Friday, December 19, 2014

Recording: Jooj

Artist: Jooj

Song: Crushed*

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Wavelength 627"), November 8, 2014.

Jooj - Crushed

This new-ish project sees Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz working together to explore the liminal space between intimacy and theatricality, a realm for experimental torch songs that exist somewhere between a Suicide gig and a Weimar cabaret. Expect more shows (and an album!) in the new year.

* Thanks to Sook-Yin for passing the title to this one along.

Recording: Maica Mia

Artist: Maica Mia

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Wavelength 627"), November 8, 2014.

Maica Mia - unknown

Montréal duo Maica Mia continue to explore within their chosen field of minimal, melancholy guitar rock — conjuring feelings akin to the projected images of a lonely city on a rainy night that accompanied them. Those visuals were a fitting counterpart, but they've also released a fine album back at the start of the year, suitable for any time you want to conjure a lonely, rainy night in your heart.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Anamalia

Artist: Anamalia

Song: Little Earth*

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Wavelength 627"), November 8, 2014.

Anamalia - Little Earth

Australian expat Jill Krasnicki brings a Big Voice to her solo project, and as she got this Wavelength night at Geary Lane started, Krasnicki was brave enough to step beyond the loosely-delineated stage to dance a bit, even if no one else felt up to it.

* Thanks to Jill for passing the title to this one along!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recording: Rub Out The Word Ensemble

Artist: Rub Out The Word Ensemble

Song: Nova Express* [words: William S. Burroughs / composition/conceptualization: Glen Hall]

Recorded at The Music Gallery, November 7, 2014.

Rub Out The Word Ensemble - Nova Express

Opening the 416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (the other events would take place at The Tranzac) was this ambitious music suite celebrating William Burroughs' centenary. The event was conceived by Burroughs scholar Glen Hall, who played and conducted as the piece's several parts worked off each other. Not only was there an eight-piece band (Bruce Cassidy, Jim Sexton, Chris Cawthray, Rakesh Tewari, Tom Richards, Heather Segger, John Gzowski, David Story), a pair of laptop soundscapists (Ted Phillips, Matt Miller) and live-processed visuals (John Creson, Adam Rosen) at the edge of things (behind a typewriter) sat Ron Gaskin in a rumpled fedora, reading/narrating parts of the proceedings with Burroughs' own words. There was a nice ebb and flow to it such that there was never too much going on at once, even as it built to a fever dream of warped reality.

* I'm not sure of the formal structure of this piece, so I have named this extract after the Burroughs text that is read/invoked during it.

Recording: CCMC Trio

Artist: CCMC Trio

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at The Music Gallery, November 7, 2014.

CCMC Trio - [excerpt]

With Michael Snow out of the country, John Oswald (sax), Paul Dutton (human voice) and John Kamevaar (electro-acoustic noise/percussion) returned to the Music Gallery in a trio format to lead off the night devoted to Glen Hall's William Burroughs-celebrating "Rub Out The Word" project (and the launch of the 416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival). With just the three on stage, there was a little more room for each to explore and stretch out into their untethered soundworld.

Recording: Doomsquad

Artist: Doomsquad

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Great Hall, November 6, 2014.

Doomsquad - unknown

Although the groove remains the central element, Doomsquad's sonic sensibility continues to grow and shift. Opening a string of dates for Tanya Tagaq, the trio was augmented by Brandon Valdivia (of Not The Wind, Not The Flag and Mas Aya) on percussion which enriched the sound. Trevor Blumas is taking the mic a bit more than he used to, but like his sisters Allie and Jaclyn, the vox are often as much for texture — though in this one his vocal line and the rhythmic bounce all add to to a Remain in Light sort of feeling.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Recording: Beard Closet

Artist: Beard Closet

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Smiling Buddha ("Blü Print: An Arachnidiscs Showcase"), November 4, 2014.

Beard Closet - [excerpt]

Declaring that this set was less prepared/more improvised than the constructions he normally brings to the stage, Phil Hamilton still brought a wall of drone/noise to back his guitar assault. This soundblast filled the Buddha nicely, driving some of the crowd further back towards the front of the room and was done a bit too soon. There was a poster on the yoga studio next door for a workshop entitled "THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH", but I'd like to believe this set told me all I needed to know on that subject.

Recording: Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro

Artist: Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro

Song: [second piece]

Recorded at Smiling Buddha ("Blü Print: An Arachnidiscs Showcase"), November 4, 2014.

Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro - [second piece]

Drummer Mike Gennaro can bring a light touch when required, but he's known as a guy that can drive a combo with his propulsive style. When he first started playing sets with saxophonist Colin Fisher, that led to some face-melting shred-offs. That was still hinted at in this set, but what's been far more surprising as this duo has gelled is how Fisher has used Gennaro's rhythmic sensibility to push him into deeper melodic territory, crafting a new and more interestingly subtle chemistry. The development of this sound can be tracked on the new Arachnidiscs tape the pair were releasing at this gig.

Recording: TRANZMIT

Artist: TRANZMIT

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Smiling Buddha ("Blü Print: An Arachnidiscs Showcase"), November 4, 2014.

TRANZMIT - [excerpt]

Besides providing a steady stream of releases "by and for weirdos," Arachnidiscs majordomo Jakob Rehlinger wears several artistic hats. He's most often seen on stages with his Moonwood or BABEL projects, but an open slot at this label showcase gave him cause to make a rare live performance in his TRANZMIT guise. Billed as "EBM sound collage audioscapes meet darkly psychedelic hip-hop constructions", he created a sort of harsh ambient vibe more akin to a radio stuck between stations than anything easily musical. Billed as a one-off appearance at this show, rumours are circulating that Rehlinger might be bringing this back to a stage near you again in the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Recording: No Angels Dancing

Artist: No Angels Dancing

Songs: [set 1 excerpt] + [set 2 excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), November 2, 2014.

No Angels Dancing - [set 1 excerpt]

No Angels Dancing - [set 2 excerpt]

With drummer D. Alex Meeks taking the month off, No Angels Dancing had a slightly different sonic hue this time around. Ringleader Allison Cameron spent some time behind the kit ("I only know how to play rock'n'roll drums," she commented) while also turning to the piano and her mini-keyboard. Stephen Parkinson, meanwhile, added his usual crafty guitar scritch-scratches. That hashed out to, at least in the early going, a refusal to fall into familiar groove patterns, and the excerpt from the first set here has a bit of an uneasy tension that refuses to unknot itself. The second selection (complete with snatches of an overheard phone conversation from the back of the room) still wouldn't encourage any angels to dance but has a more welcoming sense of momentum to it. This remains an excellent way to spend the early part of a Sunday afternoon — your next chance will be on January 4th of the new year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recording: Cellphone

Artist: Cellphone

Song: Whiplash [second version] [Metallica cover]

Recorded at Comfort Zone ("DEATH TO T.O. IV: A Halloween Covers Show"), October 30, 2014.

Cellphone - Whiplash

Once again Dan Burke and Elliott Jones celebrated Hallowe'en by turning the Silver Dollar and Comfort Zone into a giant, non-stop musical frenzy, with nearly twenty bands doing mini cover sets. The bands — several of which were constructed just for the occasion — all took the task seriously, putting a lot of work not only into the music but also costumes and all the little things to enhance their tributes. The only downside of the night was that with so many bands on the bill, it was impossible to stage-manage a consistently efficient staggering between the stages, so that it didn't take long for bands upstairs and downstairs to be playing simultaneously, forcing the crowd to make hard decisions on who to see and who to miss. Otherwise, it was a fabulously fun rock'n'roll marathon of a night.

Closing things out downstairs, Cellphone attempted to ride the lightning with some frenzy-fast thrashbursts — getting through their setlist quickly enough that they had time to close out their set by replaying the first one they'd played.

[photo by Vince]

Recording: The Siilk Group

Artist: The Siilk Group

Song: Break On Through (To the Other Side) [The Doors cover]

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room ("DEATH TO T.O. IV: A Halloween Covers Show"), October 30, 2014.

The Siilk Group - Break On Through (To the Other Side)

Once again Dan Burke and Elliott Jones celebrated Hallowe'en by turning the Silver Dollar and Comfort Zone into a giant, non-stop musical frenzy, with nearly twenty bands doing mini cover sets. The bands — several of which were constructed just for the occasion — all took the task seriously, putting a lot of work not only into the music but also costumes and all the little things to enhance their tributes. The only downside of the night was that with so many bands on the bill, it was impossible to stage-manage a consistently efficient staggering between the stages, so that it didn't take long for bands upstairs and downstairs to be playing simultaneously, forcing the crowd to make hard decisions on who to see and who to miss. Otherwise, it was a fabulously fun rock'n'roll marathon of a night.

Elliott Jones (of the now-defunct Ell V Gore) has an ominous croon that makes him a natural to tackle Jim Morrison, but the real secret weapon here is Robin Hatch as the critical Ray Manzarek foil. The set could have ended in disaster when the PA and stage lights blew out, but instead Jones seized the moment to start puling members of the crowd up on stage to dance as the band grooved behind him.

Recording: Biblical

Artist: Biblical

Song: War Pigs [Black Sabbath cover]

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room ("DEATH TO T.O. IV: A Halloween Covers Show"), October 30, 2014.

Biblical - War Pigs

Once again Dan Burke and Elliott Jones celebrated Hallowe'en by turning the Silver Dollar and Comfort Zone into a giant, non-stop musical frenzy, with nearly twenty bands doing mini cover sets. The bands — several of which were constructed just for the occasion — all took the task seriously, putting a lot of work not only into the music but also costumes and all the little things to enhance their tributes. The only downside of the night was that with so many bands on the bill, it was impossible to stage-manage a consistently efficient staggering between the stages, so that it didn't take long for bands upstairs and downstairs to be playing simultaneously, forcing the crowd to make hard decisions on who to see and who to miss. Otherwise, it was a fabulously fun rock'n'roll marathon of a night.

Biblical were also fully-committed to inhabiting the spirit of the band they were honouring on this night, and easily tackled the requisite sonic wallop to flatten the packed house. Jordan Howard (who would also be playing with the band on their subsequent U.S. tour) was in fine form on guitar here while Nick Sewell prowled the stage in Ozzy mode.

[photo by Vince]

Recording: Alex Low/Daniel Moon King/Dan Lee

Artist: Alex Low/Daniel Moon King/Dan Lee

Song: Sabotage [Beastie Boys cover]

Recorded at Comfort Zone ("DEATH TO T.O. IV: A Halloween Covers Show"), October 30, 2014.

Alex Low/Daniel Moon King/Dan Lee - Sabotage

Once again Dan Burke and Elliott Jones celebrated Hallowe'en by turning the Silver Dollar and Comfort Zone into a giant, non-stop musical frenzy, with nearly twenty bands doing mini cover sets. The bands — several of which were constructed just for the occasion — all took the task seriously, putting a lot of work not only into the music but also costumes and all the little things to enhance their tributes. The only downside of the night was that with so many bands on the bill, it was impossible to stage-manage a consistently efficient staggering between the stages, so that it didn't take long for bands upstairs and downstairs to be playing simultaneously, forcing the crowd to make hard decisions on who to see and who to miss. Otherwise, it was a fabulously fun rock'n'roll marathon of a night.

In a night filled with intense crowd reactions, this might have had the most joyful thrum to erupt in front of the stage, with the audience bouncing up and down, singing along and ultimately moshing as the trio tackled Beasties' straight-up hip tracks before strapping on their instruments for this rockin' finale.

Recording: B-17

Artist: B-17

Song: Personality Crisis [New York Dolls cover]

Recorded at Comfort Zone ("DEATH TO T.O. IV: A Halloween Covers Show"), October 30, 2014.

B-17 - Personality Crisis

Once again Dan Burke and Elliott Jones celebrated Hallowe'en by turning the Silver Dollar and Comfort Zone into a giant, non-stop musical frenzy, with nearly twenty bands doing mini cover sets. The bands — several of which were constructed just for the occasion — all took the task seriously, putting a lot of work not only into the music but also costumes and all the little things to enhance their tributes. The only downside of the night was that with so many bands on the bill, it was impossible to stage-manage a consistently efficient staggering between the stages, so that it didn't take long for bands upstairs and downstairs to be playing simultaneously, forcing the crowd to make hard decisions on who to see and who to miss. Otherwise, it was a fabulously fun rock'n'roll marathon of a night.

Taking the prize for best costumes and best job at embodying the spirit of the group they were covering, B-17 were fabulously glam/fey/trash talking. Clint Rogerson was in full David Johansen frontman mode, so the Arthur Kane bassman duty fell to Disraelis' Cam Jingles. With their feather boas and Noo Yawk accents, this was as close as you could get to Max's Kansas City, 1974 without a time machine.