Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Redo The Stacks

So guess where I spent my Saturday night? That’s right, where all the cool kids hang out – the public library. No, I wasn’t microfiche cruising (everyone knows that Thursday is microfiche night), but was instead at one of the shows celebrating the library’s new Local Music Collection, a commendable move on the library system’s part to load up on CDs from all sorts of independent Toronto bands (with some assistance from the good folks at Soundscapes).

This was the second of two shows held at Toronto libraries, the first being a Blocks-loaded event at the North York Central Library earlier this month. The downtown lineup was considerably more laid back though on account of nursing a cold I only stuck around for Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood and LalThe Old Soul could very well have blown the roof off the Reference Library, I’ve no idea.

But what I did see was mostly very good. Well, Lal didn’t do much for me with their rather dated-sounding, world music trip-hop and hit-you-over-the-head, socially conscious lyrics. But it was nice to see laptop-jockey Nicholas Murray using a library book cart for his workstation. Elliott Brood was definitely more up my alley as they (not a he) tore things up with their rollicking, banjo-plucking, self-proclaimed “death country”. With a set liberally dosed with library humour (there is such a thing), they impressed and got me to reserve one of their CDs through the library. They’ll also be at Lee’s Palace on December 15. Probably not so much with the library humour at that show. It’s all about context.

I was glad that the set order didn’t correspond with what was listed in the advertising because it was Great Lake Swimmers that I most wanted to see and I don’t know that I’d have made it through a couple more acts to get to them. Since I finally got around to properly discovering the songs of Tony Dekker a few months ago, I’ve really been won over by both his songwriting and performances. Dekker’s voice is so understated but enveloping, it really is always a treat to see and hear him live, especially in an unconventional yet wholly fitting venue like the atrium of a closed, five-storey library. Marvelous. The library should do stuff like this more often.

The Toronto Star talked to people from both the bands and library at the North York show to find out how the new collection came together.

Photos: Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood, Lal @ The Toronto Reference Library – November 18, 2006
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Various Stages”
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Bodies And Minds”
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Moving Pictures, Silent Films”
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “I Will Never See The Sun”
MP3: Elliott Brood – “The Bridge”
MP3: Elliott Brood – “President 35”
MP3: Lal – “Shallow Water”
Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “To Leave It Behind” (YouTube)
Video: Elliott Brood – “The Bridge” (YouTube)
Video: Elliott Brood – “Second Son” (YouTube)
MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers
MySpace: Elliott Brood
MySpace: Lal

Dekker also contributed to the new Barzin record My Life In Rooms, from which a new video has just been released. I talked a bit about Barzin a few weeks ago.

Video: Barzin – “Leaving Time” (YouTube)

Pitchfork has a sit-down with Joanna Newsom about her new album Ys. Curiously, the one question they neglect to ask was, “hey – remember that time we leaked your new record to the internet three months before the release date? Wasn’t that great?” Unsurprisingly, Ys is ruling Metacritic something fierce right now.

John Stirratt gives Billboard an update in all things Wilco (new album almost done, looking at late Spring release), The Autumn Defense (new album January 9, touring to follow) and procreation (new baby fully gestated, due today). And head over to RBally who is posting a recent Jeff Tweedy solo set over the course of this week.

Pernice Brothers recently stopped by the WOXY Lounge and their set is now available to download.

Explosions In The Sky’s new record All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone isn’t out for another three months but one of the songs is already available to download – check it out. And no, that’s not a typo – the file is an MP4.

MP4: Explosions In The Sky – “Welcome, Ghosts”

Reax talks to Craig Finn about The Hold Steady as musical comfort food.

Guster will be in town at the Phoenix on February 26.

By : Frank Yang at 8:57 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. John says:

    Elliott Brood are fucking great!

  2. Katie says:

    Someone should tell the Star that they’re only two weeks behind on the library story — that chick from Eye wrote it up in the Globe before the Blocks show (which was way more fun, btw).

  3. Frank says:

    well I expect the library story was run when it was to promote the second show, which was happening that night.

  4. Katie says:

    Yeah, but the piece focused way more on the *first* show, which was just silly. Sometimes it amazes me how much the local press just chase each others’ tails. Yeah, the weeklies included (let’s not get started down the lines of that stillepost thread yet again), but at least they tend to be ahead of the game. Whenever the Star tries to do ‘hip,’ they just come off as desperately lame.