February 4, 2011
(photo of The Phonemes, with Owen Pallett, at the Tranzac 2007.)
The Phonemes are in no rush. They (really, she, Magali Meagher, with help from her friends) took three years between releasing her EP and her LP and it has been over three years since that wonderful album “There’s something we’ve been meaning to do”” came out. I am hoping that there will be a new album soon but I am more than willing to wait for what comes next.
The Phonemes create delicate, intricate pop songs which, understandably, do not spring forth fully formed. A stunning song like “Plate Dance”, with its restraint and refinement is not something that occurs by chance. No, The Phonemes are deliberate and slow paced. While this may be frustrating for a listener, who wishes that more and more and moremoremore of their songs will pour out of speakers and headphones, in the end, it is worth the wait.
When I saw them for the first time, there was just Meagher. Some of the understated lushness found on her recordings was absent, but her lovely pop songs shone. Accompanied on the records by friends who bring strings and drums and harmonies, The Phonemes have an intriguing complexity. For all that these additional players add to the recordings, live, they are not needed. Alone with her guitar onstage, Meagher performed with a modest confidence. She transfixed the audience with an intimate (and at times interactive – for “Steeples + Peoples” she passed out pages from a newspaper to be rustled by people in the crowd, while others clapped, adding wonderful texture to the song) set. Her rich, innocent voice and unadorned guitar were all we needed and more than we hoped for. Below are a few tracks recorded from that night. I hope you enjoy them.
The Phonemes will be playing tomorrow, Feb 5th at The Mansion with Random Recipe and Kingston’s own Monuments & Statues. This is The Phonemes last show at the moment but be sure to keep up to date on their site.
The Phonemes, Grad Club, Kingston, 19 September 2009
February 1, 2011
Julie Doiron‘s songs are like short stories: small gestures filled with emotion. Quick and to the point, they are devoid of filler, and they rapidly immerse you into their world. Her songs are given power by their brevity. They provide dark glimpses into a life where regret, longing, and desire are expressed – at times quietly, at times amplified by rage and desperation. Light shines through, though, at times, and memories of moments of tenderness and contentment help to make the dark times bearable. Whether she is singing about intensely private matters (heartbreak) or the simply comforts (returning home after an absence) Julie Doiron’s compact narratives are always engaging and affecting.
Here are a few songs from the last time Doiron played the Grad Club. She played most of her fantastic album “I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day” along with a bunch of older songs and Fred Squire took the mic for three songs. It was a really fantastic, intimate set. I have no doubt tonight’s show will be just as good. Last I heard, tickets were still available (although probably not online anymore). Find upcoming dates on her site:
02/01/11 Kingston, Grad Club
02/02/11 Peterborough,Red Dog
02/03/11 Toronto, Horseshoe Tavern
02/04/11 Ottawa, Mavericks
02/05/11 Montreal, Il Motore
02/08/11 Hamilton, The Casbah
Julie Doiron, Grad Club, Kingston, 27 March 2009
A lovely track from Little Scream who will be opening (from “The Golden Record” – to be released April 12th, 2011 by Outside Music)
* Little Scream, The Heron and the Fox
January 26, 2011
Toronto’s Entire Cities released a new album in December – it is called “I Hope You Never Come Home” and it is pretty darn fantastic so I hope you bring it into your home. I’ve seen the band a bunch of times live and love their ep and previous album. Their new record confirms their place as one of my favourite bands.
The band may be best know for their boisterous “Dancing With My Brother,” but, as much as I love that song, it is the softer moments that I have really come to appreciate. They have an amazing ability to balance the tender and the rowdy and, in doing so, write songs that are extremely compelling.
There a lot of really delicate moments on many of the songs on the new record, often springing out of the vocal duets of Simon Borer and Tamara Lindeman (such as on “A Coat of Loup Garou” and “Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear”) and the great harmonies (especially on the closing track “Predator Song”). Along with these lovely touches, however, there are plenty of footstomping to be found on the album – particularly in “A Closed Hand.”
The best parts of the album are where the band shift tones and tempos, a tactic employed across the record. Their track “Zombie Song (Dream Logic)” is where this is used to great effect, where a theremin (? I think), breaks in half-way through the song and it goes off in a different direction from where it began, then coming back with squealing guitars and crashing cymbals by the end.
The production – by Ohbijou’s Heather Kirby – is fantastic. The seven-piece band brings a lot to the table and the sound is spot on throughout. Appearances of organ, banjo, flute and trumpet appear as needed at just the right level. The vocals are crisp and clear and the drumming is present without being overwhelming. It is a great sounding record which deserves to be turned up loud.
Entire Cities are smart without being pretentious; thoughtful while remaining rowdy. This is an album full of hard-won joy.
They are playing THIS SATURDAY at The Mansion (details) with The New Country Rehab. It is only $5! Go, see a great live band and pick up their great new record. More upcoming dates can be found on their site.
Jan 29 – Kingston (The Mansion)
Feb 3 – Toronto (Imperial Pub)
Feb 4 – Ottawa (LiveLounge)
Feb 6 – Windsor (Phog Lounge)
Feb 19 – Toronto (The Rivoli)
I previously posted a few tracks from the last time I saw the band. Here is the full set, which includes two songs off their new record (tracks 8 & 14). There is a bit of chatter (particularly during the cover) but it was a really fun show so I thought I’d post the full thing. For one of my all-time favourite shows, check out their 2007 Grad Club set.
Apple Crisp Music Festival, Next Church, Kingston, 20 March 2009
2. Skeleton Park (talk)
3. Cop Song
4. Dancing With My Brother
6. Accountant’s Dream
8. In Octopus Country
11. a cover (talk)
12. Feel It All (Feist cover)
14. Zombie Song (Dream Logic)
15. new friend (talk
16. Waiting (2000 Years)
December 30, 2010
The hottest spot for New Year’s Eve in Kingston this year is undoubtedly The Mansion with PS I Love You. They’ve had an unbelievable year and it seems fitting that they will be closing it out with a hometown show.
The year that was 2010 started off pretty amazing for the band with P4K finally flipping over the Diamond Rings/PS I Love You 7″ and giving “Facelove” the love it deserves in January. They released a single in March, toured – not only outside of the 613 but extensively – and released their full-length in October on the respected label Paper Bag Records. That record, Meet Me at the Muster Station, is making all sorts of Best of 2010 lists for good reason.
If you can, check PS I Love You out on New Year’s. For all up coming dates see their myspace.
-Dec. 31 w/ Cherry Chapstick @ The Mansion, Kingston
-Jan 15 w/ Two Door Cinema Club + TokyoPolice Club @ Koolhaus, Toronto
-Jan 16 w/ Two Door Cinema Club + TokyoPolice Club @ Club Soda, Montreal
They played as part of the 2009 Salvation Army Winter Relief Benefit. Here is their (very, very short) set from a year ago. Enjoy & Happy New Year’s.
PS I Love You, Salvation Army Winter Relief Benefit, The Mansion, 22 December 2009 (early show)
Get yourself the LP, the EP, the single, the shirts etc etc at Paper Bag. If you act quick (before Jan. 2) you can get free shipping and 30% off your order, using the code BOXINGDAY. Go! Shop! [note: the first vinyl pressing of the album is now sold out but I am told that a new pressing (green!) is on its way]
December 21, 2010
Just a reminder that this year’s Salvation Army Winter Relief Benefit is taking place TONIGHT at Zappa’s Lounge. Get out there and enjoy the best thing about Kingston in December.
Last year’s event was a little different than previous years – new venue & two shows – but it featured all the things you come to expect from a Winter Relief Benefit after 15 years: great local musicians, cover songs, folks hopping onstage to give a helping hand when needed, and good times had by all. I attended the early show which did not have a proper Weeping Tile set, but Sarah Harmer did treat us to a nice selection of (mostly cover) songs. She started off with the absolutely lovely “Huron Carol” – which dates back, amazingly, to 1643.
Happy Holidays everyone.
Sarah Harmer, Salvation Army Winter Relief Benefit, The Mansion, 22 December 2009 (early show)
Donate to the Salvation Army.
With only a few short days until Christmas, you probably would rather have a hole in the head than hear “Jingle Bell Rock” one more time. Never fear, Michael Wray (of Mixylodian) has put together another awesome compilation of non-traditional holiday tunes from (mostly) Montreal musicians.
If you were lucky, you caught last year’s “Feats of Strength” mix, which features great songs by favourite Montreal acts including Adam & the Amethysts, Jessie Stein (The Luyas) & Mixylodian, and others. This year’s installment continues the tradition of presenting holiday-themed tunes from refreshing and unexpected angles.
There is something for everyone in this compilation. From the very lovely (Abigail Lapell’s Driedle Song), to the naughty (the sleigh bells and steel drum – rocking Inapropriate Christmas Song by Mixylodian & Santa Suit Tattoo (XMAS 4 EVA) by Amber & Erin [of Nightwood]), to the superfun (Hamilton Trading Co.‘s Long Johns & the songs by The Sunnies [dl the whole album for their bonus track]), the wonderfully weird (Parlovr‘s two songs), and the topical (Wikileaks Winter by Banana Lazuli), with much more.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t get this holiday album – it is chock-full of great tunes for the festive season, it may very well will introduce you to a bunch of great new bands and it is FREE. Thanks Montreal!
Download the full compilation here.
Say thx to Wray & treat yourself by buying “Wild in Church”.
December 8, 2010
The best part of the holiday season is seeing Weeping Tile and a bunch of special guests get together to rock out for charity. This year it is going down at Zappas Lounge on December 21st. Get your tickets at Zap Records or at Maple Music. More details at the Sally Ann website.
November 30, 2010
November 23, 2010
This Thursday night there is a killer line up at the Mansion. Steven McKay, Wax Mannequin, & Doctor Ew are playing as well as the freaking amazing BA Johnston (although BA is playing downstairs – check with The Mansion to see if you can see both shows). I saw Dr. Ew at Pop Montreal and they were a lot of fun, Wax Mannequin is always weird and wonderful, and Steven McKay, who recently released a great self-titled album, is not to be missed.
McKay stole the show when he opened for the Forest City Lovers back in September. He has an easy, warm stage manner which enthralled and amused the Saturday night crowd. He is no stranger to Kingston, having lived her for a couple of years (the song “You May Be Dirty…”, below, is about the Limestone City), and he was right at home back on the Grad Club’s stage. In addition to some of the best banter I’ve heard in quite some time, McKay is a great songwriter whose rich-voiced delivery is exceptionally inviting. There is an earnestness to his songs but he avoids being overbearing with touches of humour. His new record fantastically produced, featuring great vocal harmonies (and some really impressive whistling) and a warm AM gold sound.
There are a few dates left on his current tour and he will be back on the road in the new year so watch his site for details.
- Nov 25th – Kingston, ON @ The Mansion
- Nov 26th – Hamilton, ON @ The Casbah Lounge
- Nov 27th – Waterloo, ON @ The Grist Mill
Steven McKay, The Grad Club, Kingston, 18 September 2010
Buy McKay’s self-titled record from the Fuzzy Logic shop or, better yet, go to the show and get the deluxe edition which features a beautiful photo postcards to go along with each song.
November 22, 2010
Sunnuvabitch. This was supposed to be published on Sat. morning PRIOR to the show at the GradClub but it remained in draft. Oh well. Here it is anyway. Hope you made it to the show. I hear there were lasers.
Once more I have been neglecting this site. I haven’t had as much time to write (or to go to shows) but fear not, I haven’t given up on it yet – especially since I just paid for 6 more months of hosting.
I am a weenie and will not be going to the Woodhands show tonight but you, faithful readers, are not weenies so I assume you will be going and having a heap of fun. Last I heard (yesterday) there were still tickets available so there is a good chance you will still be able to get in even if you don’t have your ticket yet.
The one and only time I saw Woodhands was at the Friday night show of the 2009 Wolfe Island Music Fest. As with the year before (and again this year), the crowd was filled with idiots. Sure, some people were into the music, and some were just into the music a bit much, but there were many people in the small General Wolfe who were just being dicks.
The band, however, were great. They put on a high-energy, fun show, despite some technical issues. They played a set which drew from their fantastic debut “Heart Attack” with a few covers thrown in for good measure. Dan Werb had a manic intensity and Paul Banwatt proved once again that he is arguably the best drummer out there (oh, and he sang the Maylee Todd vocals on “Dancer” which was pretty awesome).
Here are a couple of tracks from the show. I hope you dig ’em.
Buy Woodhands records etc from PaperBag.