Monday, June 22, 2009

You are a very good dancer. What is your name?

Back in January, during CHMA's Stereophonic festival, I mentioned that the live version of Woodhands' "Dancer" was oodles better than anything on record, and that Maylee's vocals were, in fact, sung by drummer Paul Banwatt.

I've come across a really tight-sounding live release of Dancer on iTunes, with Paul doing the vocals, so I thought I'd share it with you. When I've seen them live, it was about this long, too. Enjoy!

Woodhands - Dancer (Live)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wake up on time; there's no one around.

Wow. It has come to my attention that I've never really talked about The Got To Get Got in any sort of length on this blog. I have previously on the radio show, but never on the blog. How very very strange. I must remedy this situation immediatement.

In 2005, I went to my first Halifax Pop Explosion. I had just turned 17 and was restricted to the All Ages shows. Luckily for me there was a show, at the Pavillion (which some of you may know) headlined by Ted Leo + the Pharmacists, featuring bands like Halifax's Sharp Like Knives (billed as "five wicked dance parties each with the strength of ten wicked dance parties"! how could I say no?), Toronto's Femme Generation, and a post-breakup North of America come back to showcase their wares. And, holy mackerel, this was one of the best concerts my young self had been to. And Mark Mullane and North of America were a highlight, I bought their album and have treasured it since. It's a beautiful possession.

Fastforward a few years. North of America shows are few and far between--I'm not even sure when the last one was, and the band is effectively broken up. Mark has been working this new project, The Got to Get Got since about 2006 as a cross-country venture, with chapters in Halifax and Vancouver (though I understand most of them are now based in Halifax). In 2007, they put out effectively a split EP between the two chapters of the band, which is absolutely fantastic. Contact me if you want to hear more than just what I post, but "Blood Test" is on their myspace.

Anyway, now it's 2009, and they've been touring like wild. They played in Sackville and in Saint John in April (but I missed both shows, because I was so disorganised and never in town at the right time! Boo to me) and have a number of shows coming up in Halifax, Saint John, Ontario and Quebec to both hype up and support their new album, Sahalee, being released in mid-July. Check out that myspace link and see if they'll be in your area. It's not a show you ever ever ever want to miss. I've missed them twice. I'm kicking myself for it--so hard. So, enjoy their music, and maybe I'll even do a retro review of North of America's last album, sometime.

The Got To Get Got - Rattle Off
The Got To Get Got - No One Riots in Winter

As a side-note, many of the photographs on the band's myspace [and all of the photos used in this post] are of the band in places I love. All the more reason to call them awesome.

Also, please note that Adam Kierstead (the mustachioed man in the last photo) is not a member of the band, merely something of a god to the Saint John music scene. Thank you, and good night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sappyfest Spotlight #3: The Luyas

So, I've decided to do up a series of posts showcasing Sappyfest performers, quick little writeups of shows I'm damned excited to see. And I guess a couple of them were written by mistake a week or two ago. So, here is number three!

Jessie Stein is probably best known for her being a part of Miracle Fortress's live show, but work apart from that impresses me far more. I'm not sure if I've ever talked about SS Cardiacs on this blog, but it's effectively her solo project, and it's wonderful. Jessie's voice just has this quality to it that I can't put my finger on, but it's something I can't get out of my head for days once I've heard it. And SS Cardiacs' "Noo Noo (In A Foreign Dialect)" is almost always stuck in my head. However, this isn't about SS Cardiacs. This is about the Luyas.

For the Luyas, Jessie is accompanied by Pietro Amato (on the FRENCH HORN and other various instruments) and Stefan Schneider playing the drums. It's a beautiful sound, I wish I could do it more justice. You really just have to hear Jessie's voice, put over top of her guitars and Pietro's french horn and glockenspiel--it's one of the most beautiful combinations of sounds I've ever heard. I never like so give these things genre labels, especially with 'indie' being so broad these days. I would once have called them Montreal indie rock, but those days are done. You'll just have to hear it for yourself--so, here, give it a listen.

The Luyas - Flickering Lights (will likely fail you)
The Luyas - Quelle Horreur

I don't know much about an upcoming album, just some little references to it. Their website looks like it hasn't been updated since 2007, and their last myspace blog was from Pop Montreal in October of last year. But I did hear tell somewhere of a new album being birthed as we speak. So, keep them ears peeled.

Sappyfest happens in Sackville, NB from July 31st to August 2nd, au même temps as the OK.Quoi?! Art festival, starting on the 27th of July.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You're a wrecking ball in a summer dress.

As an addendum to my last post, and if I can figure out how to embed video, I give you the single most Maritimey music video in the history of music videos!

Joel Plaskett's Through & Through & Through

Canada Day Countdown

We have another concert on the horizon!

For the past few years, on the 30th of June, down at the boardwalk overlooking Saint John Harbour, there's been an all afternoon, evening, and night of music, and in the past we've seen some big names in East Coast music. In 2006, The Trews and the Tom Fun Orchestra did their things; 2007 saw Wintersleep, Two Hours Traffic, and Jimmy Swift; and in 2008 brought in In-Flight Safety and Hey Rosetta!

Well, it's that time of year again, and this time around we're seeing one of the biggest names in East Coast music, Mr Joel Plaskett himself, advertised as playing with the Emergency. He's just wrapped up a very different tour, which I caught back in April, where he played with his father, Ana Egge, and Rose Cousins. The Joel Plaskett Emergency, though, is a rock band in the truest sense, and though the show in April was the best Joel Plaskett show I've ever seen, I'm really looking forward to him bringing back the rock.

I'm almost more excited, though, about The Got To Get Got. They played in Sackville for Last Class Bash--a show that I missed due to being in Saint John to see Snailhouse. TGTGG are set to release next month my most anticipated album in a good long while. Their debut EP is absolute gold, and the new tracks I've heard are better still. TGTGG are ex-North of America (who I caught at the HPX in 2005, and loved every minute) Mark Mullane and a huge assortment of others, based both out of Halifax and Vancouver. I am beyond excited for their set.

The other acts, I know nothing about, but hopefully they don't disappoint. If you're over 19, and want to catch a great evening of music, head on down to the Boardwalk for an outdoor extravaganza in the heart of the city. There will be beer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Who the HELL samples Paul Anka?

I've honestly never been this let down by an album. Not once. Never have such high hopes based on someone's previous work been dashed so immediately.

Graham Van Pelt generally produces incredible music. The first Think About Life album was genius, and Miracle Fortress's Pink Roses was absolute gold. But this...

I'm talking about the new Think About Life record, Family. At first, I liked the cover art. This was my first introduction to the album. I thought it was cute in its simplicity and the lack of effort--a Wal-Mart family photo with the album title over top in cardboard paper. But I have to say--they put more effort into the artwork than the album itself, or so it feels. These songs feel cobbled together. The opening track, Johanna, it sounds like the Think About Life boys dug into their old funk collection and started spinning discs at random, not really worrying about how they mesh together. This is followed by a complete travesty of a song, Havin' My Baby which samples from--wait for it!--Paul Anka, while maintaining this horribly depressing attempt at mashing up their own music and production with what sounds like bargain bin vinyl.

A friend of mine described it as "they just decided to sing over unused Avalanches songs". It's almost all downhill from there. These tracks at best sound like some half-assed tribute to bad 1980s pop music--there's even a synthesized harpsichord in there. Normally, I'd be welcome to the melding of two of my favourite sounds, but instead I'm fairly certain Graham just pulled out the Value Village Casio keyboard. This is not nearly the same record as the self-titled debut--yet it's still in the Polaris Prize long list for this year. I sincerely hope it doesn't make the shortlist. That would be a problem.

There is one track, Sofa-Bed, which might make it on to a mix tape or a radio show of mine someday, but it's the equivalent of seeing a paper cup on top of a pile of styrofoam--it's only good by comparison. It would easily be the worst song on the debut album. It's one of these tunes that I can only describe as, musically, an ode to the 80s, and all that was campy and wrong. The lyrics are derivative and boring. Sigh. What more can I say?

If you're looking for the same Graham Van Pelt from Miracle Fortress, or even the first Think About Life record, don't look here. If you're willing to, as I have, stick it out and listen to it from start to finish, I wish you luck. I've honestly never been more disappointed by an album, and I had to deal with Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight.

Think About Life - Havin' My Baby
Think About Life - Sofa-Bed

Rating: 2/10
Released: 26 May 2009

My dog is repaired.

He's better.

That is all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My dog is damaged.

I don't know what's wrong with him or what happened to him, but this has me really worried. He barely makes a sound, he barely moves, he won't eat. He just sits there, looking hurt, looking depressed. Sort of like Rover Hendrix in that episode of the Simpsons. You know? Just deflated and sad.

I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mail call!

Today is a good day.


Blogging takes a back seat to job hunting and sleeping all day and watching Craig Ferguson.
But: here are some albums I'm listening to at the moment:

Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire - Oh, The Grandeur!
Beirut - March of the Zapotec
The Dresden Dolls - The Dresden Dolls
Ghost Bees - Tasseomancy
Islands - Return to the Sea
Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights
Tegan & Sara - If It Was You

They're all of them gold. So, look them up or something. I don't know.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

sappyfest addendum numéro deux

Let's talk about Phil Elvrum.

He's been making music that the world's heard for about a decade, now. Let's call it lo-fi magic. and The Microphones and Mount Eerie have put out some of the best of the genre in my opinion (and in the opinion of many others, really).

Most recently, along with Sackville's Julie Doiron and Fred Squire, both ex-Shotgun & Jaybird, he put out an album called Lost Wisdom under the Mount Eerie name, which even ever-more-crotchety-old-man-esque Pitchfork named among its best new music for the year, and gave an 8.3/10 rating. Me, I'd give it a 9. Maybe I'll actually review it sometime. The album is such that in December, when I hosted a Christmas concert in my basement, a song (You Swan Go On) from this few-month-old record was covered. It's a beautiful song, and was a pretty decent cover. Maybe I'll put up that Christmas do sometime, as it's been recorded.

Anyway, Phil is coming to Sappyfest. I am very much hoping he'll take to the stage with Fred and Julie, as I imagine most are. This is just another reason why we can call Sappyfest the little festival that could--with the hype over Lost Wisdom, I'd imagine about now everybody wants Phil to show up.

Oh, this is going to be too good.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

sappyfest addendum numero uno

I'd just like to make a quick little addition here.

I am stoked, and I mean absolutely steam engine ready to burst stoked, that Saint John has a representative in the Sappyfest lineup, especially in the form of Mr Adam Mowery. It's been a while since I've seen him perform but I bumped into him last week at one show or another and we discussed the joys and wonders of Sackville.

He's a brilliant musician, and his newest record, Port City Burning, is available a few places around town. I know I saw it at Backstreet Records.

You can also check out his myspace where his featured tracks from an Eric's Trip tribute album and a Superfriendz tribute album can be heard. This kid is something else.

lovers always lose. suck it up.

TODAY saw the initial announcement of the SappyFest #4 line-up, and I have to say it's made today the best day in a long time. You can find the entire lineup as it's been presented at the Sappy Records website but I'm going to go over a little bit of it here, personal favourites and the like.

As the poster says! SappyFest is happening from July 31st to August 2nd in Sackville, NB, at various venues. Last year it was George's Fabulous Roadhouse, the Vogue Theatre, the Sackville United Church, and a mainstage tent on Bridge Street, with some ancillary action going on at Struts Gallery. I can only assume we're going to see the same thing this year, which will be beyond fab. So beyond fab!

So who will you see if you spend the $50 for the early bird weekend pass, available for the next two weeks from TicketPro? Well! First of all, Julie Doiron will be kicking around as she usually is, being one of the driving forces behind the festival (along with Paul Henderson). She'll be playing solo and also with Eric's Trip, who I hope need no introduction. Me, I'm a maritimer who has never seen Eric's Trip, so I am beyond stoked for that show. For those of you who don't know them, try to hunt down their albums Love Tara or Purple Blue, two personal favourites. Sub Pop records, mid '90s; a hard-rocking flannel-wearing good time.

A second headliner of sorts (though it's all pretty communal) is the Dan Bejar vessel Destroyer. Now, I've never seen Destroyer live, but I've been listening to him for a few years now, and I'm mighty excited for that show, too. You might call what he does 'chamber pop' but I'm not really one for using genres to describe what people do. The only real way to do it is by sound. I guess I'm not really cut out to be a music blogger, I love music far too much! But, I digress. Once, I heard Bejar's voice described as sounding like that villain Professor Hinkle from the old Frosty the Snowman TV special. I'd call this description apt. Apt, and hilarious!

I'm awfully psyched about Ohbijou playing. They're an indie pop outfit with lots of strings fronted by miss Casey Mecija. They're second LP, Beacons, has just been released today. Once I get ahold of it, and if I'm feeling particularly industrious, expect a review! I'm not sure when I'll get my hands on it, though. Between the Sappyfest announcement and the new album, today is a great day for Ohbijou fans. Hopefully, though, they don't just stick to new material at the festival! One way or another, though, I'm psyched to finally see them live.

Given their newfound connection to Sackville's Shotgun Jimmie (who is also playing!) it's no surprise that Attack in Black is back for another edition of Sappyfest. It has me wondering, though, will I get to see I'm A Rock, their new duet with Julie Doiron, live on stage? I picked up a 7" at a Shotgun Jimmie show back in December with that track on it, and hell, it's more worn out than any other piece of vinyl I own. Beautiful song, absolutely beautiful.

Speaking of possible duets, $100 are back for another year at Sappy, and now their Simone Fornow has given us a duet with Shotgun Jimmie on his new record, Still Jimmie. The track is called Quicksand, and in my mind it's one of the better tracks on the record. If you look down the blog at my review of that record, I think I've got it posted. Now, I've never seen $100, but this is a regret. Their album is one of my most-played, there's something about Simone's voice that I just can't shake, can't get out of my head. She has, honestly, the perfect voice for the tearful, beerful alt-country these guys put out.

No one else I've spoken with seems as excited about Timber Timbre as I am. Mostly, they just haven't heard of this Taylor Kirk project--but trust me, they will. He's currently on tour out in the West of Canada with Ghost Bees (who I'm hoping are one of the TBA acts... fingers crossed) and I think I'd describe him as a Canadian version of M. Ward. Though his new album (his first on Arts & Crafts) is a bit less folksy and a bit more traditional lo-fi, I'd still love to see him share a bill or even share the stage with Old Man Luedecke.

Oh, did I mention? Old Man Luedecke, one of my favourite concerts from the last year, he's playing once more. The last time I saw him was at the Vogue during the CHMA Stereophonic Fundraiser, when Julie opened for him. There is something so brilliant about this man and his banjo, something about him that can get a theatre full of people clapping and stomping and singing along. An Old Man Luedecke concert is an experience you just can't miss out on, it's one of the most beautiful things you can ever experience.

There are so many more who I want to talk about, but I'm running out of time and this thing is running long. Maybe I'll write an addendum to the post tomorrow. Anyway, be prepared to see Halifax's number one dance party Windom Earle, Stereophonic headliners Wintersleep, the ethereal Laura Borealis, as well as Ladyhawk, Snailhouse, Dog Day, Shapes & Sizes, and oodles more! See, just there, that could be an entire second post. Maybe it will be.

I'll see you all in Sackville.