Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Last weekend I finally made it out to some great live music after being sheltered indoors on a multitude of winter weekends. Here's the run down.
Friday night saw The Great Hall in Toronto host the Daps Records party. Check out tracks from some of the bands who played:
Saturday night brought a last minute adventure to the Tranzac in Toronto, where label Out of This Spark was celebrating 5 years. Getting there late, and the 2-room nature of the event meant having to pick and choose, but the pickins were good. Though not footage from the event, here's what the bands we saw can offer:
Monday, February 27, 2012
February has brought a good string of releases. With a few live videos and a few album cuts, here some of the best tracks from last two weeks of new records:
Field Music - "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" from Plumb
Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid" from Reign of Terror
Shearwater - "Animal Life" from Animal Joy
Grimes - "Oblivion" from Visions
Perfume Genius - "Dark Parts" (at 2:33) from Put Your Back N 2 It
John Talabot - Depak Ine from Fin
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
New week, new playlist. Feeling organic and guitar oriented this week. Dance with your inner hippie, cry yourself to sleep, or just bathe in the bliss this time around.
Set to the hard beats and stark guitars of "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" dark twists follow each step of hedonism, foreshadowed with a bloody awakening on the pavement. Last week, I posted a video by The Do directed by Noel Paul, who with Stefan Moore, are the directing pair 'That Go' responsible for this fantastically shot Father John Misty clip.
Merival (Anna Horvath) creates crushing splendour; future desires sung to an empty apartment. See her play El Mocambo in Toronto on March 7th, look for her album (hopefully) this winter from Mudtown Records or hear her as part of the collaborative efforts of First Rate People.
Dr. Dog is new to me - a random long-tail find courtesy of aggregator Metacritic - but by no stretch, are they new. Here's a live version of "Lonesome" from the Pennsylvania psych-rockers' 7th (???!) album Be The Void thanks to WFUV.
Fresh off a tour promoting his solo album The Outcome of Weather, Leathan Milne (also of Miami Device & Zoomafloome) hints at elements of Sun Kil Moon through lush harmonies and open guitar chords in his gorgeously sad song "Here I Lie With You."
She caught my heart with Failer almost 9 years ago now. Voyageur has garnered a lot of attention lately and the better writers have paid attention to Kathleen Edwards' ability to tell stories and captivate with a voice that sounds at the edge of breaking under the sheer weight of emotion behind it. Album production set aside, here's Edwards in her own light.
In about a month, Baltimore via Montreal quartet The Barr Brothers (not to be confused with Guelph's Barmitzvah Brothers) will play the Great Hall in Toronto with Little Scream, in what is undoubtedly, the show I'm most looking forward to this winter. As part of a CBC series, here they are handing vocal duties over to Francophone indie-folk singer Marie-Piere Arthur on the shiver-inducing "Beggar In The Morning."
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
It's been an incredibly long time since I last posted. Travel and life have interrupted my usual patterns of devouring everything I can get my ears on. Back with renewed appetite, here's what I've been voracious about lately. Quiet, loud, invigorating, enthralling, bohemian, garage, folk, bliss, post-metal batch of miscellany... eat up, it's damn good stuff.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
"How does this one go again?" Luke Doucet was worried about starting a band with wife, Melissa McClelland at first, he said. Giving over your words to someone else? Messing with your lyrics? What if they're not good? How do you tell your wife you don't like what she wrote? "Fortunately she came back and had included two of my favourite albums by two of my favourite artists ever." With Blood On The Tracks and Let It Bleed affirming the partnership, Doucet's song "Broken One" was only one of a large handful of songs both he and McClelland have written and recorded over the years that found new life through Whitehorse at the Casbah Lounge last night.
With keys, bass, a stomp box, kick drum and a looping pedal, the duo built layers of rhythm and texture into their typically pluck and strum sets for the first of two rehearsal nights at the Hamilton venue, prior to their fall tours with first, Frazey Ford and then, Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe. "This was supposed to be a rehearsal gig with like 2 to 4 people here," said McClelland. "But then I was at my dentist today and he asked me about it." Word had spread and we tangled tightly amongst each other in the sweaty confinement of the lounge, leaning on every wall, sitting in every seat, or cross-legged right in front of the stage; a mixed crowd of old and young, family, friends, strangers.
It started with comfortable versions of Doucet's "Cleveland" from Blood's Too Rich (Six Shooter, 2008) and McClelland's "Go Down Matthew" from Thumbelina's One Night Stand (Orange, 2006) before moving into the first Whitehorse track "Killing Time Is Murder." We had been given the heads up that these gigs were to work out the kinks. The tech was new, looping new. A nervous energy pervaded the room as the track built up. Doucet in a cowboy hat and plaid, legs bowed saddle style and his right foot stomped out the kick drum pace; McClelland's tanned leather boots snapped back in response on the hardwood box beneath her feet, the loop pedal capturing the beat as she twisted her toes inward and dug her hips into the song's stomp/clap rhythm and dark harmonies. As if superstitiously holding our breath through a tunnel, we cheered, emerging on the other side, able to breath and relax.
The rest of the set followed suit. Anxious smiles, relieved smiles, McClelland and Doucet exchanging glances. Pausing mid-song to remember lyrics, or re-work a mis-timed loop; the audience glowing and radiating awe and captivation, in on the fun and the fuck ups. The two worked well off each other's talents; Doucet's impossibly fast hands producing cavernous, reverberant notes from his Gretsch, McClelland's careful acoustic strumming providing the horizon for reference and a way home through "Glenrio," "Emerald Isle" (another new song), "Mitzi's" from Doucet's 2001 album Aloha Manitoba, and McClelland's "Passenger 24."
Like couples do, they shared too much at times; Doucet built camaraderie by embarrassing his wife. "This next one is by a guy who's on my wife's 'list'." "Too much information! And he's way too old for me." The reply before Springsteen's "I'm On Fire." Doucet's revelation giving the song an unintended infidelitous subtext as McClelland sang "... tell me now baby is he good to you, can he do to you the things that I do." With a finale of "Broken One" and "Long Haul Driver," instantly recognizable tracks from Doucet's back catalogue, we disentwined and scattered. Whitehorse undoubtedly adds to Doucet and McClelland's live performance. I had seen the song-trading, guitar only approach before, and though captivating due to the enormous talents of each artist, never achieved this potency. Stomp away, Whitehorse.
Catch Whitehorse again on August 30 @ The Casbah Lounge, Hamilton (Free) or on any of their other tour dates from now through to Halloween: http://www.whitehorsemusic.ca/tour.html
Listen to "Killing Time Is Murder" on their website (http://www.whitehorsemusic.ca/index.html) or, grab the album Whitehorse on iTunes (August 30th release for other formats).
Set List (First recorded by, Album, Year)
Cleveland (Doucet, Blood's Too Rich, 2008)
Go Down Matthew (McClelland, Thumbelina's One Night Stand, 2006)
Killing Time Is Murder (Whitehorse, Whitehorse, 2011)
Glen Rio (McClelland, Victoria Day, 2009)
Emerald Isle (Whitehorse, Whitehorse, 2011)
Mitzi's (Doucet, Aloha Manitoba, 2001)
Passenger 24 (McClelland, Thumbelina's One Night Stand, 2006)
I'm On Fire (Springsteen, Born in The U.S.A., 1985)
Broken One (Doucet, Broken, 2005)
Long Haul Driver (Doucet, Fokestar EP, 2006)