In Bloom

Roche Uhntraal rides shotgun in a cramped van.

Haley Thomas is no stranger to the stage or studio. A noted session violinist in the indie community, Thomas has performed alongside such notables as Windom Earle, Jon Epworth, Down with the Butterfly and hey rosetta!, and spends her days working as an engineer at SoundMarket Studios.

Thomas' main squeeze, however, is The Orchid, a project she formed in 2005 with guitarist/pianist Derrick Dixon. The band recently added three new members to the fold—bassist Jon Harvey, drummer Ryan Gray and guitarist Kevin Mombourquette—and recorded its self-titled debut album, to be unveiled at Gus' Pub on August 9.

"I can speak on behalf of the rest of the band when I say I am very excited," says Thomas. "We really want to make it a celebratory event for our friends and family."

Fans of lush pop should be excited too. Preview tracks "Ice Skate" and "Hinges" (available at are rich sonic affairs, with Thomas' soaring vocals over a richly layered instrumental backdrop. It's a departure from the band's folk roots, but Thomas is not complaining.

"I am so happy we got the band on the album. Jon was our biggest fan, and I met Guys-Ryan and Kevin in band camp when I was a kid and have been randomly involved in projects with them since," she says. "I love collaborating with other musicians, especially ones with whom I have a pre-existing relationship. It makes me more comfortable expressing myself while feeding off the emotions they create."

Canadian campus champs crash Halifax

Three weeks into a North American tour, it's nothing but good news for indie art rockers They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, set to cram into Gus' Pub on August 2. The Vancouver-based sextet currently sits atop Canadian campus charts with its latest release Pick Up Sticks (on label Kill Rock Stars).

Too busy on the road to keep up with the latest band hype, frontman Nut Brown keeps it in perspective. "It's one of those things where you release the album and you're out for a couple of months travelling," says Brown during a call from the band's van, located somewhere outside of Quebec City. "We have no idea. We know it's getting out there because people come up to us at shows and want to buy the old album because they already have the new album. It's a long process."

It's also a labour of love. A number one album looks good on paper, but there are still day jobs, cramped vans and small stages to endure. Brown doesn't mind. "It's all about the 45 minutes of stage time. Even if the audience is smaller or unresponsive there are enough of us on where we can play for the other band members. We're pretty enthusiastic performers and there is a lot of spontaneity." And crowd participation is welcomed. "We've got garbage cans, tin cans and sticks," says Brown. "If anyone wants to grab them, go ahead and beat."

Nominations and new jobs

For those about to rock (or folk) with the local music industry, Music Nova Scotia is currently accepting nominations for the 2007 Nova Scotia Music Awards. The deadline for submissions is August 17. The association is also accepting resumes for: Educations and Events Coordinator, Communications and Membership Coordinator and Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper. Check out for more details.

If you’re about to rock (or folk), email:

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