July 23, 2009
photo taken in Peterborough in December 2008 by MissGillian.
There is just a shade over two weeks until this year’s Wolfe Island Music Fest. The line up (found here with set times) is pretty sweet and getting sweeter with the addition of Winter Gloves and the band I want to talk about today, $100.
This Toronto band made quite an impression with the release of the powerful Forest of Tears. As amazing as their recorded output is (and it is fantastic – I wouldn’t have been surprised if it made the Polaris Shortlist… if the short list hadn’t been kinda odd and..um..safe) the band really shines onstage. I’ve seen them twice now – as a full band as part of Fucked Up’s Halloween series of shows last year in Toronto and this show at the Grad Club where they performed as a three-piece – and both times I was astounded by the passion and emotion being conveyed.
This is gritty, raw stuff. Over a very traditional country sound, delivered by a group of astounding musicians, vocalist Simone Schmidt conveys tales of the marginalized, the powerless, and the dejected with a voice that swings easily from world-weary and vulnerable to defiant and powerful. As beautiful as it is heartrending, this is a voice that has been through it all but as survived.
They have a ton of dates coming up – including WIMF on August 8th and then they are back with Carolyn Mark at The Mansion on the 17th. Be sure to check them out if you can. Full details on their myspace.
23 Jul 2009 Bruar Falls, Brooklyn, NY
25 Jul 2009 Bovina Hangtender, Bovina, NY
27 Jul 2009 Plan B, Moncton
28 Jul 2009 Capital w/ BA JOHNSTON, Fredericton
29 Jul 2009 Ampersand Cafe with BA Johsnton, All AGES! Charlottetown
29 Jul 2009 Alibi w/ Barnkats, New Royalty, BA Johnston, Charlottetown
30 Jul 2009 Gus Pub, Halifax
1 Aug 2009 SappyFEST, Sackville
8 Aug 2009 Wolfe Island Music Festival, Kingstonish
15 Aug 2009 Fred Eaglesmith Charity Picnic, Aylmer
And, As Duet with Carolyn Mark & Sunbear
17 Aug 2009 The Living Room, Kingston
18 Aug 2009 Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
19 Aug 2009 Horseshoe Tavernk, Toronto
20 Aug 2009 the Starlight, Waterloo
21 Aug 2009 Oshawa
22 Aug 2009 The Casbah, Hamilton
23 Aug 2009 Van Gogh’s Ear, Guelph
and here are a few live tracks for your listening pleasure.
$100, Grad Club, Kingston, 27 March 2009
July 15, 2009
photo from The Gertrudes’ myspace.
There are three reasons why I want to talk about The Gertrudes today. First of all, they are playing the Friday night Lake Ontario Waterkeepers event at the Wolfe Island Music Fest on August 7th at the Island Grill along with Dave Bidini and other friends.
Secondly, a few members of the band will be playing at a fundraiser for the awesome Made4You on Friday, July 17th at The Artel – cover is only $10 and you get a 15% coupon for your next purchase at the store. Get all the wedding presents you need for the rest of the summer and get a jump on your xmas shopping while supporting this wonderful collective. More details can be found here.
And last, but certainly not least, I wanted to talk to you about The Gertrudes today because I just got my hands on their wonderful, brand-spankin’-new ep called “Hard Water”, which set to be released on August 7th.
The new record features 6 new songs, two of which were recorded live. A gentleness pervades the album. The aquatic theme which runs across the majority of the songs and the pace of the record definitely bring to mind early summer evenings by the lake. The Gertrudes are going to get where they need to be at their own speed. Their songs are never forced but rather seem to evolve slowly but purposefully. Textures and layers are developed, only to be stripped away and reapplied, as guitar, banjo, accordion, percussion, horns, theremin etc. etc. appear and disappear, commingling, playing off each other. And above it all are the fantastic vocals of Annie Clifford and Greg Tilson.
What is perhaps most remarkable about The Gertrudes, and exhibited so perfectly on the new record, is their restraint. Despite having 12 members in the band, there is no jostling to be heard. Each instrument is used to its best effect, showing up when needed and retreating when not. This is so key, given the frequently gentle and delicate harmonies employed by the band. Which is not to say that they can’t rock-the-heck-out when needed, but they use the power of their numbers to create solid foundations and intricate textures, without having ever a muddled or overwrought sound.
The Gertrudes have produced an EP that is at the same time timeless and innovative. Their sound is rooted in folk tradition but, through their creativity and talent, they take their folky tunes into wonderful, unexpected places.
From Hard Water:
Live video of the song ‘Hard Water’
And here are a few live tracks recorded at the 2009 Apple Crisp Music Fest.
The Gertrudes, Apple Crisp Music Festival, Next Church, Kingston, 20 March 2009
The Gertrudes have a few live dates coming up in addition to WIMF so check ’em out if you can:
1 Aug 2009 Sappy Fest, Sackville, NB
6 Aug 2009 The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, PQ
7 Aug 2009 Wolf Island Music Festival, Marysville, Wolfe Island, ON
Buy The Gertrudes’ first ep from Zunior and at discerning retailers around Kingston. I imagine Hard Water will be available there too in due time [update: Hard Water is now available for only $6.66. Scoot on over to Zunior and get it now!]
July 9, 2009
The best music festival of the summer is just around the corner and I’ve been very negligent and haven’t said boo about it…until now. The Wolfe Island Music Fest is August 8th and 9th in the lovely Marysville, Wolfe Island (just a quick ferry ride away from Kingston) and this year it is featuring a slew of amazing bands in four events. Below you will finds the full list of performers.
Some of my favourite bands are playing – I’ve seen the majority of the acts on the lineup before so I can say from personal knowledge that this is going to be a fantastic two days of music. Of the bands that I haven’t seen before, I am really looking forward to finally seeing Woodhands live and am completely amazed that LA’s Busdriver will be playing.
I shall be posting about as many of the bands as I can in the next month.
Tickets are available online at TicketScene and in person at Destinations/ Brian’s Record Option/ The Grad Club/ Windmills.
[edited to include set time and more acts (from the Flying V myspace)]
FRIDAY AUG 7TH
Town Hall Concert – 8:30pm
Flying V Productions show at The General Wolfe Hotel – 10:30 pm
P.S. I LOVE YOU
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper show at The Island Grill – 5:00 pm
BIDINIBAND & The BILLIE HOLLIES (DAVE BIDINI)
SATURDAY AUG 8TH
HOLY FUCK @ 10:00
BUSDRIVER @ 9:00
THE D’URBERVILLES @ 8:00
OHBIJOU @ 7:00
THE RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE @ 6:00
WINTER GLOVES @ 5:00
ATTACK IN BLACK @ 4:00
$100 @ 3:00
JULIE FADER @ 2:00
CHERRY CHAPSTICK @ 1:15
EL SKIBO @ 12:30
SATURDAY – GATES OPEN at NOON located at the Marysville baseball diamond
(concerts begin at 12:30 pm) tickets avail at http://www.ticketscene.ca
July 8, 2009
photo from Archivist’s facebook page.
Montreal’s Archivist* has crafted a devastatingly gorgeous album. “Learning to Live on Poison” cycles through the various emotional states of heartbreak. Ben McCarthy channels it all: from the insomniac’s depressiveness to the shouting defiance where he rages against himself, his lover, the world, before returning to somberness (although never resignation). The album is filled with emotion but it is ever trite or overblown. Seemingly deeply personal – the songs are filled with the pronoun ‘I’ and, on a few occasions, by McCarthy’s first name – the emotion he is expressing never seems less than heart-wrenchingly genuine.
The album’s tone is set with ‘Sunday Morning,’ and you know it is going to be a rough ride for McCarthy by the time ‘Educated Hand,’ creeps around. But it is ‘Jagwagger’, where a defiant strut emerges – propelled by cymbals, slinky q-chord, gorgeous vocals by Pony Up‘s** Lisa Smith, and a great guitar line – that shows McCarthy (heart)broken but not obliterated. But the pace cannot be kept up for long and, in ‘Son of my Sorrows,’ returns to melancholic resignation, declaring “I’m done. I’m done. I’m done.” There is, however, more to be expressed, and he is back to raging in ‘Pop Litany,’ continuing through the remainder of the album shifting sounds and tempos but never being able to shake his devastation. It is the undoubtedly deliberate pacing which gives so much power to the record – the songs feel that they arrive naturally, as McCarthy is working through his emotions.
The diversity of tone – while remaining thematically unified – is matched by the diversity of sounds that brings the narrative to life. McCarthy enlisted some of the greatest talent in Montreal, and, while I have no doubt that this album could have been powerful if it was just McCarthy with his guitar, they add an amazing richness to the record. The vocal harmonies throughout echo and reinforce his sentiments. The horns of ‘Sunday Morning’ are glorious, wonderful plucked and bowed strings and the tinkling glockenspiel on ‘Speaking,’ and more and more, all serve to assist McCarthy’s catharsis.
I am pretty sure, halfway through the year, that “Learning to Live on Poison” will be on my best-of list for 2009.
Here’s a song off the record (my favourite at the moment) for you to check out:
Visit Said the Gramaphone for another track – the astounding ‘Sunday Morning’.
Archivist do not have any upcoming dates at the moment but be sure to check their myspace page for shows.
And, finally, here are a couple of videos for your viewing/listening pleasure.
** hot dog! Pony Up have a new album out and what I’ve heard on their myspace it sounds really, really good. Add that to your collection as well – you can get it physically with a handmade case and digitally from their store and digitally at VillaVillaNova (where you can get the track “Charles”).