Monday, February 8th, 2010

Duck Duck Goose

Review of Woodpigeon’s Die Stadt Muzikanten

Photo By Wilkosz + WayWilkosz + WayUnder normal circumstances, it’d be logical to consider the record that followed a band’s breakthrough album through the lens of how those successes might have affected their creative process and output. You can’t quite do that in the case of Woodpigeon’s newest record Die Stadt Muzikanten, however, because even though its predecessor Treasury Library Canada was the album that brought the Calgary outfit national recognition via the Polaris Prize long list, Muzikanten was already completed and in the can before the Treasury roller coaster ride began.

That makes the growth in sound and style from one record to the next that much more natural. The basic Woodpigeon recipe hasn’t changed much – Mark Hamilton’s compositions continue to be exemplary folk-pop rendered with delicacy in a widescreen scale, but this time the songs are delivered with more confidence and verve than before and are simultaneously more musically rangy and focused. Relative to what’s come before, Muzikanten is both louder – “My Denial In Argyle” is an unqualified rocker while “The Street Noise That Gives You Away” is epic in scope – and softer, with record closer and Jamie Fooks duet “Our Love Is As Tall As The Calgary Tower” one of their loveliest moments to date. Though it’s Hamilton’s vision that defines Woodpigeon, the record wouldn’t be nearly what it is without the contributions of his ever-expanding cast of supporting players, whose ability to bring to life the sounds in his head can’t be overstated. In particular, the backing vocals of Annalea Sordi-McClure and Foon Yap are a persistent, angelic choir hovering overhead throughout. Much of the charm of Treasury came from how it felt like a perfectly-matched collection of individual, snowglobe-like vignettes – Muzikanten pulls all those vignettes together into a single wondrous diorama, alive with song.

CMJ, Log Driver’s Waltz, Spill, The Record and Xtra all have feature pieces on Woodpigeon, who kick off their tour of Ontario and Quebec this week. They play the Drake Underground this Thursday, February 11, and will do an in-store at Soundscapes on February 14 at 5PM. Die Stadt Muzikanten will be released in the US on March 9 and in Europe on April 19.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MySpace: Woodpigeon

Beatroute and Spill have features on Woodhands, who are playing the Opera House on March 11.

The Wooden Sky are profiled by Beatroute and The Manitoban. They’re at the Horseshoe on March 13 as part of the Chart showcase for Canadian Musicfest.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Forest City Lovers, of which one of the songs is “If I Were A Tree” and thus continues the “wood” meme running through the first bit of this post. Hey, I make my own fun.

Beatroute and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will be performing on March 13 at the Royal York Hotel as part of the Indie Awards at Canadian Musicfest. Yeah, the Indie Awards. That’s right.

Chart talks to Zeus, whose Say Us arrives February 23 and who will be at Lee’s Palace on March 10.

Spinner talks to Laura Barrett about how she found herself opening up for The Magnetic Fields on their current North American tour, which stops in at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight.

Vue, Alive Sydney and The Gateway have feature pieces on Dan Mangan, who has two showcases (at least) at Canadian Musicfest this year – March 11 at The Great Hall and March 12 at The Courthouse.

Ottawa X-Press and Aux interview Basia Bulat. She has an in-store at Soundscapes on February 16 at 7PM.

The Montreal Gazette, The Globe & Mail and PopMatters have interviews with Owen Pallett, whose next hometown show is April 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Good news for those who were still in diapers the last time Thrush Hermit were an active band – a third reunion show has been added to go along with their two sold-out gigs at Lee’s Palace – there’s now a dry, all-ages matinee show scheduled for March 28 at 4:45PM – tickets are $17.50 and go on sale Wednesday. Joel Plaskett has also just announced details of a Thrush Hermit Complete Recordings box set coming out in time to coincide with the reunion tour and consisting of all of the band’s albums and EP as well as a wealth of rare and unreelased material and a DVD. Seven discs in all, and suitable for kids of all ages.

Sloan announced via Twitter that they will be releasing a digital compilation of all their official b-sides this week, aptly entitled B-Sides Win.

The Sadies give Exclaim a guided tour of their equipment.

NOW and The National Post pay tribute to Wavelength, whose weekly concert series wraps up for good this weekend with the 500th show blowouts.

Updates could be slim/intermittent/non-existent this week – woke up to a laptop with a DOA logic board, so until that gets fixed, I’ve got my work machine (which is for work – ahem), my iPhone and my 7-year old Windows machine which is going to be pressed back into emergency service. Sounds like fun, right? Right? Wrong.

By : Frank Yang at 9:47 am
Category: General

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post4 Responses.
  1. mark says:

    man, that’s a lot of wood bands frank. but thanks for turning me on to woodpigeon a while back. still processing the new album but i like it so far.

  2. Mike says:

    Anyone know the set times for the Magnetic Fields show tonight?

  3. Frank Yang says:

    Laura Barrett : 7:30
    Magnetic Fields : 8:30

  4. thomaus says:

    Proof you are working your computer too hard. Hopefully you had Applecare.