mean. Not from Kingston? No worries, Collett will be touring Canada and the US throughout March and April and just might visit a town near you. A few dates are listed below but there are a ton more at his myspace.
27 Feb 2008 – The Casbah, Hamilton
28 Feb 2008 – Starlight, Waterloo
29 Feb 2008 – Montreal House, Peterborough
1 Mar 2008 – Grad Club, Kingston
6 Mar 2008 – Lee’s Palace, Toronto
8 Mar 2008 – Call The Office, London, On
Here is my recording of Collett’s last visit to Kingston. He played a long and great solo set of old favourites as well as a bunch of new songs to an attentive crowd. It was pretty fantastic. I hope you enjoy.
Jason Collett, Grad Club, Kingston, 14 December 2007
1. Tinsel and Sawdust
2. small disclaimer (talk)
3. Pink Night
5. house is tipping (talk)
6. Feral Republic
7. “I remember when” (title?)
8. Honey I Don’t Know
9. take a good thing and call it super (talk)
10. Through the Night These Days
11. Henry’s Song
12. get out your day timers (talk)
13. No Redemption Song
14. I watched Jaws (talk)
15. Parry Sound
16. never said this in public (talk)
17. Brownie Hawkeye
18. Hangover Days
19. Not Over You
20. down for a drink (talk)
21. sleepyheads (talk)
22. Nothing to Lose
23. sounds like paradise (talk)
24. “Wake up mother” (title?)
25. Blue Sky
26. Pavement Puddle Star
27. Diggin’ In the Carpet
28. that’s how you celebrate the end of exam week (talk)
29. Waiting for the World
I recommend you pick up the new album, and the old albums, and tshirts etc. from Arts&Crafts.
Congratulations to Rob who is the proud new owner of MGMT‘s album. Thanks to everyone who entered.
February 17, 2008
Photo of Matthew Barber taken at the Grad Club 21 Oct. 2006-10-21 by theplot
Last week I featured one half of the mightily talented Barbers, Jill, and today I will focus our attention on the elder sibling, Matthew Barber. Like his sister, Matthew has a gift for writing lyrics and crafting melodies. Also like Jill, Matthew has a great stage presence, confidently chatting with the audience in between songs. He does, however, tend to rock a little harder than Jill, although he is equally wonderful at the softer stuff. And according to the blurb posted about his new record, called “Ghost Notes” and due out March 4th on Outside Music, Barber has taken a more down-tempo approach to things. Judging from the songs he previewed at the show last April and the three tracks posted on his myspace, I have a feeling I’m going to like the record a great deal, which means you probably will too. To support the release of the new album, Barber has many, many dates through February March and April. Matthew and Jill will hit Kingston with their band “The Sevilles” (heh) at the end of February. Tickets are going fast so scoot on over to the Grad Club and get yours asap. Here are a few on the current tour and be sure to check out Barber’s myspace for full dates on the West and East coasts:
02-28 – Wakefield, PQ @ The Black Sheep Inn
02-29 – Kingston, On @ The Grad Club
03-05 – Hamilton, On @ The Casbah
03-07 – London @ London Music Club
03-08 – Guelph @ Dublin United Church
03-13 – Austin, Texas @ Velveeta (SXSW)
03-15 – Austin, Texas @ The Saxon Pub
Here’s a set from Barber’s appearance, a fantastic hour and a half long solo set featuring a number of new songs as well as all of the old favourites. Enjoy.
Matthew Barber, Grad Club, Kingston, 13 April 2007
1. go old school here (talk)
2. Beautiful Things that we Waste
3. another oldie (talk)
4. Cinnamon Hearts
5. all about the weather (talk)
6. Like Lightning
7. Story of Your Life
8. hibernating all winter (talk)
9. “Somewhere in your sleep” (title?)
10. being good (talk)
11. Easily Bruised
12. hovering behind me (talk)
13. You and Me
14. pied piper (talk)
15. Sleep in Peace
16. magical way of jumping out of my pants (talk)
17. Easy to Fall
18. another new one (talk)
19. Settle My Accounts With You
20. how quiet can I play (talk)
21. Anywhere Else but Here
22. my money-maker (talk)
23. Soft One
24. some blues? (talk)
25. Dust on My Collar
26. still familiarizing myself with this instrument (talk)
27. “Tell me what you think” ( title?)
28. never played this song before (talk)
29. Bad Fog of Loneliness (Neil Young cover)
30. Van Morrison (talk)
31. Morning Light
32. a real friday night (talk)
Pick yourself up Matthew Barber’s cds.
There are a few days left in the MGMT contest so get your entries in now.
February 12, 2008
photo by James Parker Photography, from the band’s myspace.
On their debut full-length, “Oracular Spectacular,” MGMT cast their net wide and haul back a multitude of influences which inform their eclectic sound. Prog, disco, synth-pop, and the more eclectic indierockers like – Fiery Furnaces and Of Montreal (whom they’ve toured with) – all seem to get thrown in the mix. Deep groves are constructed out of layers of bass lines, multiple synths, and a vocal style that is mined from ’70s pop records (at times Jagger, at times Bowie, at times Mercury, at times something familiar which I can’t quite place my finger on. )
Their album is definitely rooted in music of the past and, in addition, is informed and inspired by time gone by. It is not quite a rallying cry to return to the ideals of the 60s-70s but it isn’t quite just a nostaligic look back either. Perhaps MGMT are expressing a hopeful wish to reinstate those values which our cynicism has deemed untenable in the 21st century. An underlying theme of return to innocence (see the standout “Kids”, “The Youth”) emerges as they express a desire for the uncomplicated time where there is “Time to Pretend” of making it big, making money, marrying models. On my first listen, I wasn’t sure how serious MGMT should be taken – it seemed just a shade to contrived. I think, however, that the lead off track is informed by what follows: in isolation “Time to Pretend” can be read as a satirical or tongue-in-cheek comment on the dream of becoming a rockstar. In the context of the album, however, I think the song reflects that desire held at an earlier age which, when looking back with wisdom, seems naive. The MGMT duo Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have created a unique album taking from a broad spectrum of sounds and styles (many of which have remained relatively untapped even with the “everything old is new again” mentality which abounds).
Here are a couple of tracks:
* Time to Pretend
They are on tour right now. Yes, I know they just played Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal with Yeasayer (any one see these shows? Good?) but it seems that, as I so often am, I was a day late and a dollar short on this one. There are still a few US dates – including a show TONIGHT at Great Scott in Allston Massachusetts – and a whack of UK & European shows so check them out if they happen to be in your neighbourhood (hit up their myspace for full dates…if you can decipher them through the background)
Feb 12 Allston, MA, with Yeasayer, DJ Carbo
Feb 14 Brooklyn, with Yeasayer
Feb 15 Philadelphia, with Yeasayer
Would you like to win yourself a copy of their album? Of course you would. I have a prize pack consisting of MGMT’s “Oracular Spectacular”, a poster, and stickers courtesy of SonyBMG Music Canada. Just send me an email with “MGMT contest” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body to email@example.com and I will chose the winners at random. The contest closes February 22nd at noon (EST) and I will announce the winner shortly thereafter. Best of luck.
If you don’t win you can pick yourself up a copy of the record through the SonyStore.
February 9, 2008
photo from the show by Weekend Vagabond.
If you looked to see which artist or band that I’ve featured most often here in the 2+ years of b(oot)log, I think it is a pretty safe bet to say that Jill Barber takes the number one spot. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, I really, really love Barber’s voice – jazz-tinged folk – and songwriting – focusing on relationships that end in heartbreak and regret just as often as the ones that were “For All Time”. Also Barber is featured here rather frequently because she tours a great deal, coming to Kingston at least once a year, which gives me plenty of reason to talk about her on a regular basis. I feel like I’ve said it all before but it is worth repeating: Barber is a marvelous singer-songwriter who crafts absolutely gorgeous songs. On stage, she is charming and funny, providing insight into her lyrics by telling stoires of their background. She is also fond of telling tales of the road and reminiscing about her time in Kingston. I have never seen Barber perform outside of Kingston but I can only imagine she is just as gracious and entertaining onstage elsewhere. Given her connection to Kingston and the Grad Club in particular, however, she seems to light up when standing on that tiny stage.
The lovely Jill Barber is set to grace the Grad Club stage once again and, in what is cleverly being called the “Sibling Revelry Tour”, will be playing with her brother Matthew (who I’ve also featured here in the past and will probably post about next week). The Barbers will hit Kingston on February 29th and it should be one heck of a great show so be sure to get your tickets. Here are dates through to March. Check out Barber’s myspace for full dates through June.
9 Feb 2008 – The Back Nine, Fredericton
14 Feb 2008 – Bloomfield Centre, St. FX University, Antigonish
22 Feb 2008 – Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
28 Feb 2008 – The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield
29 Feb 2008 – Grad Club, Kingston
1 Mar 2008 – Market Hall, Peterborough
5 Mar 2008 – The Casbah, Hamilton
7 Mar 2008 – London Music Club, London, ON
8 Mar 2008 – Dublin United Church, Guelph
13 Mar 2008 – Velveeta (SXSW), Austin, Texas
And here is my recording of Barber’s last visit to town. I hope you enjoy and be sure to go to the show at the end of the month (for those of you outside of Kingston, check her out when she plays your town).
Jill Barber, The Grad Club, Kingston, 30 March 2007
1. no words (talk)
2. Just For Now
3. not gonna be that way tonight (talk)
4. Don’t Go Easy
5. philosophy degree (talk)
6. A 7th Minor
7. the gentleman to my left (talk)
8. Measures & Scales
9. Willy water (talk)
10. In Perfect Time
11. totally shitty deal (talk)
12. Somewhere Else
13. a song about death on a Friday night (talk)
14. Ashes to Ashes
15. what else? (talk)
17. soooooo obvious (talk)
18. “Heavy on my Heart” (title?)
19. I don’t want to own you (talk)
20. Nobody Knows You (Eric Clapton cover)
21. Moon River (cover)
22. When I’m Makin’ Love to You
23. can I pretend its about me? (talk)
24. Valentine (Dean Drouillard with Jill Barber)
25. same old speil (talk)
26. Hard Line
February 3, 2008
Chris Eaton of RPC at Barrymore’s, 27 June 2007 (part of the Capital Idea! Festival) by Menomena.
Those of you who have been reading my little site for a while may know that I am rather fond of Toronto’s Rock Plaza Central, who I talked about here and posted a live set here. My 2007 was bookended by RPC shows: I saw them in Ottawa in January and then in Kingston at the end of November. I enjoyed them a great deal the first time and I think they sounded even better the second time around. Their music remains beautiful and gritty, passionate and funny, smart and ecstatic. It is joyous, raucous, literate and features horns, strings, and lyrics about robot horses. Really, is there anything else you could want? Eaton delivered his lyrics with gusto and sincerity and the band (Scott Maynard, Donald Murray, John Whytock, Blake Howard, Fiona Stewart, Rob Carson) were spot on, despite arriving from Toronto after driving through a rather terrible snow storm a few short minutes before taking the stage. They quickly set up and, with essentially no soundcheck, tore through their set. And they sounded great to boot (as much as I generally dislike the Alehouse, formerly known as AJs, the sound has been really quite good the last few shows I’ve seen there). If their amazing rendition of “Anthem for the Already Defeated” posted below doesn’t make you want to immediately go out and by all three of their cds then you are no friend of mine. Rock Plaza Central are taking a bit of a break and are planning on recording an ep for the summer and then a full length for early 2009. I can’t wait to hear/see what they do next.
Rock Plaza Central, Alehouse, Kingston, 21 November 2007
2. john did time here (talk)
3. I am an Excellent Steel Horse
4. just getting warmed up & wrong song (talk)
5. My Children, Be Joyful
6. How Shall I to Heaven Aspire?
7. yeah, mandolin (talk)
8. Anthem for the Already Defeated
9. Fifteen Hands
10. robot horses &/or having sex (talk)
11. Mount Up and Ride/We’ve Got Alot to Be Glad For
Be joyful. Get youself RPC’s cds (order online via their myspace or digitally through Zunior). And your bookshelf would not be complete without Eaton’s novels. Still don’t have your RPC fill? Then check out this amazing show from CBC’s Fuse (best program on the radio? quite possibly) where they played with Tafelmusik.