Posts Tagged ‘Oneida’

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Spirit Guides

Evening Hymns and The Harbour Coats at The Tranzac in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Bellwoods crew is certainly setting a high standard when it comes to set dressings. Thanks to them, I’ve now attended shows in the heart of a volcano, an exploding library in the sky and as of this past Friday night, a heavily wooded lumberjack camp. In reality, it was the Tranzac and the occasion was the record release party for Evening Hymns’ new album Spirit Guides; a grand and gauzey statement of gospel-inflected folk-rock which is quite highly-regarded around these parts.

Support for the night came from The Harbour Coats, who on most occasions are a miniature Canadian super-group of sorts with members of Constantines, Snailhouse and Evening Hymns principal Jonas Bonnetta but on this night, due to logistical issues, were just frontman Bry Webb and an acoustic guitar and his own And if the oft-repeated reference point for Constantines is a heavier Springsteen, then Harbour Coats is a nod to the Boss’ more stripped-down side. Decked out head to toe in blue Christmas lights, Webb turned in a short set of tunes rich with images of the Canadian north and proving that he was as compelling and charismatic a songwriter a performer outside the Cons as he was with them.

At one point in the set, Jonas Bonnetta mentioned that this was pretty much his first-ever headlining show and for the occasion, he did it up right. Enlisting many/most of the contributors who played on Spirit Guides, Evening Hymns ranged from Bonnetta solo to a stage-filling 10-piece band including members of The Wooden Sky, Ohbijou, The Magic and The D’Urbervilles as well as a couple of his own siblings. And though all the parts were in place to recreate the expansive beauty of Spirit Guides – the stage even looked the part of the record’s rustic aesthetic – it would prove to more a question of chemistry than mathematics.

Though the show began strongly and remained so as the band’s numbers ebbed and flowed, at one point leaving Bonnetta to perform solo for a few numbers from his first record Farewell To Harmony, to my ears they weren’t quite managing to capture the ineffable specialness of the recorded work. And there’s no shame in that – to catch lightning in a bottle once and commit it to tape is a feat, to be able to do it again and on demand is asking a lot. But as the show progressed, it became evident that things were starting to coalesce and by the time the band’s numbers swelled for what was clearly the climax of the show, for which they’d wisely saved the record’s biggest moments, they were sounding like something much greater than the sum of its parts, in the same way that Spirit Guides is much more than the sum of its influences and reference points. As if cued by the bold organ of “Tumultuous Sea”, the show found a new level and through the encore and its gloriously jubilant readings of “Broken Rifle” and “Mtn. Song”, all crashing chords, thundering percussion and choral vocals, it was finally everything it could have been.

With so many of the record’s performers involved with other bands, it’s a bit difficult to envision how they could take this record on the road and do it the same sort of justice they did on this evening. This is not to say it can’t be just as effective and affecting with a different configuration, and I’m sure that however they end up taking it on tour, even if it’s just Bonnetta solo, it will be its own kind of special but I’m pretty pleased to have been able to witness it with the original cast, so to speak.

Soundproof and The Vancouver Sun have interviews with Bonnetta and London Burgeoning Metropolis, another review of the show.

Photos: Evening Hymns, The Harbour Coats @ The Tranzac – December 4, 2009
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Cedars”
MySpace: Evening Hymns

NXEW is offering a free seasonal download from Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

Great Lake Swimmers have posted up a set of live videos entitled The Legion Session. They play Trinity-St. Paul’s on February 6.

Thrasher’s Wheat is hosting a stream of the new Neil Young live record Dreamin’ Man, featuring live performances of all of Harvest Moon, out tomorrow.

Stream: Neil Young / Dreamin’ Man Live ’92

In addition to playing the Constantines’ 10th anniversary shows at Lee’s Palace on December 12, Oneida will play an in-store across the street at Sonic Boom at 4PM with what they’re calling an “improvised set”.

MP3: Oneida – “I Will Haunt You”
MP3: Oneida – “Saturday”
MP3: Oneida – “What’s Up Jackal”

American Songwriter talks to Canadian landed immigrant songwriter Joe Pernice.

Country-rockabilly-bluegrass-punk-whatever trio Those Darlins will bring their debut self-titled album to the Horsesehoe on February 9.

MP3: Those Darlins – “Red Light Love”

Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes talks to Pitchfork about how and where things are going with album number two.

Swear I’m Not Paul interviews Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers and learns they’ll be releasing two new albums in 2010 – a rocker called The Big To Do, presumably out first around February, and a “R&B Murder Ballad album” entitled Go Go Boots due out later in the year. There’s also features at Charleston City Paper and Charleston Daily Mail (I think the band might have just played in Charleston).

Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell talks hometowns with Spinner. They’re currently in Los Angeles working on their third record.

Cat Power tells The Courier-Mail that she’s working on a new record and the one that was reportedly done and ready to go, entitled The Sun, has been shelved.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Ratify The New

Review of The Hidden Cameras’ Origin: Orphan and giveaway

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongEven though he coined it himself, I often wonder if Joel Gibb regrets encouraging the use of “gay church folk music” as a description for the music of The Hidden Cameras. Certainly they got a lot of mileage out of it in the band’s earlier days, as it was both attention grabbing and accurate, but now, four albums in, it probably deserves to be retired.

It’s not that it’s no longer descriptive – Gibb is still gay (one assumes), it’s still music and it’s still built on foundations of folk and church traditions – but it doesn’t give them due credit for evolving from record to record and shedding some of the Cameras’ more titillating/explicit facets in exchange for more musical and lyrical sophistication. Case in point, their latest album Origin: Orphan. It remains unmistakeably a Hidden Cameras record – Joel Gibb’s muse is simply too distinctive for it to be anything else – but there’s a clear effort to broaden the definition of exactly what a Hidden Cameras record is. I’ve always found past albums to feel a bit static, so the ranginess Origin: Orphan is a real eye-opener.

There’s also a heaviness to the record that’s new, and maybe it’s just the excitement of being surprised by a Hidden Cameras album, but I think they wear it well. While the signature whimsy remains, it’s accented by sounds and textures that give them a real weight – the shrieking outro of “Do I Belong?”, the insistent descending riff of the title track, and the glorious foreboding of orchestral centerpiece “Walk On” – and end up the most memorable moments. And it’s the contrast of those dark pieces that give the brighter pop numbers even more jump, like the giddy almost-closing pairing of “Underage” and “The Little Bit” which sound as buoyant as anything they’ve ever recorded. Having reached a point in their existence where they seemed to be faced with the choice of sticking to the tried and true and becoming predictable or trying something new and risking not playing to their strengths, The Hidden Cameras have somehow managed to not only do both, but turn in maybe their best record yet in the process.

The Hidden Cameras are currently in the midst of an extensive North American tour with Gentleman Reg that will wrap with a homecoming show at the Opera House in Toronto on December 5. Tickets for the show are $15 in advance but courtesy of Rootmeansquare, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see The Hidden Cameras” in the subject line and your full name in the body and get that in to me before midnight, November 25.

Gibb talks to Spinner about how a trip to Berlin inspired the direction of the new album.

MP3: The Hidden Cameras – “Walk On”
Video: The Hidden Cameras – “In The NA”
MySpace: The Hidden Cameras

The Magnetic Fields will take the theme of their next album Realism to heart by playing songs from it in the flesh on a North American tour that kicks off shortly after the album’s January 26, 2010 release date. That includes a February 8 date at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Toronto, their first visit since a two-night stand at Trinity-St. Paul’s in July 2004. Tickets are $30.50 plus fees, onsale this Saturday though a presale started yesterday – I got second row centre tickets, so they had good ones blocked off.

Beach House have released the first MP3 from their third album Teen Dream, due out January 26. I kinda think I like this song better than anything they’ve done yet.

MP3: Beach House – “Norway”

Ever wish you could make your birthday last forever? Constantines do – their tenth anniversary celebrations have extended from a two-night stand at Lee’s Palace to a three night engagement, the third night taking place a full week after the second. So that’s December 11, 12 and 19 and with different support each night. The 11th will feature Attack In Black and Weakerthan John K Samson doing a solo set, the 12th has Oneida and Metz warming things up and the 19th has Julie Doiron and Ladyhawk on the bill.

Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija talks to Spinner, The Canmore Leader and See.

A slew of in-stores have been announced by Sonic Boom. You’ve got Koushik on November 19 at 7:30PM, Lullabye Arkestra on November 21 at 7PM, Malajube on November 25 at 7PM, The Schomberg Fair on November 28 at 4PM and Everything All The Time on December 2 at 7PM. All shows are free, though a donation of canned food is encouraged and appreciated.

MP3: Lullabye Arkestra – “We Fuck The Night”
MP3: Malajube – “Porte Disparu”
MP3: Everything All The Time – “Lazy Days”

The Toronto Public Library’s Make Some Noise series continues through this month, with a number of performances and discussions of interest to, well, probably anyone reading this site. Katie Stelmanis will give a performance at the Bloor/Gladstone branch this Friday, November 20, at 8PM, Colin Medley of Morning Noon Night will discuss the finer points of videography and “Documenting the Local Music Scene” at the Kennedy/Eglinton branch on November 24 at 7PM and Steve Jordan, grand poo-bah of the Polaris Music Prize, will get into the nitty-gritty of just how much of a bribe it takes to make the long list, short list and win the whole she-bang, respectively. Kidding – he’ll be talking about the Prize and Canadian music industry in general at the Northern District branch on December 1 at 7PM.

Paper Bag Records is celebrating seven years of not going under with a special covers compilation featuring their artists entitled 7 Year Itch and available to grab for free.