Saturday, December 30, 2006

20 Albums I Enjoyed in 2006

The following list is not a best-of list, but merely albums(in no particular order) that I enjoyed in 2006. The fact is that there were a tonne of albums in 2006 that I did not have a chance to purchase nor listen to. (If per chance, I were sent promo/free copies of any new albums[nudge, nudge, wink, wink], maybe I would have given more albums a whirl.) Overall, I think I stuck mostly with albums by artists/bands I already liked, although there were several new artists who caught my attention. Most of these artists/bands have been blogged to death(including by myself) so I'll spare you the individual commentary. At the very least, enjoy the multimedia links I've provided below. And as always, any comments are appreciated(even the ones that say my list sucks).

Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time (Sub Pop)

MySpace: Band Of Horses
YouTube: Band of Horses - The Great Salt Lake (music video)

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love)

MySpace: Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
YouTube: Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - Run, Devil Run / Big Guns (live on The Late Show with David Letterman - March 21, 2006)

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)

MySpace: Neko Case
YouTube: Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On (live on Breakfast With The Arts[A&E])

Pernice Brothers - Live A Little (Ashmont)

MySpace: Pernice Brothers
Audio/Video: Pernice Brothers - Somerville

Beirut - The Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing)

MySpace: Beirut
MP3: Beirut - Postcards From Italy

Built To Spill - You In Reverse (Warner Bros)

MySpace: Built To Spill
YouTube: Built To Spill - Conventional Wisdom (music video)

Angela Desveaux - Wandering Eyes (Thrill Jockey)

MySpace: Angela Desveaux
MP3: Angela Desveaux - Heartbeat
YouTube: Angela Desveaux - Wandering Eyes (music video)

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country (Merge)

MySpace: Camera Obscura
YouTube: Camera Obscura - If Looks Could Kill (music video)

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (Matador)

YouTube: Belle and Sebastian - White Collar Boy (promo video)

Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye (Domino)

MySpace: Junior Boys
MP3: Junior Boys - In The Morning

Lily Allen - Alright, Still (EMI)

MySpace: Lily Allen
YouTube: Lily Allen - Smile (live on Jimmy Kimmel Live - December 5, 2006)

Eux Autres - Hell Is Eux Autres (Grenadine)

MySpace: Eux Autres
MP3: Eux Autres - Ecoutiez Bien

Viva Voce - Get Yr Blood Sucked Out (Barsuk)

MySpace: Viva Voce
E-card: Viva Voce - Get Yr Blood Sucked Out

Rock Plaza Central - Are We Not Horses (indie)

MySpace: Rock Plaza Central
MP3: Rock Plaza Central - My Children, Be Joyful

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife (Capitol)

MySpace: The Decemberists
YouTube: The Decemberists - Yankee Bayonets (live at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC - November 3, 2006)

The Concretes - In Colour (Astralwerks)

MySpace: The Concretes
YouTube: The Concretes - Chosen One (music video)
Live Session: The Concretes - Minnesota Public Radio - May 15, 2006 (streaming)

Mojave 3 - Puzzles Like You (4AD)

MySpace: Mojave 3
Live Session: Mojave 3 - AOL Music: The Interface

Destroyer - Rubies (Merge)

MySpace: Destroyer
Live Session: Destroyer - CBC Studio 2, Vancouver,BC - April 10, 2006 (streaming)

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls In America (Vagrant)

MySpace: The Hold Steady
YouTube: The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy! (music video)

Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That (Source / Arts & Crafts)

MySpace: Phoenix
YouTube: Phoenix - Long Distance (music video)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Place

concert review: THE JESUS & MARY CHAINMAS Not-so-Silent Tribute Night @ The Silver Dollar(Toronto, Ontario), December 29, 2006

The Disraelis @ The Silver Dollar: photo by Michael Ligon

I made it down to the Silver Dollar yesterday evening for its "THE JESUS & MARY CHAINMAS Not-so-Silent Tribute Night" featuring a variety of local acts performing their favourite Jesus and Mary Chain tunes. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, it was a fantastic evening, although there were several highlights. Below is the set times/set list that Dan Burke posted on Stille Post prior to the show:

Here are the set times I thought might be good:
10 p.m. - THE AIRFIELDS: Happy Place, Everything Is Alright When You're Down.
10:15 - ANGEL KISS
10:30 - PELHAM 1.2.3 - Birthday, Rollecoaster
10:45 - MIC HELL - Perfume, I Love Rock and Roll, I Hate Rock and Roll
11 - IN SUPPORT OF HOLLOWPHONIC - Coast to Coast and possibly April Skies and/or Sunray.
11:15 -- LIPSTICK MACHINE - Living End, Cut Dead.
11:30 - THE ASSISTANTS - Teenage Lust, Never Saw It Coming, Just Like Honey
11:45 - MILLIONS OF CATS w/LESLIE KURU - Cracking Up, Broken Lil Sister, Perfume.
12 - LUNCHMEAT - Sometimes Always, Head On, Gimme Hell
12:15 THE DISRAELIS - Darklands and _____________
12:30 OCTOBER ACTION - Living End, Something I Can't Have, Deviant Slice
12:45 DAN BURKE w/ JON S. on guitar and.... Reverence, Blues From a Gun

The only band I knew and heard their music was The Airfields, and I'd only had heard some of the other band names in passing. It turns out that The Airfields were the definite highlight of the evening as The Airfields' penchant for sweet indiepop melodies was a perfect fit for JAMC's tunes. I loved how their drummer bashed away on the drum kit with mallets a la Bobby Gillespie while Airfields/Diableros guitarist Ian Jackson lept into a fury of guitar strumming and feedback. After their set, Lead Airfields David Lush said something about the new Reid brothers project Sister Vanilla record being shit. I think I still want to hear their record before I pass judgement. It couldn't be that bad, could it?

The trio, Lipstick Machine, bashed away with garagey enthusiasm on a few Psychocandy-era tracks.

In Support of Hollowphonic, which I believe was made up of members of both Hollowphonic and In Support Of Living, were fantastic, instead using an electronic drum kit rather than the real drum kit set up behind them which most of the other bands were using for their set. They played an invigorating version of "Just Like Honey".

The Assistants reprised "Just Like Honey" but played down the shoegazer/feedback tendencies for a cleaner, Brit-pop sound. Interesting.

There were a few bands who I don't think were listed in Mr. Burke's list above. There was a band(a trio) that featured 2/3 of Lipstick Machine, but were called The Rosebuds(not the Merge Records one). There was also a duo utilizing a laptop with pre-recorded drum tracks while they played guitar. Anyone know their name? They performed "About You" off of "Darklands".

Unfortunately, I didn't stick around for the entire night - after about 2 1/2 hours of JAMC, I'd had my fill. I guess I missed October Action and whatever Dan Burke did to end the night. I'm glad I stuck around for The Disraelis' set though. Lead vocalist/bassist Cameron took the tribute to it's full effect, donning black sunglasses for the entire set, and then proclaiming the first song of their mini-set, "Darklands", the "greatest song" of all time. And for a moment, it felt like it was.

Overall, a fantastic idea and a fantastic night. It was great how they set up and tore down the equipment/instruments between sets - damn, I wish every concert could be like that. I hope the tribute night happens next year.

Some photos to follow. Yahoo! is on the fritz. Update: Here's the photos - not much though.

Update: I just realized that JAMC's Jim Reid is 45 years old today, so Happy Birthday Jim!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Basia BulatI don't think I'ver ever posted about London [ON] - via - Toronto's Basia Bulat before so I will remedy that right now. She's an artist that I'm looking forward to in 2007. She first caught my attention back in July of this year when she played the Silver Dollar in Toronto. I didn't go to the show, but I believe I read about the show on Stille Post. I think I was intrigued by her name and when I checked out her MySpace, I fell in love with her charming, low-key, recorded live-off-the-floor version of The Strokes' "Someday". Like another of my favourite new female artists, Jenn Grant, vocally Basia Bulat draws comparisons to Feist - jazzy overtones, but with an indie-rock casualness. While Basia seems to be an obscurity here she's drawn the attention of UK label Rough Trade who will be releasing her debut album "Oh, My Darling" in February of 2007. Her MySpace is streaming a couple of tracks from the album currently: "December" a lovely chamber folk-pop tune that melds acoustic guitar, piano, and violin against Basia's pretty melodic vocals, and a more recent MySpace offering "I Was A Daughter" that starts off tempo-wise where "December" left off and adds sped-up guitar, drums, violin, and handclaps to the composition. Basia's been the topic of sporadic blog postings(like from Sixeyes), but I'm sure things'll pick up when the album's released in February. For the interested, Basia will be at The Drake Hotel on January 4 to play her first ever headlining show in Toronto, with openers Barzin. Tickets are a measly $5. Basia's excited and you should be too. I know I am.

Basia will also apparently be taking part in a Raffi vs. Jonathan Richman (A Tribute Battle) show at the Silver Dollar this Saturday December 30.

For the purpose of stirring up more interest for her, I've gathered some Basia Bulat-related links below for your pleasure:

MySpace: Basia Bulat

Review/Photos: BlogTo (@ The Silver Dollar - July 20, 2006)
Review/Photos: Chromewaves (@ Pop Montreal - October 5, 2006)
Photos: Bramptonboi (@ Pop Montreal - October 5, 2006)
Photos: Edemore (via A Momentary Division)

Video[YouTube]: Basia Bulat - "Someday" (Strokes cover) @ The Silver Dollar - December 1, 2006
Video[]: Basia Bulat @ Sala Rossa (Montreal, Quebec) - July 26, 2006 (via Midnight Poutine)

Podcast: iNdie6 - episode 10.07.05 (featuring Basia's "Snakes and Ladders" around the 23:00 mark)
Podcast: PopCast - episode #23 (featuring Basia's "December" around the 26:30 mark)
Podcast: Poutine Pix - episode 6.0 (featuring Basia's cover of The Strokes' "Someday" around the 9:02 mark)

MP3/OGG: Basia Bulat and the Poche Orchestra - Live at Zeke's Gallery - August 7, 2005 (via Zekes Gallery)

ps. Anyone know where I can purchase her self-titled debut EP?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Little Donkey

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I'm off to do some last-minute shopping, but I thought I'd share the following with you, courtesy of our Scottish friends Camera Obscura(who'll be in Toronto in the new year @ Lee's Palace on January 31):

MP3: Camera Obscura - "Little Donkey" (live at Peel Acres - 2001)
MySpace: Camera Obscura

Or for an alternate take on this song check out The Boy Least Likely To's version over at their MySpace(although with a little blog searching, I'm sure you can find an mp3 floating around there somewhere):

MySpace: The Boy Least Likely To

Saturday, December 23, 2006

21st Century Christmas

Jenn Grant will be stopping by Q104 Halifax Christmas Eve to perform a few holiday numbers with Dave Christensen and Andrew Watt of The Heavy Blinkers. Check for it between 9 pm and midnight Christmas Eve, Halifax time of course. You can listen online, FYI. [via Tom's Bloggy Goodness]

In the meantime, Jenn just posted on her MySpace a track of herself performing a lovely acoustic version of "O Holy Night". She points out that she recorded a Christmas E.P. the other night; I hope that sees the light of day in the future.

Also keeping in the spirit of the season, Saint Etienne performed their own holiday show the other night, in London[UK] if i'm not mistaken. They were apparently giving away a Christmas single to attendees, and here are those songs[in Quicktime format only, unfortunately]:

Saint Etienne - "21st Century Christmas"
Saint Etienne - "Through the Winter"

Now, how about coming back to tour North America[and of course Toronto], already?

Ok, off to last minute Christmas shopping!

Friday, December 22, 2006

O Christmas Tree

I couldn't be happier that the 250 year-old tree in Oakville, Ontario for which the city was named after, has been saved from being chopped down. You may recall that Sarah Harmer and Ohbijou performed a benefit concert at the Halton Regional Centre Auditorium(the oak tree which stands righ in front of it) on November 5 and apparently they'd raised $12,000 towards the cost of building a road around the tree. Actually, to give credit where credit is due, it was fundraising efforts spearheaded by Oakville 86-year old retired teacher Joyce Burnell in June of this year which really got the ball rolling, raising about $250,0000 dollars in the process. Apparently, they came up short[like $75,000 short of the total needed], but in a surprising move, Oakville City Hall recently decided to absorb this cost. Nothing short of a Christmas miracle(as corny as that sounds, but I'm saying it anyway).

New Arts and Crafts signees Young Galaxy will be at Horseshoe Tavern on January 23.

Apostle of Hustle will begin some local/semi-local residencies in the new year as follows:

- three Wednesdays and a Thursday @ The Rivoli, Toronto: JAN 24, JAN 31, FEB 07, FEB 15
- Saturdays @ The Grad Club, Kingston: JAN 27, FEB 3, FEB 10

The new AoH album, "National Anthem of Nowhere" will be released through Arts & Crafts on February 6, 2007. Listen to a track from the album, "My Sword Hand's Anger."

Final Fantasy will be at the Brigantine Room at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto on February 1, 2007 . Tickets run a meagre $5.00.

Air have updated their website, well sort of. Their new album "Pocket Symphony" will be released March 5, 2007.

Optical Atlas posted a wonderful Elephant 6 Christmas mp3 mix, comprised mostly of songs from the Kindercore compilations, Christmas in Stereo and Christmas Two. Reminds me, I actually have the Christmas In Stereo compilation which I must really dig up and listen to.

Two more shopping days after today. Have fun.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Long Dying Days of the Holidays

Yonge Dundas Square X'mas[December 2006]: photo by Michael Ligon

Here's a little change of pace during this busy time of year - download an mp3 of Baby Eagle[Steve Lambke of The Constantines] performing "Long Dying Days of the Holidays", not your usual holiday fare. I've been enjoying the mild temperatures as of late, and I feel like I'm the only one who's hoping it won't be a 'White Christmas' but this Baby Eagle song has such a beautiful, serene, wintery feel to it that I'm almost not dreading the inevitable snowfall.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree @ Eaton Centre[December 2006]: photo by Michael Ligon

With Christmas about a week away, I think I'd better get this post up before it becomes irrelevant. I've been surfing the web for the last few weeks for Christmas-related mp3 links and thought I'd share them with you. Hope everyone goes and makes themselves a kick-ass Christmas music mix:

"A Christmas Story" is one of, if not, my favourite Christmas movie ever. Check out some sound clips from the movie here, here, and here. Be sure to watch TBS starting Christmas Eve when "A Christmas Story" will run continuously for 24 hours!

Labrador Records' Irene present us with a track for the season entitled "Christmas On A Beach". Download it here.

A super trio of Swedish Christmas indiepop tracks is available over at Indie MP3.

A variety of indie/alternative Christmas tracks is available over at The Late Greats.

Christmas A Go Go! is a totally wicked site for obscure Christmas tracks, a lot of which have been ripped from old vinyl records.

Check the cool wax has a similar vibe to Christmas A Go Go!. If you're into country n' western check out this post.

What happens when DJ's mash up Christmas music? Santastic I and Santastic II, that's what! Check out track 1 on Santastic II, a totally wicked holiday mashup by Divide & Kreate entitled 'Jingle Jane' which mixes Smokey Robinson & The Miracles with the Velvet Underground. Awesome.

Portland-based indiepop-garage rockers Eux Autres have an original Christmas composition entitled "Another Christmas At Home"[right click and save] which you can download for free. Or else purchase the two track single, the b-side which is a cover of Slade’s "Merry Xmas Everybody". [via unfinished]

All Things Go has compiled a nice, mostly indie, holiday mix for our downloading pleasure.

More holiday indie music for downloading is available over at It's hard to Find a Friend.

And more holiday indie music for downloading over at The Yellow Stereo, including Stars' take on The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York". has a holiday music mix available for free download, although you'll have to go through the free registration and shopping cart/checkout process in order to download it. I recommend listening to the preview of The Inbreds' Mike O'Neill singing "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear". [via Chromewaves]

Spark Pop has a couple of holiday tracks performed by Tori Amos.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has a slew of indie/alt Christmas tracks available for download.

Download an mp3 of Martha Wainwright singing "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" over at Shake Your Fist.

Washington, DC's Middle Distance Runner have a wonderful Christmas tune entitled "X'mas Party" available for download over at their MySpace.

Portland's Parenthetical Girls have a 5-track Christmas EP available for download here. [via Skatterbrain]

The last three links are to streaming media(so why not click on a link for a song or two and use up your employer's bandwith):

- listen to the Woxy Holiday Mixer [via subinev blog]

-Toronto's Lily Frost is streaming a soothing track entitled "I Don't Need Presents" over at her MySpace.

- UK's Izumi Records has a MySpace for it's newest release "It's Not Like Christmas" where you can check out some streaming tracks. According to Izumi Records' website, "...all the profits going to support the work of the charity Shelter, it is a stocking full of Christmas tuneage. Boasting the likes of The FutureHeads, Iain Archer and Amusement Parks on Fire as well as Swimming and the Late Greats..."

- Stars cover The Pogues "Fairytale Of New York" over at their MySpace.

So that's it for now. Enjoy. And if you come across more interesting Christmas/holiday mp3 links, drop me a line, because you know, one can never get enough Christmas music. Right?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Snoeshoe Song

concert review: Jenn Grant and The Night Painters @ The Casbah(Toronto, Ontario), December 13, 2006

Jenn Grant and The Night Painters @ The Casbah: photo by Michael Ligon

With the multiple number of shows that Jenn Grant performed in Toronto last week, with her band The Night Painters as well as a few solo shows, I was at the very least disappointed not to have caught her band performance at The Drake Hotel on December 12. Chromewaves did make it to the show though and has some fine photos of the event as usual. Unfortunately, I'd made up my mind that I needed to see The Lemonheads at Lee's Palace that night, because God knows if and when they'll be back...I'm glad I went though. Fortunately, the next evening(December 13) I did catch Jenn Grant and The Night Painters at the even-cozier-than-The-Drake The Casbah in Hamilton, ON. I'd try to time my arrival for Jenn's scheduled 10:30 pm set and had got there about a quarter after 10 pm but unfortunately it was a little off schedule. So I'd had the unfortunate experience of having to stand through The Grizzly Madams' set - although they were technically proficient, their jam-band/funk/rock/novelty-act music just wasn't my thing.

It was a real pleasure to see Jenn Grant perform. Stepping up from the trio she performed as the last time she was at The Casbah in May 2006, this time around she had a four-member band, dubbed The Night Painters, along with her. Her bassist Sean stepped up to the mic most of the night to provide nice backup vocals, most notably when the other Night Painters left the stage for one song as Jenn and Sean performed as a duo. I also really enjoyed the addition of violin to the music-fold from the only other female member of the group. With the recent release of a CDr single featuring new songs "Dreamer" and "Britt n' Kip" which will be featured on Jenn's upcoming album "Orchestra for the Moon", it was great to hear these songs live, particulary "Dreamer" as the song segues into the chorus' repetition of "Dreamer" against an infectious rhythmic backbeat and melody. Jenn also played several cuts from her first independent EP including a vibrant version of the bouncy "Don't Worry Baby". Jenn exuded a down-home charm which was really refreshing even making reference to Toronto and how she'd didn't get the streetcars and how the city was too much for her and how much more she fit in with the more modest city of Hamilton, which probably had to do at least in part with some friends/family(?) members being in the audience. It was great to see Jenn perform in such an intimate setting - the venue wasn't packed in the least - but I think this is only the start towards bigger things.

Here are some photos from the show.

MySpace: Jenn Grant
bonus media: Radio Session - Trish Turliuk - September 6, 2006 (featuring acoustic versions of new songs "Dancing In The Wind", "Rainy Day", and "In A Brown House")

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Lemonheads Are Starting To Happen

concert review: The Lemonheads, Vietnam @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), December 12, 2006

Evan Dando of The Lemonheads @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

This past Tuesday night at Lee's Palace it was like the mid-90's all over again as The Lemonheads[really just Evan Dando and the band members that he had along for the ride this time] played to a packed house, a set steeped in nostalgia. I missed first openers Hymns, but caught the second act of the night, the shaggy-haired, bearded Brooklynites Vietnam. I went into their set completely oblivious but came out a convert. With the four-piece enveloped in the dim lighting and shadow onstage, they played a musical stew of rock, country, folk and punk with an underlying sense of melody and rhythm that tied everthing altogether. Their debut album will be released January 23 through Kemado Records and I'm looking forward to it.

Evan Dando is a little older although you'd never have known it given his energy onstage and the combined illusory effect of the warm hues of the stage lights and his long locks of hair covering his face that in their absence we would have seen any wrinkles that Evan might have now. The Lemonheads' set was heavy on the songs off of "It's A Shame Aboy Ray" and "Come On Feel The Lemonheads" with at least one song['If I Could Talk,I'd Tell You'] off of "Car Button Cloth". The rest which I hadn't recognized were I assumed mostly from the new album, although possibly there were a few songs from pre-Ray days. Importantly, everything including the older material, was played with such zest and, dare I say, punkiness, which I think really justifies the reemergence of The Lemonheads this decade. If Evan's musical and songwriting chops remain up to snuff[and after listening to the newest self-titled Lemonheads album, my response is a resouding 'yes they have'] then I only hope he has the commitment and motivation to make The Lemonheads a longer-lasting affair at least until the next decade. The two band members[on drums and bass guitar] at the show were apparently not Bill Stevenson(Descendents, Black Flag) and Karl Alvarez(Descendents) who played in the studio on the new album, but otherwise the band members at the show did a capable job, especially the drummer who I think nailed all the memorable Lemonheads drum arrangements.

After The Lemonheads played their electric set, Evan came back alone for a solo acoustic set which was highlighted by a spine-tingling version of "Into Your Arms" and its chorus of 'I know a place where I can go when I'm alone, into your arms, ohhh, into your arms, I can go'. Adorning his acoustic guitar alongside some well-worn Angry Samoans band stickers were photos of a young blond-haired girl - whoever this might have been, whether it be a daughter, niece, or whomever, it showed an unselfishness and a dedication to something outside of music that'd I'd only think would keep Evan centered for his musical career.

ps. Did anyone catch the poor girl at front who experienced two unfortunate incidents trying to snatch a set list? The first time she tried she got her hands on one but then the bassist took it back because they weren't done yet. The second time she tried, another fan jumped onto the stage at the same time and snatched the set list just as she was about to grab it. She was mightily pissed off.

Here are my photos from the show.

MySpace: Vietnam
MySpace: The Lemonheads
e-card: Vietnam - debut album (out January 23, 2007)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Nathan Phillips Square Skating Rink - 12-12-2006: photo by Michael Ligon

The WinterCity 2007 festival in Toronto celebrating all things winter and Toronto, which runs from January 26 to February 8, will also feature its very own concert lineup at Nathan Phillips Square and all of which are free. The concert lineup was just posted. I'm going to be all indie-snobbish and just point out some of the hightlights:

Saturday January 27, 2007
2 - 3 pm - The Bicycles
5 - 6 pm - The Junction
8 pm - Sloan

Sunday January 28, 2007
12:30 - 1:30 pm - NQ Arbuckle
2 - 3 pm - Jill Barber
3:30 - 4:30 pm - Jon-Rae and the River
5 - 6 pm - Elliott Brood

Saturday February 3, 2007
12:30 - 1:30 pm - Spiral Beach
8 pm - The New Pornographers

Sundy February 4, 2007
2 - 3 pm - Melissa McClelland
5 - 6 pm - Oh Susanna
Junior Boys will be home[in Hamilton, ON] for the holidays and for the occasion have scheduled a one off gig on Boxing Day[December 26] at their hometown's Pepperjack Cafe.[via Stille Post and the band's MySpace]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

If I Could Talk, I'd Tell You

Evan Dando comes to Lee's Palace in Toronto tonight for a show under The Lemonheads moniker, for the first time, well in a long time. He's been through town as a solo artist at least a couple of times within the last few years from what I recall, the last time being in February of this year at the Horseshoe, but from what I've read, we didn't miss much. Given the video evidence from I Am Fuel, You Are Friends who was at The Lemonheads' recent show in Denver at The Blackbird Theatre, it seems that Evan is back in fine form. Yes, I'm going to the show tonight mostly out of nostalgia(I mostly want to hear the older material), but hopefully the show'll convince me to pick up the new self-titled album - what I've heard so far is decent.

The Village Voice dissects the new album while interviews Evan about touring and such. Local and national publications also have press on the 'revamped' Lemonheads over at Eye Weekly and chartattack.

Stay tuned for my review of tonight's show which I'm optimistic will be a blast. (I'm hoping for some pedal steel tonight - maybe "Hannah and Gabi".)

In other news, Secretly Canadian's Catfish Haven will be first band on the bill at the Horseshoe[part of the venue's annual X'mas bash] on December 16th. Tickets $10.

Brookly Vegan says that Grizzly Bear will be touring in the new year which will hit Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace in the new year on February 6.

Blacking Out The Friction points out that The Arcade Fire have booked some upcoming Montreal shows - a five-night residency at the Ukrainian Federation in Montreal from Febuary 6th to the 10th. Toronto dates can only be around the corner(I'd kill for a multi-night residency at Lee's Palace!)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Warm Winter Coats

Fox Jaws [formerly Doris Day]It's come to my attention that Barrie, Ontario's Doris Day have come up with a band name change finally. Thank God. I always thought the band name 'Doris Day' worked against them, for obvious reasons. I think the new band name will make it a lot easier to search the web for info on them. Drumroll, please...their new band name is Fox Jaws. I like it. They haven't yet revamped their official website but they do have a new MySpace which is currently streaming[as well as making mp3's available for download] a new track["Hitchcock Camera Trick"], as well as a couple of new versions of older tracks["Quarantine Girl", "Warm Winter Coats"] all of which I believe will be included on their upcoming debut full-length [photo from Sonicbids]:

MySpace: Fox Jaws

It's disappointing to find out that Vancouver's The Organ have broken up, as Pitchfork points out. Things were really picking up with the band this year and last especially with their 2004 album "Grab That Gun" being picked up for distribution by Too Pure in the UK as well as the band's frequent European touring. All I was waiting for was a new album. Pitchfork points to the CBC Radio 3 blog which expresses that geography(ie members of the band living in different parts of the country) likely contributed to the breakup. It's times likes these that I wish they had major label money behind them to make it financially possible for the band to continue even though it's members live in different parts of the country. Relive the memories(and read the good-bye comments over at their MySpace):

MySpace: The Organ

Thanks to Chromewaves for the heads up that Camera Obscura will be back in town for a show at Lee's Palace in the new year on January 31. Further thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for pointing out that Merge labelmates The Essex Green will be along for the ride.

Amy Millan was in KCRW's studio for a session on Morning Becomes Eclectic on Thursday December 7, 2006. Joining Amy in studio were band members Dan Whitely, Jenny Whitely, Darcy Yates, Doug Tielli, Sean Dignan, and Christine Bougie. Amy mentioned that Broken Social Scene will be taking a break next year[I can only imagine the gasps of all the people who said they were sick of BSS, now saying "No, we didn't mean it...come back!"]

Just a reminder that The Dears who are currently in the midst of a US tour jaunt have made time for a couple more Canadian dates this month:

- December 9, 2006 - Waterloo - Starlight
- December 14, 2006 - Montreal - Spectrum

Fellow Canadian music-blogger Mocking Music named The Dears "Gang Of Losers" one of the worst albums of 2006. So, so absurd, but Mocking Music, I won't hold it against you.

News on a Stereolab-related front - Tim Gane and Sean O'Hagan are working on a soundtrack for a French film, "La Vie D'Artiste", which should be released sometime next year.

AOL Music has a list of The 89 Most Redundant, Repetitive Cliches in Music(Because 100 Would Be Cliche). The most entertaining time-waster today that I could not recommend more.

Chartattack reports that The Arcade Fire will be performing a couple of live shows in London[UK] in January with Canadian dates to follow in the spring. I hope they play Massey Hall[please God, not The Docks or Ricoh Coliseum]. Update: The band's MySpace shows 5 dates lined up so far in London[UK] from January 29, 2007 to February 2, 2007 inclusive.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Give Me A Wall

concert review: Forward Russia, Snowden @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), December 1, 2006

Forward Russia @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

For all intense purposes, the Forward Russia/Snowden show at the Horseshoe Tavern last Friday was a bust for me. I didn't necessarily not enjoy the show, but it did fail to stir any long last emotions that would motivate me to listen to the bands with a more keen interest. Of the two bands, openers Atlanta's Snowden seemed more destined for a certain level of mainstream success. I'd seen a few promo photos of the band all decked out a la Interpol(who the band also share a somewhat similar sound at times) so I was a little surprised that the band made their Toronto debut dressed casually in t-shirts and jeans. If the audience was somewhat distant from the band initially they gradually warmed up to the band with each song, resulting in the audience coming closer and closer to the stage. A few girls danced ecstatically in front of the stage which lead vocalist Jordan Jeffares greatly appreciated. Their music reminds me of Interpol but with the vocals being a little less deadpan(although not by much). Great energy from the band, and a few instrument changeups kept things interesting. Songs were hit and miss, but with a song like "Anti-Anti", with it's infectious melody, delicious rhythms and vibrant guitars, Snowden are sometimes hard to resist.

You somtimes have to be suspicious about bands who have exclamation points as part of their band name. But then you have UK Leeds band Forward Russia who include an inverted '!' mark at the beginning of their name and a normal '!' at the end of their name. I'd initially thought it was somewhat gimmicky but then heard a few songs from their MySpace and thought they weren't bad. Wearing matching white t-shirts emblazoned with their double exclamation point symbol, the band stormed through a set of fiery punky pop tunes distinguished mostly by its wirey guitar sounds and the hyper-kinetic vocals(matched by equally hyper-kinetic body movements) of lead vocalist Tom Woodhead. Forward Russia's music most reminded me of Bloc Party and The Futureheads, but I can't say I'm ready for another one of those bands at the moment. I couldn't say the same for many of the people in the audience who were just eating it all up. I enjoyed it enough, but it's long lasting effects remain to the seen - I wasn't at all tempted to buy the CD at the merch table if that's any indication. Their was one song during which their female drummer would shout out the number '1', '2', '3', '4', '5' in succession which I enjoyed, a lot which had to do with her charmingly girl-ish British accent but also for the punky, girl-group influence which maybe(hopefully) the band can explore in the future.

BTW, what's the deal with the band naming every song on their album "Give Me A Wall" after a number?

Here are my photos from the show.
Blacking Out The Friction has more photos from the show.

Snowden @ MySpace
Forward Russia @ MySpace
According to chartattack who report on The New P0rnographers upcoming release of a limited edition live album, they also report that the band will be performing in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square on February 3, 2007 as part of WinterCity 2007 festival.

Canoe Jam! concert listings indicate that Sloan will be at Nathan Phillips Square to perform on January 27, 2007 which is also part of WinterCity 2007 festival.

And to keep things on a seasonal theme, the Zunior blog has a Christmas-themed podcast available for your download and listening pleasure.

Looking forward to checking out Austin, Texas' Explosions In The Sky at The Opera House in Toronto on March 24, 2007. Thanks to Chromewaves for the tip.

To continue the Jenn Grant love, you can purchase two of Jenn Grant's new songs("Dreamer", "Britt n' Kipp") which will be included on her upcoming debut full-length "Orchestra For The Moon". Purchase the songs as digital downloads over at Zunior and/or purchase the CDr single over at Endearing Records. And just a reminder that you can listen to these songs over at her MySpace.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Know You Too Well

Museum PiecesYay to the East Coast. Someday I'd like to visit the Maritimes(Halifax in particular) - I've heard it's beautiful. The East Coast has it's share of great artists and I'd like to start off by recommending Halifax's Museum Pieces. I saw them perform at this year's NXNE back in June on the recommedation of NOW who gave their debut CD "Philadelphia" (released through Youth Club) four stars and I will extend that recommendation to you. Their set during NXNE was great. At that point they were already performing as the guitar/drums duo that they currently exist as, a rockier contrast to the piano-based indie-folkiness of the material I'd heard off of "Philadelphia". Stay tuned because I'll probably be doing a more elaborate post on Museum Pieces in the future. For the moment, I will inform you that Museum Pieces are on the road for a cross country tour and will be in Toronto for the following show:

Jan 20 2007 @ The Mod Club(Toronto) opening for Matt Mays

Museum Pieces @ MySpace [check out new tracks "Eye Of My Mind", "If Looks Could Kill"]
Museum Pieces @ New Music Canada
Museum Pieces - Supersonic EPK
I've recently mentioned my love for Prince Edward Islander Jenn Grant's music who I'd previously mentioned will be coming to Ontario(including Toronto) for several shows in December. Her MySpace site shows her revised Ontario tour date schedule as follows:

Dec 10 2006 8:30A @ Holy Joe's(Toronto) w/ Reily + TBA
Dec 12 2006 9:00A (with The Night Painters) @ The Drake(Toronto) w/DTWB + TBA
Dec 13 2006 10:00A (with The Night Painters) @ The Casbah(Hamilton) w/DTWB + TBA
Dec 14 2006 9:00P @ The Supermarket(Toronto)
Dec 15 2006 8:00P @ Alex P. Keaton(London) w/Hey Rosetta! DWTB
Dec 16 2006 10:00P @ Jimmy Jazz(Guelph) w/DWTB, Hey Rosetta!

The schedule is leaving me in a dilemma. I was originally going to go see The Lemonheads at Lee's Palace on December 12 but according to Chromewaves' sidebar concert list, Jenn's show at The Drake on December 12 will also feature Toronto's Barzin who I'd really like to see live again - I saw Barzin at Holy Joe's during Canadian Music Week and it was a lovely hushed performance akin to Red House Painters. I'll likely try to make Jenn's show at The Supermarket on December 14th but I have a feeling she might only be performing solo that night - I'd really like to catch her performing with a band. I'll either skip The Lemonheads show on the 12th or drive down Hamilton on the 13th to see Jenn. You probably didn't need to know all that.

Jenn Grant @ MySpace
Jenn Grant @ New Music Canada
Finally Joel Plaskett Emergency just completed playing a few Ontario dates although the only recent Toronto appearance was a solo set from Joel at Nathan Phillips Square on November 25th as part of the Calvacade of Lights celebrations when he performed a brief 3-song set. I wasn't there but Rock // Paper // Pixels was and has a lovely photoset. Check it out.

Joel Plaskett Emergency @ MySpace
Joel Plaskett Emergency @ New Music Canada

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Children Be Joyful

concert review: As The Poets Affirm, Rock Plaza Central, Timber Timbre @ The Boat(Toronto, Ontario), November 24, 2006

Rock Plaza Central @ The Boat: photo by Michael Ligon

It was close to a year ago since I'd first downloaded a few mp3's from Toronto band Rock Plaza Central[it was December 10, 2005 to be exact according to the time signatures of the mp3's on my hard drive]. I think I was motivated to check 'em out, probably having seen a post or two about them on Stille Post(likely the band themselves posting their own show dates). I don't even remember listening to the mp3's although I'm sure I had but soon moved on to other music. So if it took Pitchfork-approved track and album reviews to get me to really take notice, well then so be it. I took the opportunity to finally see Rock Plaza Central live this past Friday night at The Boat in Toronto and it was a relevatory experience.

Rock Plaza Central were sandwiched between opener Timber Timbre from Toronto and headliner, Ottawa's As The Poets Affirm whose CD Release show it was. Timber Timbre's set of rustic, acoustic, dark country blues started off the night on a mellow tone, and aesthetically set the stage for Rock Plaza Central's vibrant, artier, country-ishness. Timber Timbre used some sort of looper to loop guitar arrangements within songs but more impressively on one song he looped a variety of percussive instruments, shakers and other sounds into an unbelievable collage of natural sounds. Finishing off the evening were As The Poets Affirm, who were the odd men out of the night given the two previous artists country leanings. I will get to Rock Plaza Central's set soon enough, but I must mention it was a shame that the crowd thinned out a bit for As The Poets Affirm's set. They displayed an admirable set of influences ranging from its scratchy post-punk guitar sound, to some avant-garde horn instrumentation, to more conventional indie-rock melodicism, with a touch of dance-punk groovability. It was a shame I didn't have more energy[was it just me, or are the floors at The Boat hard on your feet?] but I ended up having to sit on the floor like a few other people. If more people had stuck around, I think there would have been a more energetic vibe in the audience than what had actually surpassed. But As The Poets Affirm did their darndest to keep up the energy level by prompting a little handclapping. Also, their lanky, bespectacled drummer has an awesome fluid drumming style which was so fun to watch.

So if Timber Timbre and As The Poets Affirm were the slices of bread, well then Rock Plaza Central were the filling. It was quite obvious that most people were there to see their set. Performing songs mostly off their last two releases, this year's "Are We Not Horses?", and 2003's "The World Was Hell To Us", it was a set which possessed a dynamic quality, from hushed country-folkiness, to artier, noisier dissonance, to klezmer-like frenziedness, and one song(possibly "Gutterdance") that reminded me of an Arcade Fire-like pop epicness. The six member group which included members on violin, horns, guitar, banjo, accordion, and drums was rounded out with a friend on standup bass guitar. With lead vocalist Chris Eaton's distinctive vocals which sounded to me like it was always bordering on a warble, I thought his vocals fit nicely with the rustic quality of the music. At various points in the set, I think almost every band member had their musical moment in the spotlight, but I was particularly fond of the two-person(sometimes three-person) horn section, their female violinist's violin arrangements, and their guitarist's creative guitar work. I've been listening to "Are We Not Horses?" a lot lately, and while I think it isn't a perfect album it has it's share of great songs, probably not more better exemplified than the exhilirating "My Children Be Joyful", which was also one of my favourite songs of their set at The Boat. So yes, I wholeheartedly recommend you go see them.

Here are my photos.

Here's a copy of an e-mail the band received from a person whose four-year old daughter and nine-year old son are fans of their latest CD "Are We Not Horses"? This is one of the most precious things I've read in a long time.

According to their MySpace, Rock Plaza Central have the following upcoming show dates:

Dec 19 2006 8:00P @ Tranzac(Toronto,ON) w/ The Carps, Cities in Dust and Shit la Merde
Jan 6 2007 8:00P @ Tranzac(Toronto, ON) RocknRoll Wedding 4 with Lullabye Arkestra, Mantler
Jan 13 2007 10:00P @ Zaphod's(Ottawa, ON) with As the Poets Affirm and My Dad vs Yours

Rock Plaza Central @ MySpace
As The Poets Affirm @ MySpace
Timber Timbre @ MySpace

Saturday, November 25, 2006

By Your Wandering Eyes

Angela Desveaux - 'Wandering Eyes'

I've mentioned several times this year that Montreal-by-way-of-Cape-Breton, Thrill Jockey artist Angela Desveaux is one of my favourite new musical artists of the year. If you're a fan of Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Sarah Harmer, and Kathleen Edwards, you need to check out Angela's songs. I think her debut album "Wandering Eyes" is excellent. If I could choose any of it's songs to be a single, it definitely would be "Bury Me Deeper". For the moment you can watch the music video for the title track of her debut album(or download it over at Thrill Jockey):

Video: Angela Desveaux - "Wandering Eyes" (YouTube)

via Teenage Dogs In Trouble

Or listen to a brief podcast of PRI's The World interviewing Angela about her Cape Breton roots, and the electrified sound that Angela brought to her debut album "Wandering Eyes".

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Piece Of Sunshine

concert review: Tahiti 80, Brookville @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), November 18, 2006

Tahiti 80 @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

I've been looking forward to seeing France's Tahiti 80. Tahiti 80's lead vocalist mentioned during the show that it had been four years since their last visit to Toronto. They forgot to mention that they were suppose to have come over to Toronto for last year's Canadian Music Week as part of some sort of French Band showcase, but I never did find out why they didn't end up coming over. So finally I got to see them this past Saturday. I was slightly disappointed if only because they devoted almost half their set on tracks from the most recent, dance-pop oriented album "Fosbury" which I hadn't heard until the show. Maybe I have to hear the album but I wasn't feeling the new tracks as much as their older material. The rest of the set was filled out by tracks from "Puzzle", "A Piece of Sunshine" and "Wallpaper For The Soul". There was good energy from the band, in particular their vocalist Xavier Boyer and their bassist Pedro Resende[who at point donned a giant panda bear head garb and started to bash away at the cymbals along with the drummer]. The set and encore felt far too short in total[which I estimate was not more than an hour and fifteen minutes] and I could have thought of several songs they could have performed like "Don't Misunderstand" or "Easy Way Out" but otherwise it was a breezy set of hook-laden, pop music.

I don't much to say about openers Brookville. I got to the Horseshoe during the start of their set and initially thought it was only music being played over the PA. It turned out it was actually the band playing. I wasn't that impressed with them initially[I mean, they had the audacity to have sampled guitar sounds, even though there were at least two guitarists on stage - although the vocalist did mention that he wasn't that good of a guitar player anyway]. However, there were at least a few songs that had a breezy Cardigans/Ivy-esque pop feel to it which didn't make the set a total loss.

Here are my photos, including the setlist.

Tahiti 80 @ MySpace

The Montreal Mirror spoke to Tahiti 80's vocalist Xavier Boyer.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hooray X3

Toronto's Do Make Say Think were recently added to the lineup of All Tomorrow's Parties Vs The Fans 2007 event happening in the UK between May 18-20, 2007. The Runout Groove has a Do Make Say Think Peel Session from 2000 available for download.

Thanks to The Rock Snob for pointing me towards the news about Air's upcoming new album. According to NME the new album is entitled "Pocket Symphony" and is set for release March 5, 2007 - NME has a tracklisting. Now if only Air would update their website.

Gawker profiles the seven distinct categories of persons that can be found at your typical New York City indie rock show. [via CBC Radio 3 Blog]

Clinic will be at Lee's Palace on March 12, 2007 according to their booking agent, The Windish Agency.

Ring in the new year with Jon Rae and The River who'll be at Lee's Palace on December 31. The Lee's Palace website indicates that they'll be playing 2 sets, one at 11:30 pm and the second at 1:15 am. Tickets $20.00 - clarification: tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

You Ain't No Picasso has an mp3 of Ted Leo covering Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross", plus as an added bonus a live version of Ted covering Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device".

Friday, November 17, 2006


Jenn GrantEver since I saw Prince Edward Island native Jenn Grant perform last year in Hamilton, Ontario at The Casbah as vocalist of a trio configuration of The Heavy Blinkers, I've been smitten. She'd proved herself capable in the role of chanteuse against the backdrop of The 'Blinkers' pop sophistication. She came back to perform at the same venue this past summer to perform her own songs with a band and she showed a more casual, rootsier side of herself. Her debut independent EP billed as Jenn Grant and Goodbye Twentieth Century, released last year, is 6 songs of good honest songwriting, my favourites being the bouncy pop of "Don't Worry Baby", the rootsy pop of "The Last Waltz" and the languid Cowboy Junkies-sounding "Hawaii Song". Her first full length album, entitled "Orchestra For The Moon", is set for release in 2007, was produced by Jason MacIsaac and David Christensen of The Heavy Blinkers and features such guests as Ron Sexsmith, Jill Barber, Matt Mays, Tyler Messick, Dale Murray, and Rose Cousins. The two new tracks currently streaming at her MySpace are fantastic. With two recent Nova Scotia Music Awards - for New Artist as well as Female Artist of the Year - now under her belt, I'm hoping 2007 will be her breakout year. As much as I love Ruth Minnikin's vocals as part of the concoction that makes The Heavy Blinkers great, I hope that Jenn continues to sing with them also. Jenn was in Toronto back in May for Canadian Music Week performing at The Boat but unfortunately I missed that show because of a prior commitment. It's with great pleasure to read on her MySpace that she's coming back to Toronto in December for several shows[she'll also be in Guelph]. I've cut and paste below her upcoming Ontario dates:

Dec 10 2006 10:00P Holy Joe's w/ Reily Toronto
Dec 14 2006 9:00P The Supermarket Toronto
Dec 15 2006 10:00P Rancho Relaxo w/Down with the Butterfly, Hey Rosetta! Toronto
Dec 16 2006 10:00P Jimmy Jazz w/DWTB, Hey Rosetta! Guelph

Update: Jenn is also apparently performing in Hamilton, Ontario[info via Stille Post]:

Dec 06 2006 The Casbah(Lounge) w/ The Riptorns, guests
Dec 13 2006 The Casbah w/ Down With Butterfly, guests

Update: Check her MySpace for revised tour dates.

Jenn's New Music Canada is streaming several songs from her debut independent EP, "Jenn Grant and Goodbye Twentieth Century".

You can listen to a few new tracks from her upcoming debut full length "Orchestra For The Moon" over at her MySpace.

Amy McKie has a podcast of her interviewing Jenn earlier this year in March in Halifax during JUNOfest.

It's still online so why not check out Jenn's old official website.

Shop for Jenn Grant's music over at Maple Music.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sally Was A Legend

concert review: Robyn Hitchcock and The Venus 3, Mark Pickerel @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), November 10, 2006

Robyn Hitchcock @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Robyn Hitchcock's name has always loomed as one of pop music's eccentric fellows. He's been more of a figurehead to me, much like say Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart, artists who I haven't really listened to much of, if at all, but have more often read their names in print. Robyn's is a notch up on the listening scale since I've actually heard his music although I haven't listened to it often. If I made an effort, I'd probably be able to dig up at least five or more of his albums in some format(cassette, vinyl, CD) from my music collection. Of what I heard/recalled I was fond of Robyn's jangly pop melodies and enigmatic vocals. So in the interest of pop music academia, I decided I need to see Robyn live for myself.

Opening the show was Bloodshot Records, Seattle music veteran Mark Pickerel. He performed a cover of Lee Hazelwood's "Some Velvet Morning", a song that he said he'd hope that Toronto's hometown boy Dallas Good would be in town to perform with him[he mentioned that The Sadies were off on tour in Europe]. Mark performed an admirable brand of acoustic country-tinged tunes, accompanying himself on percussion with one foot on a tambourine and the other on a bass drum kick pedal. With varying degrees of melodic quality, there were a few songs that I thought were pretty good although without the benefit of a band, some of the songs just did not hold up. A good effort, but if the chatter was any indication, most of the audience(at least those towards the back) didn't seem interested.

A few years back I watched Robyn's live performance DVD "Storefront Hitchcock" which gave a glimpse into what I could expect from Robyn in a live setting. An archetypal troubadour he illustrates an almost congruent balance between banter and musical performance much like Billy Bragg, but where Billy is coherent and political, Robyn seemed much more obtuse. Even if Robyn's banter seemed like the ramblings of a mad man, it was entertaining in and of itself and it built up anticipation for the pop songs that followed. I could only actually recognize two songs of the entire set list, the jangly "Madonna Of The Wasps" of his 1990 album "Queen Elvis" and the beat-pop-esque "Sally Was A Legend" off his 1999 album "Jewels For Sophia", but it was of no matter since much of the set was entirely infectious. Chromewaves witnessed the show as well(and even has a photo of the setlist) and mentions that much of the set drew from the new album "Ole Tarantula" plus some classic Soft Boys material from "Underwater Moonlight"[which reminds me that several years back, I actually picked this up on vinyl for $3 and never listened to it!].

Robyn's backup band, The Venus 3 as they were referred to, were actually Peter Buck of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows and more recently The Minus 5 and Bill Rieflin who's apparently drummed for Ministry(!) but most recently as part of R.E.M.'s touring band. Much of Peter Buck's jangly guitar pop goodness shone through during the set and his oh-so-unique body movements and posturing were so identifiable. I mean, if I never get around to see R.E.M. live, this was the next best thing. Scott had his turn in the spotlight when Robyn and the band returned for the first of their two encores, because as Scott expressed they'd usually perform a Minus 5 song but instead reached back to perform a Young Fresh Fellows song instead, to the delight of some old-school YFF fans as it was audible. I had the unfortunate experience of almost blacking out(I think due to a bad reaction of the beer I had to some cough medicince I took earlier in the evening) during the show which put a damper on my overall enjoyment of the show, but after I recovered I think I was even more exhilirated as Robyn and band finished the show in fine fashion, through two encores.

Update: Here are my photos.

We Saw A Chicken uploaded audio[lossless format] of the show to Dimeadozen[registration required] and also has a link to the show in mp3 format!

Bury Me Not brings us this quote from Robyn from the show at The Mod Club. Word, indeed.
In other news, Pollstar indicates Snow Patrol, Silversun Pickups and Ok Go have a show at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday March 31, 2007.

Ottawa music blog faves, The Acorn, will be at Lee's Palace on December 15 for their CD release(for their album "Tinfist") opening for Toronto's Elliott Brood.

I'm looking forward to the confirmed lineup for next February's Brampton Indie Arts Festival(to take place at Brampton, Ontario's new Rose Theatre), but it's exciting to see(according to their MySpace) that The Diableros will be playing the festival on February 14, 2007. A list of other bands apparently confirmed for the festival were recently posted on Stille Post.

Billboard reports on the the alt-country guests lineup to be featured on country legend Charlie Louvin's new album in more than a decade, a self-titled effort to be released February 20 next year. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Mr. Louvin but the alt-country guests lineup alone has me looking forward to this.

Sunday, November 12, 2006



How excited was I today to come across the music video for "Not Happy" by 90's Halifax alt-pop band Jale, a band who'll always have a soft spot in my heart. I miss them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Having Fun Again

concert review: Oakley Hall, Micah P. Hinson, Bry Webb @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), November 7, 2006

Oakley Hall @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

For a what was a disappointing turnout this past Tuesday at Lee's Palace, it didn't seem to phase the artists one bit. It was a nicely matched bill from the acoustic Bob Dylan-esque troudbadorian stylings of Bry Webb(of The Constantines), the brashy country-folk of Texan, Micah P. Hinson, and the piece de resistance, the psychedelic, folk-rock[ok, I stole that description from their MySpace page] of Brooklyn's Oakley Hall. It's a shame there were barely thirty people in the audience and that's including the artists themselves who I saw at various times floating around. Regardless of the turnout, the artists performed as if they were oblivious to this fact.

I'd first seen Bry Webb perform solo last year at the Tranzac club in Toronto[for whatever reason, I forgot to write up Bry's set for that post] during the 5th anniversary/farewell show celebrations of indie label Three Gut Records. Comparing that show to this most recent one, it seems that there's more nuance in the rumble of Bry's vocals. I remember his Tranzac performance being vocally subtle as if he was trying to distinguish his solo effort from his more sweat-inducing role as The Constantines frontman. At the show, this past Tuesday he seemed more vocally confident and showed a little more dynamic range which balanced nicely with his meaty, mostly finger-picked guitar arrangements. A few of his Constantines pals and their friends were in the audience to lend their support. Bry performed a great solo rendition of The Constantines song "Young Lions" but what I wouldn't have given for the band to have jumped in on this.

Next up was young Texan Micah P. Hinson. Along with him was another young gentleman who provided additional instrumentation such as drums and additional guitar, although at the music's core was Micah's troubadour with a guitar setup. I had a chance to listen to Micah's album "The Baby and The Satellite" recently and I was struck by the simplicity of it's dark country melodies and stark barebones instrumentation combined with Micah's world-weary vocals. To see his youthfulness in person, dressed in a baseball cap, wearing eyeglasses, an argyle sweater, jeans, with a set of keys hanging from a belt loophole, it's almost hard to picture this music coming from him. During his set, there was much more of a dynamic range in Micah's vocals, and well as the music in general compared to the hushed atmosphere of his album "The Baby and The Satellite". It seemed that during his set there was more of an affectation in Micah's vocals like he was conjuring up the ghost of some long-gone Texan troubadour. Things got noisier as Micah's companion joined on drums and Micah's vocals on one song reached a blood-curdling screech. It was a little out of left field considering that there was barely twenty of us in the audience to get excited about it. As a point of reference for Torontonians/Canadians, his music reminded a little of Jon Rae Fletcher so if that's a selling point, I suggest you check Micah out. Being There has an interview with Micah.

Six-piece Brooklyn outfit Oakley Hall finally took the stage. There were a little more signs of life from the audience thankfully, to the point that people came on to the lower floor of Lee's Palace to watch Oakley Hall. Coincidentally, I'd seen a couple of Oakley Hall members performing as a duo live at the Three Gut Records celebrations at the Tranzac last year, the same one I'd seen Bry Webb live for the first time. However, rounded out as a six-piece, they're spectacular. The music was full of meaty guitar, bass guitar and drumming, with added shots of violin, keyboards and lap steel, combined with the two-pronged male/female vocals. The music is a mixture of all things rock n' roll in it's academic sense, with hints of psychedelia, folk rock, country and just maybe a little soul. Blonde female vocalist Rachel Cox was a joy to watch as she was in constant motion throughout the set dancing to the groove of the music but I also fell in love with her passionate vocals. It was exhilirating to hear all the members join in at times in a chorus of vocals. Really, I must give the band props for performing as enthusiastically as if the place were packed. The band were even encouraged back for an encore by the enthusiastic response we gave them. I encourage you to check them out when they come back to town - I have no doubt they'll come back since they've performed in Toronto this year no less than three times. And thanks to Chromewaves for pointing out that they've just signed to Merge Records - bigger and brighter things to come for them for sure.

MySpace: Oakley Hall
MySpace: Micah P. Hinson
MySpace: The Constantines