Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Bird On Your Grave

Marissa Nadler would probably be happy to have you believe that her music was unearthed in a time capsule underneath the floorboards of a coffee house from the tail end of the ’60s and that she was a contemporary of the likes of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. And listening to her third album, Songs III: Bird On The Water, you could almost be convinced – her gently trilling voice, simple guitar accompaniment and ethereal production values give her gentle folk songs an air of timelessness that could almost as easily come from medieval times (the historical era, not the restaurant) as modern days.

But there are signs, telltale signs, that root it in the here and now – the reverbs on “Dying Breed” that come straight out of Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien” or the intertwining electric lead guitars of “Bird On Your Grave” and “Rachel” that could be lifted from any ’90s college rock radio playlist. However, these are points of interest – not “gotchas”. There’s no faux-retro affectation here – just a collection of songs that may not have the same gravity as their spiritual forebears, but make up for it with a delivery that sounds like a flock of birds in a grey winter’s morning.

Nadler is in town this Friday night for a show at Sneaky Dee”s with Tradition, The Saffron Sect and Castlemusic. Tickets $8 at the door.

MP3: Marissa Nadler – “Diamond Heart”
MP3: Marissa Nadler – “Thinking Of You”
MySpace: Marissa Nadler

Bootlog is sharing some recordings of Basia Bulat’s set at the Wolfe Island Music Fest last month. Her Oh My Darling is out September 18 and will feature a bonus track that wasn’t on the European version. The two-part CD release party will take place at the Music Gallery on September 22.

CMJ features Feist.

The Toronto Star interviewed Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy during her stop in town last Tuesday.

The Times talks to Emma Pollock on the eve of the release of her solo debut, Watch The Fireworks, next Tuesday. The Herald also ran an interview last month. There’s a new MP3 and video from the album available. Emma is in town October 21 at the Phoenix opening for The New Pornographers.

MP3: Emma Pollock – “Adrenaline”
Video: Emma Pollock – “Acid Test” (YouTube)

The Guardian looks at the current wave of solo artists finding success in the UK music scene including Patrick Wolf, who’s at Lee’s Palace on October 6, and Bat For Lashes, the odds-on favourite for this year’s Mercury prize. If she wins later today, expect her September 28 gig at the El Mocambo to become a VERY hot ticket. The Independent previews the awards and Drowned In Sound looks at the Mercury-equivalent music prizes from around the globe including Canada’s own Polaris, for which they like Patrick Watson’s chances.

Couple interesting releases in the Spinner.com complete album preview jukebox thing this week – Autumn Of The Seraphs, the new one from Pinback, and the Guilt By Association covers comp which is definitely worth at least a background listen – or just put the Superchunk cover of Destiny’s Child on repeat.

Stream: Autumn Of The Seraphs
Stream: Guilt By Association

Saw Live Free Or Die Hard over the weekend, a sequel that while totally unnecessary was actually pretty enjoyable. Nice to see an action film that does it old school with guns and punching and car chases (and wrecks) and generally wanton destruction. Of course, there’s reaches in logic – John McClane’s superhuman ability to avoid traffic, the bad guys using Palm Pilots to take down the power grid of the entire east coast – that would make Jack Bauer go “oh, come on!” and Timothy Olyphant is possibly the least menacing villain ever, but it was certainly not an unpleasant way to while away an evening.

Trailer: Live Free Or Die Hard (YouTube)

Also watched this weekend – Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain which was as strange and fascinating as I’d expected but also much more emotionally affecting. I also finished watching season one of Dexter, which I didn’t really like at first – the whole “I’m a monster, I feel nothing blah blah blah” monologues put me off but as the storyline progressed and the whodunit became more of the focus, I got a lot more into it. And finally, thanks to Information Leafblower for pointing out this Washington Post dispatch from the set of the final episode of The Wire, aka the show that has ruined me for all other cop TV shows (including Dexter). The fifth and final season premieres on January 6, 2008.

By : Frank Yang at 8:24 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Mike says:

    Marissa Nadler sounds an aweful lot like Mazzy Star. Pretty close.

  2. Frank says:

    a little, but less narcolepsy and country-western dustiness.

  3. distopian_dreamer says:

    I picked up Songs III: Bird On The Water a few weeks ago, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. I think Greg Weeks’ production gives it a much fuller sound, filling out the spaces between the notes compared to the sparseness of Marissa’s previous records. It’s a fantastic record and should definitely rank among this year’s best.