Posts Tagged ‘Del Bel’

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

CONTEST – Bry Webb and Del Bel @ 918 Bathurst – June 1, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Bry Webb and Del Bel
What: A bill featuring the creators of two of the strongest local releases of last year. That would be former Constantines frontman Webb’s solo debut Provider and local orchestral noir collective Del Bel’s debut Oneiric.
Why: It’s a little bit homecoming for Del Bel, currently wrapping up an eastern Canadian tour, and a little bit release show for their new single featuring a duet between vocalist Lisa Conway and Bry Webb, and a lot Wavelength.
When: Friday, June 1, 2012
Where: 918 Bathurst in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: Lisa Bozikovic, currently touring with Del Bel, rounds out the bill.
How: Tickets for the show are $12 in advance but courtesy of Wavelength, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want a Cure For Loneliness” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, May 30.
What else: The Toronto Star looks at the creative process behind Del Bel.

MP3: Del Bel featuring Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

Monday, May 7th, 2012

We Have Made A Spark

Rose Cousins at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s basically a given that the songwriters who pen the saddest songs also have the wickedest senses of humour, right? I have no quantitative proof to support this – only anecdotal – but if I were to start assembling some scientific proofs in support of this hypothesis, I’d certainly include Rose Cousins’ show at The Rivoli on Thursday night in the lab report. It was a record release show for her third album We Have Made A Spark – the gorgeousness of which was saluted hereabouts last month – and while three months after it came out seems a little late for a record release show, she has been touring the record all over since it came out and has presumably been making each show an occasion. This one certainly was.

And not just because they put out chairs, dispensed with an opener, and scheduled an early start time, though those were certainly signs that it wasn’t going to be a typical show. As was Cousins opening up the show solo with a cover – Blue Rodeo’s “Five Days In May” – which would be one of two songs by others she’d perform that night (Ana Egge’s “Shadow Fall” being the other). The rest of the show, however, was dedicated to showcasing Spark in all its rich emotional nuances with Cousins moving from guitar to piano and being accompanied by two of the musicians who played on the album, Austin Nevins on electric guitar and Zachariah Hickman on upright bass. She was also joined through the night by special guests Suzie Ungerleider aka Oh Susanna, Ruth Moody of The Wailin’ Jennys and Robyn Dell’Unto who augmented Cousins’ own gorgeous vocals with some astonishing harmonies.

Between the songs, however, it was all charm and humour with Cousins proving herself quite the crack up with anecdotes, impressions and audience banter, the crowning glory of which was a hilariously detailed description of her ideal soundtrack placement for the song, “Go First” – specifically, the season finale of a surgical drama that included but wasn’t limited to a newborn child getting an arm transplant from a gorilla. It really is a shame that a video already exists for the song because her treatment had “viral” written all over it. It was moments of levity like this that helped provide the right amount of lightness to balance out the emotional weight and dark tones of the songs, though as Cousins pointed out the album isn’t all downcast – it acknowledges and arcs towards the silver linings of matters. No jokes were needed to end the show on a high note, however, as it was all hands on deck for a rowdy cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It”. Not even the ginormous thunderstorm that awaited outside the Rivoli could dampen the spirits of those leaving the show after that finale; our clothes, yes.

NOW had an interview with Cousins in advance of the show.

Photos: Rose Cousins @ The Rivoli – May 3, 2012
MP3: Rose Cousins – “The Darkness”
Video: Rose Cousins – “Go First”

Bry Webb and Del Bel will team up for a Wavelength show at 918 Bathurst on June 1 to mark the release of a collaborative single which you can hear below. Single aside, both have excellent albums to draw from – Webb with Provider and Del Bel with Oneiric – and both have already put on impressive shows this year in support of them – Del Bel in January and Webb in February. All of which is to say you can’t go wrong here. Tickets are $12 in advance.

MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”
MP3: Del Bel featuring Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

Le Blogotheque has a video session from and Spin a conversation about hats with Patrick Watson; he plays the Music Hall on May 29.

Uptown and Beatroute have features on Great Lake Swimmers, back in town playing a show at the Music Hall on June 2. They’ve also just been announced as support for Blue Rodeo’s annual Molson Amphitheatre show on August 18.

Rolling Stone gets to know Japandroids, whose new record Celebration Rock is out May 29 and who play Lee’s Palace on June 23.

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Hooded Fang, whose next local show is their NXNE showcase on June 15 at The Silver Dollar.

Dan Mangan has released a new video for the opening track of his latest, Oh Fortune. He plays a free show at Pecault Square on the afternoon of June 16.

Video: Dan Mangan – “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All”

Long rumoured but now fact, Leonard Cohen will take his new record Old Ideas on the road and play the Air Canada Centre on December 4. Full dates at Pitchfork.

Video: Leonard Cohen – “Show Me The Place”

Braids talk to Spin about the direction of their sophomore record.

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Stirring Bones

Del Bel, The Hollow Earth, Persian Rugs, and RLMDL at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI like a break as much as the next guy – believe me – but coming up on two and a half weeks since I’d been to a live show and with the January concert calendar looking pretty sparse by any measure, I was getting pretty anxious to go and see something. Happily, it was Wavelength to the rescue. I hadn’t been to a showcase in almost two years – certainly not since they wrapped the weekly series and went to the intermittent schedule – but their first presentation of the year was just about what I was looking for, with a good blend of the familiar, unknown and intriguing.

On paper, there was a fair bit going against RLMDL (pronounced “role model”), the stage name of one Jordan Allen of London, Ontario – self-identifying as “chillwave” chief among them, the vowel-less stage name and trying to make a compelling live show out of the one-guy-with-a -table-full-of-samplers-and-effects-pedals not far behind – but to his credit, especially considering this was one of his first live shows (if I heard correctly), he did pretty well. Sure, he had an aesthetic of loops and synths that may age badly and an inherently uninteresting visual presentation, but those were secondary to the fact that he had solid melodies, confident vocals, and added a reasonable amount of physicality to the proceedings. In short, he had songs, and if you’ve got songs you’re doing alright. Not every electro-tinkerer artists deserve to leave their bedroom studios; Allen does.

I’d seen Persian Rugs back in October and while I’d been pleased to see the former Airfields/Diableros back in action, they didn’t seem to have fully cohered and while their jangly indie-pop was certainly friendly enough, it mostly just made me remember how much I liked their former outfits. Happily, the months since seem to have done the unit a world of good as they had a much better foot to put forward this time out. The formula remains the same – classic pop with hooks made of jangly guitars and vintage-y organs – but rotating through their three lead vocalists emphasized their individual and collective strengths and just coming across much more assuredly than that Parts & Labour show made for a much better performance. There’s still room to improve but it would seem the hardest part – the coming together and sounding like a cohesive band rather than echoes of their past projects – seems to be behind them.

How new a band is The Hollow Earth? So much so that a short feature in this week’s issue of a local alt-weekly is now the top online reference about them. But while they’ve got no Facebook/Soundcloud/Bandcamp presence, the folks in the band have been operating in local bands for many years (Pony Da Look, Beethoven Frieze, Blood Ceremony) now and the sound they’ve come together to create is hardly new, either. As one might discern from their name, they work an unabashedly ’70s-influenced mine of inspiration which you could reasonably describe as any or all of stoner, prog, psych, or metal with a bit of goth or folk thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t quite heavy enough for headbanging but plenty of nodding and being entertained by Gaven Dianda’s extended guitar solos and Amy Bowles’ interpretive dance moves.

Relatively new Toronto collective Del Bel came to my attention late last year when The Toronto Star included “Beltone” from their debut album Oneiric in their year-end mix of some of the best in Canadian music for 2011. High praise, and a few listens to Oneiric confirmed that it was deserved; it’s moody and atmospheric, yet very raw and real in its way largely thanks to singer Lisa Conway, whose vocals can come across as ethereal or bruised depending on where one stands in the combination caberet/carnival/antique shop run by David Lynch that seems to define their musical world. Live, they were a nine-piece which in this town typically means some sort of racket, but instead all the horns, strings, keys, and percussion that filled the stage were unified in their mission to set the scene, sonically speaking. That said, they sounded more ramshackle live than on record – deliberately, I should point out, in a Tom Waits sort of way – but still compelling in their balance of discomfort and beauty.

NOW has the interview with The Hollow Earth mentioned above, while BlogTO has an interview with Del Bel and Southern Souls has a beautifully-staged and shot session in a Hamilton church.

Photos: Del Bel, The Hollow Earth, Persian Rugs, RLMDL @ The Garrison – January 7, 2012
MP3: Persian Rugs – “Always All”
MP3: RLMDL – “Just My Luck”
Stream: Del Bel – “Beltone”
Stream: Del Bel / Oneiric
Stream: RLMDL / Just My Luck

Weakerthans frontman John K Samson could spend January 24, the day his solo debut solo album Provincial comes out, anywhere – his beloved Winnipeg comes to mind – but instead he’ll be hanging out at Soundscapes around 7PM playing some songs for anyone who might care to listen. That should be you. Yes, it’s free. He also plays The Great Hall on March 22, but that’s not free.

Stream: John K. Samson – “Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San”
Stream: John K Samson – “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”

Trust may currently be best known as the extra-cirricular project of Austra drummer Maya Postepski, but with the February 28 release of their debut album TRST they should be able to stand on their own merits as another impressive Toronto-based electro-dance act. They’ll play a record release show at Wrongbar on March 3.

Video: Trust – “Bulbform”
Video: Trust – “Candy Walls”

Also out on February 28 is The End Of That, the new record from Montreal’s Plants & Animals. A first MP3 from the record is available now to download.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Lightshow”

Great Lake Swimmers have revealed details about their next album via Exclaim. Their fifth album New Wild Everywhere will be out April 3 and a cross-Canada Spring tour will follow, including a June 2 date at The Music Hall in Toronto.

Stream: Great Lake Swimmers – “Easy Come Easy Go”

Snowblink have premiered a new video from Long Live.

Video: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”