Posts Tagged ‘Phonemes’

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Sleep Patterns

Canadian Musicfest 2011 suggestions that I won’t be taking

Photo By Samantha CardowSamantha CardowWith festivals come hard choices, and for this year’s edition of Canadian Musicfest, getting underway with a handful of events tonight and in earnest as of tomorrow, I am choosing to eschew the club-hopping-ness that typically comes with these sorts of fest and largely plant myself in one place for each evening. Hard choice or lazy choice? A little of both.

But just because I am staying put doesn’t mean that I recommend others do the same. So by way of festival preview, here’s a list of stuff that I almost certainly won’t be going to but that you should, or at least should investigate. As for what I am going to be seeing over the next few nights, well you can wait for the post-mortem for that.

Wednesday, March 9
Snowblink @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – their release party for the beauteous album Long Live this past weekend apparently a carnivalesque success, the Toronto duo have announced their festival showcase. If you missed the Music Gallery show, as I did, you should make this one, as I will not.
MP3: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”

Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – acoustically-inclined pop-rock comprised of Danes who met in Brooklyn will be all over Toronto this week, following this show with a midnight engagement at The Dakota Tavern on Friday night and an 8PM opening slot at The El Mocambo on Saturday night.
MP3: Alcoholic Faith Mission – “Running With Insanity”

Thursday, March 10
Modern Superstitions @ The Horseshoe, 8:30PM – this local quartet delivers scrappy garage rock with a healthy dose of hooks, attitude and not a little sex appeal. Only an EP to their name right now but more and better will come.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

Molly Rankin @ The Horseshoe, 9:20PM – caught a bit of this Nova Scotia native – yes, of those Rankins – during a BBQ at NXNE last year, and her rootsy power-pop made an impression, even over the sound of me eating a tasty burger. She has members of Two Hours Traffic in her band, presumably voluntarily.
MP3: Molly Rankin – “Bombshell”

Heartbeat Hotel @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – rising locals continue to refine their heady brew of psychedelic pop, and hopefully their live show will be as good as their recorded works – maybe it’ll happen this evening!
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”

Memoryhouse @ The Great Hall, 10:45PM – hey, didja hear? The local dreampop duo has signed to Sub Pop. Not that you need the validation of some big American indie label to know that these guys are great and worth seeing. No, you’re smarter than that.
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”

The High Dials @ Hard Luck, 11PM – this venue is pretty new but I’m reasonably certain it’s not a drug front for the mob. The High Dials, on the other hand, have been around for ages and I am certain they’re still putting out some of the sharpest power-pop around.
MP3: The High Dials – “Chinese Boxes”

The Darcys @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – long one of the city’s most bursting-with-potential as well as sort-of snakebit bands, their new – and first? – second album is done and should finally deliver on their immense promise. Appreciate their ubiquitousness on local stages while you can.
MP3: The Darcys – “The House Built Around Your Voice”

Halves @ The Hideout, 12AM – these Dublliners were playing at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin the very same night I was there in 2008. I didn’t go upstairs to see them, drank a Guinness instead. TRUE STORY. They cultivate a gorgeous, post-rock with vocals vibe reminiscent of Early Day Miners and are also playing Friday at The Comfort Zone at 8PM.
Video: Halves – “Medals”

Austra @ Wrongbar, 1AM – the artist formerly known as Private Life formerly known as Stelmanis formerly known as Katie Stelmanis has finally settled on an identity and a sound – dark electro-pop – and is reaping the benefits and buzz from it. Her debut Feel It Break is out in May.
MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”

The Butterfly Explosion @ The Hideout, 2AM – the Irish shoegazers have visited before and broken up and reformed in the interim, and have now drawn an unenviable insomniac/unemployed time slot. If you’re still out and about at that hour and looking for something to see, they won’t disappoint.
MP3: The Butterfly Explosion – “Sophia”

Friday, March 11
Rebekah Higgs @ Supermarket, 9PM – Haligonian songwriter constantly trying to reconcile her folkish roots and electronic inclinations with tuneful results. Her Little Voice EP offers a taste of the new full-length coming soon.
MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Asleep All Winter”

Aidan Knight @ The Rivoli, 10PM – BC singer-songwriter whose debut album Versicolour is an understated gem, and whose live show is charmingly goofy. Also playing a day show out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 4:40PM on Saturday.
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Friendly Fires”

The Jezabels @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – Australian rock act here all the way from Australia. Dark, dramatic, crunchy and Australian. Did I mention they’re Australian?
MP3: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”

Monogrenade @ The El Mocambo, 10:30PM – we all took French in grade school and high school, so language shouldn’t be a barrier to appreciating these rangy Montrealers, who’ve got the acoustic/orchestral smoulder thing down pat. Yeah, that’s a thing.
Video: Monogrenade – “Ce Soir”

Imaginary Cities @ The Garrison, 11:30PM – if an act as legendary as Pixies saw fit to invite these Winnapeggers along for their North American tour and see/hear them every night, then surely they’re worth an hour of your time? They’re also playing on Thursday night at Lee’s Palace at 10:30PM.
MP3: Imaginary Cities – “Hummingbird”

Bombay Bicycle Club @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – every year it seems there’s a token buzzy Brit band who makes a festival appearance – this year it’s Bombay Bicycle Club. But if you’re of the Anglophile persuasion, you’ve probably already decided to be at this show.
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Evening/Morning”

The Meligrove Band @ Sneaky Dee’s 1AM – local power-pop veterans will be showcasing songs from their latest album Shimmering Lights; always a spirited and rollicking good time.
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”

Saturday, March 12
The Balconies @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – local faves have been holed away writing album number two all Winter – surely there’ll be some new songs in the set? And no you don’t have to stay for Electric Six.
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”

Neon Windbreaker @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – at first they weren’t a real band, then not a serious band, and now they’re a band with a work ethic that shames career bands that’s playing all over the place both here and at SxSW with a penchant for covering ’90s Canadian alt-rock standards. So you may as well.
MP3: Neon Windbreaker – “Furniture”

Nadia von Hahn @ The Library Bar 11:30PM – smooth and sassy retro-pop from the west coast with loungey and doo-wop accents. Also doing a Daytime Living Room session for The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 2PM that afternoon.
Video: Nadia von Hahn – “This Holy Night”

Writers’ Strike @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – scrappy and kinda snotty pop-punk from Halifax, not really offering anything new but doing what they do well and with vigor.
MP3: Writers’ Strike – “Bad Time”

The White Wires @ Wrongbar, 2AM – highly regarded new purveyors of old-school garage rock from Ottawa, they may well be worth dealing with Parkdale at 2AM on a Saturday night to see. Seriously.
MP3: White Wires – “Be True To Your School (Until You Get Kicked Out)”

Did you notice the fest is really front-loaded this year? Yeah, me too.

Of course, besides the showcases there’s plenty else going on that doesn’t necessarily require a badge or wristband or even a cover charge – Dorkshelf has rounded some of them up. There’s the three-day in-store mini-fest happening at Sonic Boom, which will feature sets from the likes of The Balconies, The Most Serene Republic, Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis, James Vincent McMorrow and Karkwa, among many many others – the full list and schedule is up at the Sonic Boom website.

Criminal Records will also be hosting an in-store with a west coast flavour on Friday night at 7PM, featuring Aidan Knight – complimented above – and We Are The City.

MP3: We Are The City – “Happy New Year”

There’s also a full list of performers and times for the Living Room Sessions noted a couple times above – all performances are free and all-ages.

Memoryhouse discusses their background and aesthetics with Spinner.

The Toronto Star talks to The Darcys about their near-death and rebirth.

Spinner talks to The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who are opening up Thursday night’s bill at Lee’s Palace as well as playing a Living Room Session at 5:20 on Saturday.

She Does The City asks random questions of Young Galaxy’s Stephen Ramsay. They’re the headliner on the Thursday night Lee’s Palace bill, going on at 11:30PM.

Citeeze talks to Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Little Scream, whose debut album The Golden Record has been released on iTunes as of this week, well ahead of the physical edition’s April 12 street date. A new MP3 from said record is also available to download. She is opening things up at The Opera House on Thursday night at 8:30, and note that she will no longer be supporting Sharon Van Etten at The Drake on April 12.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

The National Post chats with Karkwa, who are at Wrongbar on Friday night with a set time of 10PM.

J Mascis’ new solo record Several Shades Of Why, which you can expect to hear when he headlines The Great Hall on Friday night, is streaming over at Spin ahead of its March 15 release.

Stream: J Mascis / Several Shades Of Why

The Globe & Mail previews Canadian Music Week by chatting with Jenn Grant, Imaginary Cities and Hollerado.

Chad VanGaalen’s next record Diaper Island will be out May 17; details at Chart.

Mumford & Sons might be getting the headlines for their railroad tour through the southwest this Spring, but a similar excursion – though presumably by good old Via Rail rather than some retro-fied locomotive – is happening across Canada and is bringing Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, Magali Meagher of The Phonemes and Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees to 16 station stops from coast to coast. The Toronto date is April 21 at The Tranzac.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: The Mountains & The Trees – “More & More & More”

And if this hasn’t been quite enough Canadian music to get you through the day/week/month, head over to The Line Of Best Fit for another Oh! Canada mix to download.

Whew. Effin’ festivals.

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Spin The Bottle

The D'Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers at The Theatre Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen the Summerworks festival last year decided to incorporate a music program into its already-established showcase for independent theatre, it seemed an ambitious yet eminently logical way to introduce fans of one art to the other – see am up-and-coming play, stick around for a couple up-and-coming bands. Has it worked? One can only hope, though considering Thursday night’s show was the first one I’d made it to either last year or this and I didn’t come early for the play, I may not be the best sample group.

The bill that finally got me out to the Theatre Centre, the decidedly charming in-the-round performance space underneath The Great Hall, featured a couple acts I’d seen together back in January at the Out Of This Spark anniversary show – The D’Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers – who were and still are two of the finest acts yet to fully seep into the city’s collective unconsciousness. Both acts have been working on new recordings – the D’Urbs seeking to follow up their 2008 debut We Are The Hunters and Forest City Lovers crafting their third album after last year’s Haunting Moon Sinking – so I had expected to hear some new material showcased alongside old favourites. The bands, however, had different ideas.

The fact that the stage was set up to accommodate two bands side by side was the first sign that this wasn’t going to be a typical show, but Forest City Lovers started off typically enough with the quartet showcasing their charming and understated folk-pop, led by Kat Burns’ haunting vocals. Surprisingly, the excused themselves after only about four or five familiar selections with bassist Kyle Donnelly breaking into the deep groove of The D’Urbervilles’ “Spin The Bottle” and the rest of the band finger-snapped and shouted their way offstage, West Side Story style, as the D’Urbs came out and took over. Donnelly stayed put, since he was also the D’Urbervilles bassist and would the musical lynchpin for the evening. Like their labelmates, The D’Urbervilles set was short and comprised mainly known material, though delivered with enough gusto and enthusiasm to make up for some of the slop around the edges of their delivery. I’ve seen them tighter before, is all. They also wrapped after just five songs, but promised something special coming up after a short intermission.

And if anyone in the audience hadn’t figured it out yet, it because clear what that was when the drummers for both bands took their seats behind their respective kits and kicked into an adrenalized version of Forest City Lovers’ “Country Road”. Yep, for one night only, it was going to be a Forest D’Urberville supergroup or, as they called, the Out Of This Spark Family Band saluting their label boss on the occasion of his birthday. As they alternated between selections from each band’s catalog, it was somewhat revelatory how energized the usually more sedate Forest City Lovers material sounded with the D’Urbervilles’ big rock injection. I’m not suggesting they invest in the Marshall stacks, but that extra dimension could be something to explore. And as for The D’Urbs, their big sound just got bigger, but Burns’ harmonies were a nice if mixed-too-low addition. You couldn’t call the resultant seven-piece a study in musical precision – they’re stylistically a little to disparate to go together like chocolate and peanut butter and at points it wobbled as if one were literally sitting on the others’ shoulders whilst playing – but the sense of fun being had onstage was undeniable and irresistible and more than carried the night.

There’s some video of the show at Morning Noon Night. Forest City Lovers play next at Lee’s Palace on August 28 – details on that show below. The D’Urbervilles are playing V Fest Ontario at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 29.

Photos: The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers @ The Theatre Centre – August 13, 2009
MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Dragnet”
MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Spin The Bottle”
MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Hot Tips”
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Scared Of Time”
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Oh Humility” (live)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Pirates”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Song For Morrie”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Please, Don’t Go”
MySpace: The D’Urbervilles
MySpace: Forest City Lovers

So while there wasn’t much (if any) new material from either band aired during the show, both Forest City Lovers and The D’Urbervilles contribute new tracks to the second Friends In Bellwoods double-CD charity compilation, those just two of 39 good reasons to pick this record when it comes out August 25. Like the first edition did back in early 2007, Friends acts as an excellent snapshot of everything musical and wonderful going on in Toronto and southern Ontario right now, boasting new tracks from established local heroes like Final Fantasy and Great Lake Swimmers, bands of the moment like The Rural Alberta Advantage, Basia Bulat and The Acorn and a slew more that will send you scrambling to Google in search of a MySpace so you can find out who the heck they are. And of course, there’s the charitable aspect – like the first comp, which raised over $11,000, all proceeds from the record and attendant shows will go to the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank.

And what of those shows? The launch party for the first edition at the Tranzac ended up beyond sold out, the lineup of those shut out stretching up and around the block (including yours truly) so they’re expanding the launch festivities this time around. The first event goes this Wednesday night, August 19, at the Gladstone and features performances from Gentleman Reg and Katie Sketch (formerly of The Organ), Diamond Rings, Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija and Emma McKenna, but the big to-dos will happen the weekend following the album’s release. First off on the 28th at Lee’s Palace you’ll have Ohbijou, Bocce, Forest City Lovers and Evening Hymns – tickets $12 in advance – and on Saturday, they take it back to the Tranzac for an all-day blow-out, starting at noon and featuring short sets from many of the bands on the record including The Acorn, Bruce Peninsula and Sebastien Grainger, amongst many others. Admission for that is $10 at the door or $8 with a non-perishable food item. That does not include broccoli.

And to whet your appetite, here’s three of the tracks from Friends In Bellwoods 2, courtesy The D’Urbs, The Phonemes and Tusks.

MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Magic Arrow”
MP3: The Phonemes – “April, Let’s Send His Colleagues An Email”
MP3: Tusks – “New To Old Money”

Mentioned above was Diamond Rings and mentioned throughout today’s post The D’Urbervilles – if you like the latter, you should check out the former. Not because the The D’Urbs’ post-punk and Diamond Rings’ DIY glam sound particularly alike – they don’t, really – but because Diamond Rings is the synth-happy, one-man-band alter-ego of D’Urbs frontman John O’Regan. His debut release is a split 7″ single with PS I Love You, his side of which has a new video. And courtesy of the band/man/experience, I’ve got a copy of the 7″ – which comes in decadent purple coloured vinyl – to give away. If you want it, email me at contests AT with “I want a Diamond Ring” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and get that to me before midnight, August 20. And note that in addition to the Friends In Bellwoods show on the 19th, there’s Diamond Rings shows in Hamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood on the 20th and in Guelph at Kazoo! 76 on the 21st. Also check out an interview from last month at Steel Bananas.

Video: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”

Also be sure to head over to Soundscapes’ YouTube channel, where they’ve posted videos from Ohbijou’s in-store there back in June. And check out interviews with the band over at Chart, ExclaimTV and The Line Of Best Fit.

And speaking of TLOBF, they continue to demonstrate their mad love of Canada by assembling a third compilation of Brit-approved Canadian content, free for the grabbing. So go grab.

The Toronto Star sits down with Joe Pernice in the Toronto coffee shop where he wrote most of his debut novel It Feels So Good When I Stop, located some 200 metres from the Dakota Tavern where he’ll be performing on September 24. Well you can’t say the man doesn’t support his own neighbourhood. Which is as good an excuse as any to point out these episodes Indie Rock Cribs that the man whipped up a few years back. Still hi-larious.

Chart took some time to talk to St Vincent’s Annie Clark when she was in town last week.

The Aspen Times has an interview with Steve Earle.