Scene and Heard is all over local music news, concert announcements, record releases and festivals like a cheap rug. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to send hot scoops and band gossip.
Fans of post-rock know that this genre of music lends itself beautifully to film. As someone who is just learning about this genre, I can still say that that scene in 28 Days Later (where Cillian Murphy wanders the empty streets of London to the hauntingly urgent strains of Godspeed! You Black Emperor's "East Hastings")makes my heart pound.
Kuato knows this too. That's why when the Halifax foursome - Devin Peck, Josh "Pinky" Pothier, Scott Mallory and Adam Toth - heard about the Total Recall remake happening in Toronto, they felt inspired to create a Facebook group to campaign for a spot on the soundtrack. And, y'know, since the band's name is derived from the petite mutant clairvoyant in the film, the opportunity would be rather fitting. Plus, all of this is well-timed to match the release of the third in a series of tiny, perfect Kuato EPs.
"I would say the movie has an artistic influence on what we do," says Pothier, who drums for the band. "I think the music would work. There's a lot of tense situations, slow movements in space, and dark thematic ideas."
In another weird moment of serendipity, Pothier was scanning the film's IMDB page and found out that one of the film's special effects technicians, Daniel Godin, is from his hometown of Eel Brook in Yarmouth County.
"His brother and my father were good friends, growing up," Pothier says. "It's a very coincidental opportunity. I feel like he'll at least hear me out."
Pothier is aware that it's a long shot. But let's not forget about the sway of Facebook campaigns. They've brought Paul F. Tompkins to Halifax, compelled a man to get a Bruce Frisko back tattoo, and gotten Betty White to host Saturday Night Life. That shit is powerful. The Kuato page is already up to 248 attendees.
"It's a gamble, but I figure, maybe these things don't happen because people don't try," Pothier says. "So why not try?"
The Facebook group for the Total Recall campaign is here.
You can hear the band's gorgeous new Summer EP here. They are playing a release show tonight at 1313 Hollis with Writer's Strike and Jonah Hache for $5, beginning at 7pm. There will also be a display of local photography at the show.
Aaaaand you can check out the video for "Pet Seminary" (from the band's Winter EP) featuring footage from the original Total Recall below.
Just in time for their appearance at M Fest this Sunday, the dark-hearted boys of Glory Glory have released a cute/weird stop-motion video for their song “Wild Swans” to coincide with the release of a new digital EP, You Need A Heart to Live. Check out the video and listen to the song "You Need a Heart to Live" from the EP below. You can order it online here.
The taste-making music website Pitchfork has highlighted a song by Halifax beat-poppers Southern Shores. The duo - comprised of Ben Dalton and Jamie Townsend - caught the attention of experimental pop label Cascine Records, who released Southern Shores' fizzy-sweet debut EP Atlantic on their website.
Writer Jordan Sargent examines the song "Tangier Wind" and notes that "the overall feeling is one of optimistic, if not therapeutic, longing." You can read the full review here.
If you were on the internets yesterday, you may have noticed a lot of people changing their Facebook profile photos to this:
As part of a smart promotional plug for their new record, Deformer, Dog Day urged the rest of us yobs to use the album cover as our new Facebook face and receive a free download link to the album. I did it and I got it (with a tiny personal email from the band) and listened to it during my usual haggard walk to work this morning. It's good - dark and light. If you're feeling a little raw, it will calm you down while rubbing your rawness so you don't forget about itl. Dog Day knows how to DIY.
The Facebook offer is done but you can grab a pay-what-you-can digital version for the album here. Order your physical copies (vinyl and CDs) here. Dog Day are currently on tour with the ridiculously rad squeak-punkers Apollo Ghosts. Their lead singer Adrian Teacher was dressed like a little sailor kid all weekend at Sappyfest; I caught his butt as he crowdsurfed during Shotgun Jimmie. It was a very bony butt. Apollo Ghosts rule. You can get their EP for a measly dollar here. Love you.
2011-08-02 » Fredericton NB @ Gallery Connexion
2011-08-03 » Charlottetown PE @ Hunter’s w/ Boxer the Horse
2011-08-04 » Sydney NS @ Governor’s w/ Ladyslippers
2011-08-05 » Halifax NS @ the Seahorse w/ Bird World
2011-08-06 » Sackville NB @ the Legion w/ Baby Eagle
I write this to you from wedding central in Toronto, wearing last night's dress and drinking a lot of water. If I was in Halifax tonight I would be cleaning myself up in preparedness for a rather ripping show tonight at Gus' featuring Scribbler and friends Mess Folk, Omma Cobba and the always-perfect Quaker Parents at Gus'. It starts at 10pm, costs five dollars and features the newly-restored Scribbler lineup, with Micro Organs' Matthieu Blanchard filling in on drums, the brothers Craig and Alex Currie, Nathan Pilon and original bass player Adrian Morrison. Craig says the band are working away at their first album in 4 years (!) and are plugging ever-forward. If you miss this evening's merriments, they have another show next Wednesday at Gus' with Cigarettes, Dance Movie and Beams.
Those delightful curmudgeons The Graboids are releasing a 5-song EP today titled Aftershocks. The band's first EP and the new one can be bought as a single CD called The First One Years a la Black Flag. If you enjoyed their first EP (and who didn't really) the second features a similar blend of hijinks, churlish behaviour and honest perspectives on life, and whatnot. Frontman Adrian Bruhm breaks down the songs thusly:
11.57 - was written by (guitarist) James O'Toole about the silly habit of smoking cigarettes.
Skate - was written by Bruhm while drunk on a skateboard and is about doing various drugs while skateboarding instead of putting effort into tricks.
He Can't Help It - is about Myles Deck and how your girlfriend is in love with him
Flip 'Em The Bird - is about passive-aggressively giving people the finger.
My Girlfriend is a Robot - is a Hanson Brothers song.
Listen to "Flip 'Em The Bird" below. You can download the whole thing at thegraboids.bandcamp.com.
The Graboids - Flip 'Em The Bird
This past weekend, my friend claimed he never gets songs stuck in his head because, in his words, "I have too many ideas running around in there." I challenged him to listen to the following song by new local punksters Outtacontroller and see if this still held true. "Sloppy Princess" is a true earworm, with a melody that writes itself and a sound that hugs the crunchy low end while still somehow maintaining a poppy shimmer. Also, the song's subject matter is distinctive, yet weirdly familiar. It could be about any number of women you know. Pretty, pugilistic, pickled princesses. Palliteration.
Click the link below for a listen.
The Polaris Prize Short List came out yesterday. Everyone on this list will receive $2,000 and the winner receives a grand prize of $30,000. Here it is.
Arcade Fire — The Suburbs
Austra — Feel It Break
Braids — Native Speaker
Destroyer — Kaputt
Galaxie — Tigre Et Diesel
Hey Rosetta — Seeds
Ron Sexsmith — Long Player Late Bloomer
Colin Steston — New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Timber Timbre — Creep On Creepin’ On
The Weeknd — House Of Balloons
I was fortunate enough to be a juror this year - my first.Here's my votes (from the Long List):
Frederick Squire - March 12
Neil Young - Le Noise
Braids - Native Speaker
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
The Weeknd - House of Balloons
A few people have been yelling at me about my choices/lack of choices. I've been yelling at a few people about their choices. It's fun arguing about music. And in a culture where bands and songs and albums slip through the public's collective fingers like water, it's been very interesting being taken (repeatedly) to task for the albums I've favored.
Like a lot of people, my views on this year's shortlist are mixed, but I will not bore you with those thoughts here. There have been a number of very good write-ups about the jury process and the albums by people who have been doing this longer than I have, so I don't think I should wax too much on that aspect of things. The Polaris Prize is a very subjective thing, for the jurists and the bands and Canadian music fans. So I will speak from my viewpoint.
When I joined the jury I had to plunge into a crash course of Notable Canadian Releases (suggested by jury members) over the past year. It was amazing (obviously) and really stressful at the same time. I started learning how to listen to entire albums again. Upon a first listen, there were a number of releases that I found really boring. Then some of them got better. I kept listening. My list changed about 40 times. I pulled out my hair, and asked my friends their opinions, In the end, my final list consists of 5 albums that I felt moved and excited by after multiple listens, from my shitty computer speakers to our shitty car speakers, in the kitchen, on vinyl.
Specifically, I was extremely wary of Braids and The Weeknd - the latter because I am a typical punk/rock listener who doesn't hear much R & B, and the former because someone told me Braids sounded like the Animal Collective, who I dislike enormously. And goddamn if both of those albums didn't start growing on me like a sexy fungus. I figured Neil Young was done writing good albums and then Le Noise blew my mind. (If "The Hitchiker" doesn't give you at least a tiny shiver, I don't know if you and I can be friends anymore.) And well, March 12 made me realize Fred Squire is a genius.
It was so amazing to be surprised. It was amazing to have these albums wriggle through the self-righteous bubble of awareness that clouded my vision. I'm such a dick sometimes, with all these pre-conceived notions of what I like and don't like, and because of that, I've missed so much.
I did my best to ignore all the little voices telling me what I should do or ought to do, telling me I shouldn't pick The Weeknd because it's on Pitchfork, and I shouldn't pick Neil Young because he's a "living legend" - all those stupid, obnoxious little suggestions that actually have nothing to do with the Polaris mandate and merely serve as distractions from the music itself. It was sometimes extremely difficult to ignore those voices. I did my best.
And of course, now that everything is said and done, I have a few doubts. I think I should have picked Eternia and Moss' At Last now that I've had more time to listen to it. Eternia is a great, great MC and the beats are ridiculous. Also, Shotgun Jimmie's Transistor Sister got edged out at zero hour. Hindsight, hindsight. My favorite songs from both those albums are below.
In the end, I hope the final jury makes a well-reasoned decision and follows their hearts. It's been a great experience for me, and I've come away from this with deepened feelings of love and understanding towards Canadian music.
Eternia and Moss - Day in the Life
Shotgun Jimmie - Swamp Magic
The folks behind the wonderful local/Canadian music website Herohill have prepared a Canada Day treat for you. On July 1st, they released a Gordon Lightfoot compilation featuring a whole whackload of bands taking on the catalogue of this Canuck elder folk statesman. The list of artists is broad and varied, and includes A.A. Wallace, Quiet Parade, Cursed Arrows, Olenka Kraus (of Olenka and the Autumn Lovers) and many many more.
Bryan Acker (who runs the site along with Shane Nadeau) says he’s a longtime Lightfoot fan, but was surprised at how many of his songs were new to the bands involved. “Some of the bands plan to release their versions as singles, which is really cool,” he says. Due to the variety of musicians, there are some surprising versions too — and Acker says it’s a testament to Lightfoot’s songwriting that they all sound great. The compilation will be online-only and is now available as a free download at herohill.com (or you can get it directly here.)
Cursed Arrows have put together a video for the bluesy rager "Death Rattle Blues." It features the duo wandering around a spooky field littered with old cars and a rotted bus. It's a creepy looking place that I would like to visit. Like the song, the video is gritty and a little mean. They host Rockin' 4 Dollars next Monday (June 20) and play the Seahorse June 22.
Before you head out to the Elephant and Castle tonight to see Three Sheet drop their second album Sheet Music, you should head over to Background Noise and listen to last night's just-uploaded interview, which features delightfully crass hosts Derreck Ord, Luke James, Devin Deuville and Jon Sangster talking trash with four of the five members and previewing the album. The album release begins at 10pm with Phaft & Monark, The Retrospect and DJ Toucan Jam. Tickets are $20 in advance and can be acquired through Ticketpro.
Tunes at Noon - the newly-revitalized summer lunchtime concert series at Grand Parade — is now accepting applications from interested musicians. The mini-concerts will take place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 1pm and run from July 13 to September 12. On the HRM website, guidelines stipulate that all genres of music are welcome, but performances must be acoustic. The city will be paying a performers a flat rate of $200. Artists can submit a short bio, artist website, availability and contact information to Colleen Connolly at email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is Friday June 17 by 5pm. For complete details, go to the original posting here.
Guitar Fest — the yearly rock n’ roll/surf/rockabilly twang party hosted by the Urban Surf Kings - features a solid lineup this year, including Brad Conrad, The Shakedown Combo, The Fabulous Venturamas and the Whiskey Kisses. We’re particularly excited to see The Green Reflectors — two severely talented young brothers from Bridgewater with a penchant for good old-fashioned surf anthems and Link Wray-styled guitar acrobatics. The show takes place Friday at the Seahorse for $8, and the Green Reflectors will be on first at 10pm. Go early.
The good folks at the Bryony House women and children’s shelter are organizing a fundraising event called In Good Company tonight. The evening will feature Ryan MacGrath, Norma MacDonald, Ria Mae, Heather Green and Lindsay Duncan singing songs, telling stories and collaborating on a song or two. Artist Sharon Hodgson will also be doing live painting and auctioning off the fruits of her labour at the end of the night. Tickets are $15 and the show begins at 8pm at the Company House.
Last week I heard that Tunes at Noon - the free lunchtime summer concert series in Grand Parade — was facing extinction due to budgetary concerns. I emailed councillor Dawn Sloane to learn more and earlier this week she happily reported that council CAO Richard Butts had put up $7,000 — the amount needed to save the program — prior to the budget vote. Says Sloane: “This not only promotes our awesome local talent, but allows the students from the Centre of Arts and Technology the ability to get hands-on experience with setup and build relationships with the artists.” A call for artists is due out soon.