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.

September 14, 2007

Picastro, Irene Trudel show, WFMU, 6 February 2006

Posted in mp3, radio session at 12:10 pm by rgsc

photo by Beth at RockPaperPixels from the Picastro myspace.

This past Tuesday, Toronto’s Picastro released their third album Whore Luck. The trio of Liz Hysen, Nick Storring, and Brandon Valdivia make extraordinary music that is experimental without being inaccessible. Picastro are in no rush. They take their time getting to their destination without letting their songs meander. They do not fall pray to self-indulgence and go off in all directions, rather they remain focused, allowing their music to unfold slowly and purposefully. Picastro restrain themselves, maintaining a subdued tone throughout, but with occasional sharp punctuations where Hysen’s voice expands, guitars and strings swell, and the drums crash. As these flourishes are used sparingly, their impact is so much the greater. This album is filled with striking moments – the lushness of the strings in “All Erase” at about the 1min. mark, the disquieting “If You Have Ghosts”, the echoing piano on “Friends of Mine” – but Whore Luck is much more than a collection of such moments as the vocals and instrumentation coalesces, creating a hauntingly beautiful whole.

The below radio session from the wonderful WFMU features Picastro in conversation with Irene Trudel from last year. They played a number of songs live, including several at-that-time untitled songs which now have titles and can be found on Whore Luck, along with a solo performance by Hysen and a couple of songs off their release “Metal Cares”.

Picastro have a number of upcoming cd release shows in Canada: they play Hamilton tonight, Sept. 14th with Wooden Stars, Sept. 15 they hit Montreal with the Divorced & Triceratreetops, they are in Toronto at the Music Gallery as part of the X-Avant series with the Madawaska String Quartet on Sept. 16th, and on Sept. 20 they will be in Guelph. They play Chicago on the 23rd of September before heading to Europe. They will be all over the place, in both North American and Europe in October and November, giving you plenty of chances to see them live so get out there and see ’em. Check out their myspace page for full details.

Picastro, Irene Trudel show, WFMU, 6 February 2006

1. intro (talk)
2. No Contest
3. All Erase
4. long weekend (talk)
5. Hortur
6. Albanis
7. take suggestions (talk)
8. one more (talk)
9. I Can’t Fall Asleep
10. a weird feeling (talk)
11. Liz Hysen solo song (untitled)
12. send your emails (talk)

Pick up the extraordinary Whore Luck through Polyvinyl and be sure to support WFMU.

September 7, 2007

We Are Scientists, T in the Park, Balado, Scotland, 9 July 2006 (BBC Radio 1 Broadcast)

Posted in bootleg, mp3, radio session at 10:52 am by rgsc

WAS at T in the Park, 2006, photos by Jane Stockdale for the BBC.

Living in a college town, I tend to have mixed feelings about September. The invasion of students means the bars and restaurants are much more crowded, there are longer line-ups everywhere, the city is generally much noisier and busier, and the tranquility of the summer is broken (man, I really am one step away from being the crotchety old guy sitting on his porch shaking his fist at the “young whippersnappers”, aren’t I?). However, with the invasion of students isn’t all bad. New life is breathed into the city and, most importantly, with the school year comes a whole slew of great concerts. And this year is shaping up to be a killer year, with concerts every week, sometimes several (or even several on the same night! Ack! Choices must me made!) – be sure to check out The Grad Club and The Artel and all the other usual suspects for the skinny on who’s playing where and when. Of course, I’ll try to do my best to keep you informed, as well.

This year is starting off with a pretty big bang with the annual Queen’s Frosh Concert. Tonight, Sept. 7th, Metric return to the campus’ most glamourous parking lot and this year they are bringing along We Are Scientists. You know my position on openers – that they have to grab your attention and refuse to let you ignore them – well, WAS definitely fit that bill. I have the distinct feeling that the openers are going to steal the show. With their frenetic indie rock – all guitars and squeals and driving rhythms – they will no doubt have all in attendance bouncing along. So get out there early and enjoy yourself.

Alright, you only have a few hours to get tickets if you are a Kingstonian who happens to be reading this – frosh get in free, upper years and (i’m told) alumni can get tickets through the QEA for $15. Everyone else, it seems, is SOL. I don’t think I’ll be heading down to the show so let me know how it was, ok? WAS are playing the Osheaga Festival on Sunday and are going to be all over the UK in November so check ’em out if you get the chance. Metric are hitting V Fest in Toronto this weekend and Halifax and St. John’s on Sept. 14 and 16th respectively before spending the rest of the month touring the US.

For those who are unfamiliar with WAS or would like a refresher, here they are performing at the 2006 T in the Park festival, courtesy of the always awesome Steve Lamaq1.

We Are Scientists, T in the Park, Balado, Scotland, 9 July 2006
1. Lousy Reputation/Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
2. Worth the Wait
3. It’s A Hit
4. This Scene Is Dead
5. Inaction
6. two guitars (talk)
7. The Great Escape

WAS have underwear (with a kitten on them, really) and all kinds of rad t-shirts and other things along with their cds for purchase HERE. Buy ’em because one more pair of undies = one less day you need to laundry.

August 24, 2007

Last Town Chorus, The Current, MPR, 11 May 2007

Posted in mp3, radio session at 10:11 pm by rgsc

The new album by the Last Town Chorus, “Wire Waltz”, is rather intriguing. There is something otherworldly about it, due in large part to Megan Hickey’s lap steel. Running the instrument through effects pedals, this is not what you’d hear down at the Grand Ol’ Opry – she creates haunting soundscapes. This distinct instrumentation is the perfect foundation for her amazing, melancholy songs. She offers intimate takes on loss, heartbreak, and alienation but Hickey sings with a clear, extremely strong voice, and you never get the sense that her subject matter is going to overwhelm her. One of the highlights of the album is undoubtedly the extraodinary cover of Bowie’s “Modern Love” – which Hickey slows down and stretches out to the point it resembles a dirge – but she is an impressive songwriter in her own right and “Wire Waltz” features a number of extremely strong songs in addition to the cover, including the title track, “It’s Not Over,” and “Boat”. These are captivating songs from a powerful voice.

Below you will find three songs recorded by the fine folks at MPR when TLTC visited in May. The Last Town Chorus are in Montreal tomorrow (August 25) and in Toronto the following day opening for Camera Obscura. Every review I’ve read about TLTC’s live performance has said they are outstanding live so make sure you get to those shows early. From the end of September through early November they are going to be opening for The Weakerthans in over 25 cities around North America (but no date anywhere near me? What the hell?) so you’ll have ample opportunity to catch them. Full tour dates here.

Last Town Chorus, The Current, MPR, 11 May 2007

* Boat

* Modern Love (David Bowie cover)

* It’s Not Over

Bonus live mp3s (from the TLTC site – where you can find links to a ton of other radio sessions, tracks from their first album etc.)

* Modern Love Recorded at Bowery Ballroom, NYC, March 3rd, 2005)

* Do You Really Wanna Hurt Me (Culture Club cover) Recorded at WFMU, February 2003

Be sure to pick up “Wire Waltz” and if you do it here and you will be supporting MPR, so do it there.

August 1, 2007

Two reviews: A Fine Frenzy and Nees and Vos

Posted in mp3, mumbling, radio session at 11:42 am by rgsc

Occasionally, folks are kind enough to send music my way and I have been rather ungrateful taking way too long to talk about it here. I am going to try to make up for it starting today, by posting some short reviews with songs for you to check out.

Frenzied is not an apt description of the music of A Fine Frenzy. While it is a perfectly fine band name, the songs of Alison Sudol are calm, lovely, delicate and seductive. In “Almost Lover” (see below), a song of relationship that was not to be, she is sensitive but not vulnerable, as her confidence flows throughout. There is heartbreak but not desperation, as she realizes that the relationship she hoped for is over. There is a tinge of resignation and the vow to move on – a bit bruised by not broken. The vocals are clear, powerful, and stunningly beautiful. Accompanied by the piano and some soft orchestration which rides throughout just below, never detracting from the powerful vocals. This is one of the most gorgeous songs I have heard in a long time.

Check out the video for Almost Lover and here is her performing a couple of songs on MPR’s The Current from back in May.

Come On, Come Out

Almost Lover

A Fine Frenzy’s album “One Cell in the Sea” was released on July 17th and you can pick it up pretty much everywhere – I suggest buying it through Amazon in support of MPR.


Nothing makes for a great summer jam like some blazing horns behind soulful vocals. Add some organ and chances are I’m hooked. Case in point is “Pretty Girl” by Nees and Vos, who tick all the boxes on their disc “Extended Play”. Nees and Vos are the duo of Chris Vos, who provides vocals and guitar, and Andrew Neesley who gives us the the trumpets, keyboards and production. They combine jazz and soul with subtle but effective electronic flourishes. All six songs are strong, with the aformentioned “Pretty Girl” being my favourite on the disc. Another standout is their take on the classic Bill Withers tune “Ain’t No Sunshine” – they do justice to the standard version with the extremely soulful vocals, but add electronic beats and a killer trumpet solo making it their own.

This ep would be a great soundtrack for summer nights. I recommend that for the upcoming long weekend you find a porch, open a cold beverage, put on this album and you will be all set.

Here are a couple of tracks for you to check out:

Pretty Girl

Ain’t No Sunshine

And be sure to pick up the full album for yourself here.

June 24, 2007

Frog Eyes, CBC Studio 2, Vancouver, 7 Jun 2004

Posted in mp3, radio session at 6:20 pm by rgsc

Listening to the CBC Radio 3‘s session with Frog Eyes, I envision Carey Mercer onstage as a seducer one moment and demon the next as he moves from whispering to cooing before letting loose with the shrieking vocals he is best known for. Wildly emotional and esoteric, Frog Eyes has a reputation as one of the most intense live bands out there. Having not had the opportunity to see them perform myself I can only imagine. You, however, could experience it for yourself if you are in the National Capital Region as they are playing at the first ever Capital Idea! Festival in Ottawa organized by Mocking Music. It looks like I won’t be able to catch any of the festival (I was hoping to get back to Ottawa to catch a few shows – this one in particular), which sucks, but since there is a full week of super rad music I highly encourage you to go if you can. Feel free to lord it over me if you do go because you know I’ll be jealous.

Frog Eyes, CBC Studio 2, Vancouver, 7 June 2004

1. The Fox Speaks To His Wife Who Is Not Quite Sure

2. Our Lordship Has Devised A New Billing System

3. Masticated Outboard Motors

4. A Latex Ice Age

5. Ship Destroyer

6. I Like Dot Dot Dot

7. New Soft Motherhood Alliance

You can get “Tears of the Valedictorian” – one of the best records of 2007 so far – from Absolutely Kosher, along with earlier Frog Eyes stuff (the first few albums can also be found at Global Symphonic).

June 10, 2007

Apostle of Hustle & Tanya Tagaq, Fuse, CBC Radio, 27 May 2007 rebroadcast

Posted in mp3, radio session at 10:33 pm by rgsc

The most successful instances of Fuse, one of the best shows currently produced the Mother Corp, are, in my mind, are the ones which pair one of my favourite bands with something strange and wonderful (see Ohbijou and Kids on TV). Another case in point is the session below: the amazing Apostle of Hustle paired with the throat singer Tanya Tagaq. The sound of throat singing is utterly unique. It is haunting, evocative, and amazingly it complements the Cuban-inspired sound employed by Andrew Whiteman. Tagaq’s vocal contributions are subtle (but quite beautiful) at first, but at 5:45 into the first song, you know that there is something special afoot. What unfolds over the three songs, in which the artists freely improvise, moves from lovely to haunting to terrifying to beautiful and back again. The songs are epic, magnificent, and probably unlike anything else in your music collection. Strange? Yes, this is certainly not your average indie rock fare. Wondeful? Most definitely so.

Apostle of Hustle & Tanya Tagaq, Fuse, CBC Radio, 27 May 2007 (rebroadcast)

1. nudie suits and a caribou thong (talk)

2. My Sword Hand’s Anger

3. we can call them shady (talk)

4. Fast Pony for Victor Jara

5. thrusting of all kinds (talk)

6. Untitled

7. just one question(talk)

8. My Sword Hand’s Anger (reprised; outro)

You can and should pick up Tagaq’s record Sinaa here and Apostle of Hustle’s records here.

PS – I somehow forgot to mention that Apostle of Hustle will be playing the Wolfe Island Music Festival on August 11th, a grievious oversight. Get your tickets online through Maple Music. They will also be available at a number of spots around Kingston soon (check the website for details). They are gonna be snapped up pretty quick so make sure you get them soon.

May 6, 2007

Fly Pan Am, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, 29 March 2001,(CBCRadio3 Concert recording)

Posted in bootleg, mp3, radio session at 9:13 pm by rgsc

fly pan am live in germany (by Tobias Ott), courtesy of Brainwashed.

While not all of the great CBC Radio 3 Studio Sessions and Concert Recordings are available on the Concerts and Sessions Page of the Radio3 website, there are many, many wonderful things to be found there (and with a little perseverance you can find even more stuff in the Magazine archives). One of the treasure I found was this set from 2001 from the great, and sadly, now defunct Montreal post-rockers Fly Pan Am.

Forming in 1996, Fly Pan Am had a ten year run of creating some of the best avant-garde rock going. They were frequent collaborators and relentless experimenters. Fly Pan Am created challenging, intense, complex and entirely engaging music. In the set below, is both rhythmic and abrasive, beautiful and noisy. I hope you enjoy it.

Fly Pan Am, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, 29 March 2001,(CBCRadio3 Concert recording)

1. Afferent

2. Nouvelle

3. Noise

4. L’espace

5. Dutronc-Kulti

Buy the back catalogue from Constellation Records (if outside Canada, go here) . Do it. Now.

April 8, 2007

Bairds and Barbers, Fuse, CBC Radio, 3 March 2007 rebroadcast

Posted in mp3, radio session at 8:39 pm by rgsc

photo of Jill Barber with Matthew Barber and Stu Crooks at the Hillside Festival, Guelph, 31 July 2006 by Easternblot.

There were no shows this weekend (well, none that I was interested in – did anyone see Ben Folds? How was it?) and I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Easter Bunny. That damn rabbit is a killjoy. But he did bring me minieggs so I guess he’s not all bad. Anyhoot, with the weekend off, I hope you were able to get rested up because this week there are three shows of note and I expect you all the be at them all:

1) Tomorrow, April 9th, Hank & Lilly will be bringing their country-cabaret bizarro-fest to the Artel with Wax Mannequin. I expect it will be nothing less than utterly strange and wonderful.

2) On Tuesday you better have nothing important going on because you are going to need to cancel whatever you are doing. Final Fantasy is playing the beautiful Sydenham St. United Church with Hank. Holy freakin’ crap this is going to be great. As of a couple of hours ago, the show is not sold out and there will be some tickets available at the door.

3) And, on Friday the 13th, Matthew Barber will be at the Grad Club with the ever-so-lovely Julie Fader.

As you know, I recently posted about Jill Barber (did you go to the show? it was fantastic) and I have posted about the elder Barber in the not so distant past. If I want to feature all Barbers, all the time, you are just going to have to deal with it, this is my website. But knowing that you are like me and are big fans of the Barbers so you will no doubt be happy to see them performing together.

For today’s post we are lucky to have both Barbers, joined by Jay, Jesse, and Bryden Baird (of Drummer, Shotgun & Jaybird, and many other bands) for a great episode of Fuse thanks to The Corporation. While the Barbers are great on their own, the wealth of talent the Bairds bring to the party makes it all the better. The trumpet on Matthew Barber’s “Easy to Fall,” for example, is fantastic, the vocal harmonies throughout are wonderful, and who can argue with the accordion on “Hard Line”?

Bairds and Barbers, Fuse, CBC Radio, 3 March 2007 rebroadcast

1. intro – ‘we’ll get to the dirt, don’t worry’ (talk)

2. CCM Bikes (Drummer)

3. One little story (talk)

4. Just for Now (Jill Barber)

5. Was he suitably nuts? (talk)

6. Morning Light (Matthew Barber)

7. I thought it was a drinking song (talk)

8. Kickdrum Blues (Shotgun & Jaybird)

9. recreations of chariots of fire (talk)

10. Long Black Veil (Lefty Fizzell/The Band cover)

11. a certain lyrical simularity (talk)

12. Easy to Fall (Matthew Barber)

13. Peruvian mountain goat nails (talk)

14. Biltamore (Drummer)

15. an instrument you think I can handle (talk)

16. Hardline (Jill Barber)

17. Outro – unclear of how to end the song (talk)

I could only find mentions of the Bairds’ band Drummer online and had no luck finding their album “In Basements and in Bars” but you may be able to get it at a fine music retailer near you. You can find Matthew Barber’s albums here.

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