Saturday, January 31, 2015

Recording: Slim Twig

Artist: Slim Twig

Songs: J.C. Walked On Water (I'm Walking On Air)* + Widow, Were You Younger + Black Country Rock [David Bowie cover]/Fog Of Sex (N.S.I.S.)*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Slim Twig - J.C. Walked On Water (I'm Walking On Air)

Slim Twig - Widow, Were You Younger

Slim Twig - Black Country Rock/Fog Of Sex (N.S.I.S.)

A big homecoming for Max Turnbull, ending a tour with his first "name" hometown show in a year to a nice, full house at the Silver Dollar. And with some validation in his back pocket, to boot, with NYC's DFA Records re-issuing 2012's A Hound at the Hem to a wider audience than it had previously enjoyed. Turnbull could have been embittered by the whole experience and local indifference but instead stayed positive, praising local indie Pleasence (who had helped get the album out originally) and reminding the crowd how much great music there is to be had in these parts.

As to what he was going to do to reproduce his most ornate album on stage, the answer turned out to be "not very much". Instead, fronting a new, heavy rock-action version of the Slim Twig band (including Simone T-B on drums, Meg Remy on keybs and Michael Rault on bass) he offered a set filled with mostly new material. The fact that two-thirds of that backing line-up overlap with his collaborative group Darlene Shrugg make it no surprise that they share some of the same impulses towards heavy-chugging psych-flavoured excursions. To get a taste of what was on offer, here's something new (and one, Turnbull declared, that wasn't even good enough to make the cut on the band's forthcoming album!), one of the two Hound cuts that were essayed, and something from the set-ending cover segment.

* See the officially-sourced annotations in the comment below!

Recording: Michael Rault

Artist: Michael Rault

Song: Too All My Friends

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Michael Rault - Too All My Friends

T.O.-via-Edmonton's Michael Rault (currently playing live at the front of a four-pice band) might have a hearty taste of that Burger Records sound when he rocks out, but some of the most satisfying moments in this set came when things slowed down. This slice of bellbottom soul (title sic) casts Rault as sonic kin to locals The Pinecones a bit more than to the snarling garage band of your choice.

[Rault will be playing a tour kick-off gig alongside Blonde Elvis, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs and BART at Johnny Jackson on Monday, March 2nd.]

Recording: Tasseomancy

Artist: Tasseomancy

Song: Blue Crystal Fire [Robbie Basho cover]

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, January 23, 2015.

Tasseomancy - Blue Crystal Fire

Playing as a trio sans keyboards, Tasseomancy kept their night-opening set at the shorter end, but still managed to conjure up the right mood as the mystical yin to the evening's glamrock yang. This Robbie Basho tune has been in their setlists for a little while now, and feels right at home next to their own material.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Recording: Nidus

Artist: Nidus

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

Nidus - [excerpt from an improvisation]

A quick search online helpfully informs that a nidus is a "point or place at which something originates, accumulates, or develops," which sound intriguing, even if the remainder of the definition ("such as the center around which a tumour forms") is a bit darker. But it's fitting enough as this is a new partnership between Matthew Ramolo, Jason Doell, and Marc Couroux seems based on accumulating sounds and seeing what develops around them. The sonic tools do bring Ramolo's Khôra project to mind, but untethered from its rigourous internal architecture — in fact, the project is based more on improvisation than one might expect from a group with some ordered, compositional minds and relies heavily on creating a spacialized sound-field. In that regard, I'm unusually pleased with how this capture came out, with some nice, wide stereo separation, so I heartily recommend headphones for this one.

Recording: DUST

Artist: DUST

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

DUST - [excerpt from an improvisation]

Ten members deep this night out, there was once again some of the intriguing quiet rustles that I had heard before from this wilfully-quiet improvisational big band. But this wonderful little atmospheric segment here managed to explore something a little different from what I'd heard them do before.

Recording: Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl

Artist: Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at Ratio, January 22, 2015.

Tomasz Krawowiak & Holger Schoorl - [excerpt from an improvisation]

In the lead-up to this duo set with percussionist Tomasz Krawowiak, Holger Schoorl wrote a twitter essay that'd probably capture the mood of the thing better than I could, so let's just quote his words: "It should be said to those who haven't hear[d] before him or myself or him and myself together that things can be pretty quiet. [...] In fact Tomasz hangs out perhaps too often in those practically inaudible areas of with fingertip drum rubbing. [...] It is true I play the guitar quietly. I was for some time and perhaps still am fond of Morton Feldman's music (and some other things) [...] Which lead me to enjoy listening to and making sounds that are hard to hear. This is actually quite nice: That listening to music would be a little harder, would require a little more cooperation from the audience, that one would be asked to do [...] More than merely show up. [...] That the music projects itself only so far into the space. [...] Forcing listeners to listen a little harder to make up for the lack of volume. An increased level of attention is therefore required."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recording: Weyes Blood

Artist: Weyes Blood

Song: Ashes

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, January 19, 2015.

Weyes Blood - Ashes

I was drawn to this show on the basis of the stellar contingent of local support acts, so I was surprised to find a packed house on a Monday night. Evidently NYC's Natalie Mering, who has just released her second album as Weyes Blood, has some buzz. I'd heard that she had a rep as a bracingly-spare, dark-edged folk minstrel, but here she led a backing trio that put her tunes in a bit more of a poppy light — mid-70's folk-rock AM gold, to be precise. Or, perhaps, in more current terms, something like Cate le Bon with the weirdness filtered out. Mering had the pipes (and the tunes) to pull it off without sounding merely pleasantly generic, and I was especially taken by this one, which flipped the dial over to the FM and let the groove take over a bit more.

Recording: Schønsee

Artist: Schønsee

Songs: [excerpt from an improvisation, in three parts]

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, January 19, 2015.

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 1]

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 2]

Schønsee - [excerpt, part 3]

I'd only caught bits'n'pieces of this collaboration between Ami Spears (ex-Ostrich Tuning) and Scarlett Rose, but perhaps the most telling was when they backed Surinam's Matt Mason to perform as Suicide at the Death to T.O. Hallowe'en show. Droney, dirty keyboard sounds are the main element here, used in the service of long-unfurling improvisations. Elegantly performed, with a confidence to not rush things, it's worth reproducing a good chunk of their set here. Not much (or anything?) in the way of a web presence yet, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for further gigs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recording: Meandering Streams of Consciousness

Artist: Meandering Streams of Consciousness

Song: [excerpt from first set]

Recorded at Array Space, January 16, 2015.

Meandering Streams of Consciousness - [excerpt from first set]

An intriguing night of sounds from this large ensemble, even if it didn't quite juggle all the elements it had attempted. The visual element, as well as the presence of convening pianist Avesta Nakhaei, were missed but what remained was still quite formidable. A contingent of Persian instruments (oud, tar, tombak) created opportunities for different sounds to inspire each other even if, as I overheard one audience member say, it was often more of a "polite conversation" than a rambunctious encounter. That mostly took the form of the oud and tar introducing a theme, which would slowly be picked up and elaborated by the rest of the players, before easing down for another round. It was a genuine treat to get a chance to see top-notch musicians from a different "scene" — hopefully there will be another chance for this whole thing to happen again. [The full ensemble on this night was: Manuel A. Morales (piano), Peter Lutek (basoon), Anoush Taba'i (clarinet), Chris Weatherstone (sax), Bea Labikova (sax), Reza Assasi (Azeri tar), Arsalan Alizadeh (oud), Kousha Nakhaei (violin), Rob Clutton (double bass), Alinima Madani (tombak and hand percussion)]

Recording: Michael Kaler and friends

Artist: Michael Kaler/Chris Wallace/Jamie Thompson / Michael Kaler/Jamie Thompson/Arnd Jurgensen / Michael Kaler/Enuma Flux/Aki Takahashi/Heidi Chan / Michael Kaler/Arnd Jurgensen/Enuma Flux/Aka Takahashi/Jamie Thompson/Heidi Chan

Songs: [excerpts from four improvised sets]

Recorded at Array Space ("Audiopollination #26"), January 13, 2015.

Michael Kaler, Chris Wallace, Jamie Thompson - [excerpt from first piece]

Michael Kaler, Jamie Thompson, Arnd Jurgensen - [second piece]

Michael Kaler, Enuma Flux, Aki Takahashi, Heidi Chan - [last section]

M. Kaler, A. Jurgensen, E. Flux, A. Takahashi, J. Thompson, H. Chan - [ending]

This night of "folky ethno-drone", saw four sets with a rotating series of musicians surrounding Michael Kaler, who played bouzouki and banjole. The guests included Chris Wallace (percussion) and Jamie Thompson (flute); Thompson and Arnd Jurgensen (marimachi); and Enuma Flux (percussion), Aki Takahashi (shamisen) and Heidi Chan (Chinese flutes) before bringing most of the above together for a big group finale. An interesting mix of sounds, mostly hewing towards gentle instrumental interplay and a particularly pleasing night overall.

[As always, you can revisit the whole of the night with the recordings over at Audiopollination's bandcamp page. The next Audiopollination night will be on Tuesday, February 10th and will feature the Element Choir.]

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recording: Mark Segger Sextet

Artist: Mark Segger Sextet

Song: P.F.D.

Recorded at Array Space, January 12, 2015.

Mark Segger Sextet - P.F.D.

Before heading out west for a tour with the Kyle Brenders Quartet, Mark Segger took a few days to gather many of his T.O.-based projects together for a series of shows. I could only make this one, an hour-long set of compositions for his sextet, on which he drums and is joined by Rob Clutton (bass), Tania Gill (piano), Jim Lewis (trumpet), Peter Lutek (woodwinds) and Heather Segger (trombone). There was a bunch of newer material here, much of which (including "Wallpaper Music II" and "Only One Note") felt more "game"-based, executing a series of rules more than focusing on a tune (I could glimpse the score for the latter, and it looked like a page from someone's geometry homework). This one cuts the difference a little, going back and forth with darting little stabs (some of which came from Lutek alternating blats on clarinet and sax) before opening up a little toward the end.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Recording: Paul Newman

Artist: Paul Newman

Song: Oak*

Recorded at Array Space ("Somewhere There Presents: The Second Sunday of January"), January 11, 2015.

Paul Newman - Oak

A lovely set of continuous solo music from saxophonist Paul Newman. This section — with the long pauses between that five-note riff that slowly shrink as the melody mutates — seems to me like nothing less than the sound of a yearning heart.

* Thanks to Paul for passing along the title to this one.

Concert Listings Roundup #81

You can read more about why I'm doing listings here. Long story short: This curated and decidedly non-comprehensive list contains nothin' but shows that I am going to/would go to if I had more time.


Gigs of the week:

The Cluttertones [Ordinary Joy release party!] (Isla Craig / Brodie West) / Double Double Land 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Cluttertones' Ordinary Joy is my first favourite album of 2015. Presenting "otherworldly chamber music" under the guidance of composer/bassist Rob Clutton, you're just not going to hear music like this anywhere else. Ryan Driver's analogue synth and Lina Allemano's trumpet work in a soundscape-evoking way you might also hear in the latter's Titanium Riot, but alongside Tim Posgate's banjo and guitar they're shaped into evocative miniatures, very much in the well-known spirit of wortlosegutesgefühlauseinemfensteraneinemkaltentag — that wordless feeling of warmth evoked by looking out a window on a cold day. Kudos for Healing Power for issuing this — it's at a bit of a right angle to their core "sound", but they're willing to make the effort for an album that I know they, too, are really excited about. (As a bonus, this release gig features opening solo sets from Isla Craig and Brodie West.)

Cluttertones - Webbed

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series – Mechanical Forest Sound Presents: Ghostlight's The Winter Womb (Fifteen Wavelengths: An Ambient Suite) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [more info]

Also on tap this week is a gig that — full disclosure — I had a hand in putting together. This night will see some experimental sounds take over Wavelength's pop-up galley at Huntclub Studios, with Ghostlight (the abstract/improvisational offspring of Mean Red Spiders) offering "a multimedia performance evoking the darkness of Arctic hysteria evolving into the midnight sun". The first half, meanwhile, will see a specially-chosen complement of top-notch players interpret "Fifteen Wavelengths: An Ambient Suite", a surround-sound piece created in honour of Wavelength's 15th anniversary. The music will be spontaneously composed by musicians responding to a series of fifteen synthesizer tones by Jonathan Adjemian. The goal of the slowly-unfolding improvisation is to create a musical Möbius strip, comforting and enveloping.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Dorian's Birthday Elvis Monday (feat. Triple Gangers / The Gordon Brothers / April Snow / "surprise guest") / The Drake Underground 2015-01-26 (Monday) [FB event]

Bedroom [analog synth/laptop/vibraphone grooves feat. Matthew Pencer/Josh Cole/Michael Davidson] with Phil Melanson / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-27 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Howl Canyon (Johnny Ferguson / The Super Darling) / Holy Oak Café 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Kelly McMichael January Residency #4 (feat. Kelly McMichael & The Gloss / Terra Lightfoot / Dr Ew with Kelsey McNulty) / The Dakota Tavern 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

HPR TZAC Monthly (feat. Beard Closet / Hexzuul) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Blevin Blechdom (Naw) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Alex G (Teen Suicide / Deliluh) / Smiling Buddha 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Surrender heads [new project from Paul Linklater and Doug Friesen, featuring members of Ohmhouse and Badbadnotgood – first gig!] (Charlotte Cornfield / Brent Randall and the Turtledoves) / The Piston 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Beams [7" release party!] (Loon Choir / José Contreras) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

Keep It Local: A Night With Pleasence Records (feat. Man Made Hill) / Johnny Jackson 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Sextet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-30 (Friday)

Emergents II (feat. Dan Fortin / Robin Dann + Claire Harvie) / The Music Gallery 2015-01-30 (Friday) [more info]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Ravetapez feat. boyBITCH (Allegories) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Absolutely Free [belated album release!] (U.S. Girls) / Geary Lane 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

The Class of 2015/#7 (feat. Pet Sun / NOBRO / Champion Lover / Several Futures / CANYUN) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Pink Wine [7" Release Party!] (NASA Valley / Army Girls / Pony / Germaphobes [ex-Gay]) / Johnny Jackson 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Gemini Twelve (Datura Daydream / Village / Watershed Hour) / Cameron House 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

TWM/iM (feat. Christian Hansen / Dream Jefferson / BamBoo) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Owen Pallett (Foxes in Fiction) / Lee's Palace 2015-01-31 (Saturday — matinée! all ages!) [more info]

IMBOLC: A Celebration of the Midpoint (feat. New Chance / Andrea Gerhardt / Blunt Chunks / Zoë Alexis Abrams / Tanya Golden / Doomsquad / Wende Bartley) / Algonquin Island 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [more info]

Blunt Chunks / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-31 (Saturday)

Viet Cong (Crosss) / The Garrison 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 638 & The 8 Fest: "A New Place to Dwell" (feat. Fresh Snow / Mimico) / SPK Polish Combatants Hall 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

catl (Invasions / Bella Clava / The Cool Hands) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-01-31 (Saturday) [FB event]

No Angels Dancing / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-02-01 (Sunday – matinée! 1 to 3 p.m.!)

#WL15/Wavelength Talk Series: General Chaos Visuals Workshop / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-02-01 (Sunday – 3 p.m., free!) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-01 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Lisa Bozikovic (LUKA / Strands [Jasmyn from Weaves]) / Holy Oak Café 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [more info]

Nite Comfort 18 (feat. Dirty Inputs / HRRR) / Handlebar 2015-02-01 (Sunday) [FB event]


Add these to your calendar:

Reminder: This post only contains this week's updates — the full listings can always be found over on the right-hand sidebar!

Spectrum Music: Starry Night [with kick-ass ensemble feat. Lina Allemano/Jim Lewis/Heather Segger/Tom Richards/Aline Homzy/Matthew Roberts] / Alliance Française de Toronto 2015-02-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-08 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Wavelength 646: Wavelength 15 Festival Pre-party (feat. Speedy Ortiz / HSY / WISH) / The Garrison 2015-02-12 (Thursday) [FB event]

Long Winter – Year Three, Volume Four: Long Winter Fair (feat. Bruce Peninsula / Choir! Choir! Choir! / L I D S / Sea Oleena / HUSH PUP / STACEY / The Cybertronic Spree / Crosss / Tio / Darlene Shrugg / Programm / Lobby / the beverleys / DEAD TIRED / Mekele / Spots / Eucalyptus / Gingy & Peach & Ryan Pierre + dance/performance/Outdoor Street Fair) / The Great Hall + 99 Sudbury + The Theatre Centre 2015-02-13 (Friday) [FB event]

Spiritual Songs of Africa (feat. Blandine Mbiya / Jeli Katenen 'Cheka' Dioubate / Ruth Mathiang / Evelyn Mukwedeya / Memory Makuri / Netsanet Mellesse / Frederica Ackah + an all-star band!) / Alliance Française de Toronto 2015-02-14 (Saturday) [FB event]

Toronto Homicide Squad [Birthday Bash and final show!] (Stüka) / June Records 2015-02-15 (Sunday – 5:30 p.m.! free!) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-15 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Pow Wows [LP Release!] (Towers / King Creep / Wave Of Terror) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-02-20 (Saturday) [more info]

Eucalyptus Sundays (feat. Eucalyptus) / Hirut Restaurant 2015-02-22 (Sunday – 7 to 9 p.m. Tasty Ethiopian cuisine available, but you're not obliged) [FB event]

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recording: VOTIIV

Artist: VOTIIV

Song: All to Take

Recorded at The Great Hall's Conversation Room ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

VOTIIV - All to Take

This new-ish duo sees vocalist Kat Duma joined by Cam Findlay, who turns up his pretty hate machines for some new late-night sounds. This doesn't have the same sense of menace that Findlay's Kontravoid project asserted in its best moments, but there is a dark, goth-y identity emerging here — some hints of the mood being evoked can be gleaned from their projections, which looked at times like concept art from a Clive Barker adaptation.

Recording: Miracle Fortress

Artist: Miracle Fortress

Songs: Maybe Lately + Here's To Feeling Good All The Time

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Miracle Fortress - Maybe Lately

Miracle Fortress - Here's To Feeling Good All The Time

With my attention elsewhere, it's been a hot minute — or maybe three years — since I'd thought about Graham Van Pelt's Miracle Fortress. Turns out there's no new album yet, but he has dropped a trio of new tunes online. It sounds like the newer stuff is moving away from the fascination with Remain in Light-style sonics that marked 2011's Was I the Wave?, but the older one (which gets a lot of mileage from a mild "Don't Worry baby" melodic crib and a hint of "Under Pressure"'s bassline) and newer one here are bonded with an extended outro for the former and intro for the latter that match up nicely.

[Miracle Fortress will be playing a Platform gig alongside Ken Park at Mercer Union on Thursday, February 5th.]

Recording: Dilly Dally

Artist: Dilly Dally

Songs: Ballin Chain + Snake Head

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Dilly Dally - Ballin Chain

Dilly Dally - Snake Head

It's always a balancing act for a band to find the right proportions of slop-spatter and pop-precision, but Dilly Dally is managing a pretty good job of it. Katie Monks' slurred mumble-shouts remain front and centre, and the band's lurching imprecision around her still manages to maintain both momentum and wallop. These two shorter tunes flip over from one to the next so effortlessly that at first I thought they were two halves of a single song, but there's a couple different flavours to appreciate here.

Recording: Tenderness

Artist: Tenderness

Song: 99 + 1

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Tenderness - 99 + 1

It was a treat to get another chance to hear Chrissy Reichert's new tunes again — anticipation for the spring release of her new album remains high. The material ranges from slow-dance cuddles to dabke-force gallops — this recent single comes up somewhere in the middle. Once again, Steve Reaume's projections added the right counterpoint, moderating the room's mood (there had been some hearty moshing earlier on) towards a tripped-out dance surge.

[Tenderness will be playing the final night of Wavelength's fifteenth anniversary festival (Sunday, February 15th at The Garrison).]

Recording: Alden Penner

Artist: Alden Penner

Song: The Ghost of Creaky Crater

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Alden Penner - The Ghost of Creaky Crater

Closing out a year that saw The Unicorns return to the stage, Alden Penner returned to his own tunes that had emerged at the other end of the calendar on his Exegesis album. He also looked back a decade to play this song (which came out as a single in 2005) that was on his recently-excavated JUNE 04 EP of demos.

Recording: Bile Sister

Artist: Bile Sister

Song: Haagen Baadz

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Bile Sister - Haagen Baadz

Under the glare of a watchful neon eye, this was a night to celebrate for Julie Reich and her warped-pop crew, marking the appearance of this new tune (which manages to pack a complicated mini-suite into two-and-a-half minutes) as one flip of the month's split 7" single. Even if it wasn't as confusing/alluring as the surreal vibes in the song's new video, Reich managed to call the crowd forward and get a bit of a dance party going.

Recording: Mas Aya

Artist: Mas Aya (feat. Lido Pimienta)

Song: If the World

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Three"), January 9, 2015.

Mas Aya (feat. Lido Pimienta) - If the World

Brandon Valdivia's Mas Aya sets have been drawing lately on Lido Pimienta's stage presence to add extra spark to his conscious jams. With the smell of repurposed xmas tress wafting down from the balcony above, this was a wholly invigorating start to the evening.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Recording: Body Help

Artist: Body Help

Songs: [second improvised piece, in two parts]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, January 8, 2015.

Body Help - [second piece, part 1]

Body Help - [second piece, part 2]

This experimental funk trio of Kieran Adams (drums), Josh Cole (bass) and Colin Fisher (guit) offers serious abstract groove action — you should probably sit down for this before you realize that the smell of melting plastic and solder are just in your mind.

Recording: Bernice

Artist: Bernice

Song: Talking About Her

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, January 8, 2015.

Bernice - Talking About Her

This low-key gig at Holy Oak saw Bernice play with a slightly jury-rigged lineup. Vocalist Felicity Williams was out of town and Josh Cole was sitting in on bass, but there was still a lot of magic in the air with another chance to hear some of Robin Dann's fab new songs. There were also a couple curveballs in the setlist, including this tune which doesn't get played as much — as well as a brief appearance by Tin, the band's alter-ego that plays ten-second-long improvised songs based on shouted genre/topic suggestions.

[Several members of the Bernice universe will be part of next week's Felicity Williams-curated Emergents II at the Music Gallery (Friday, January 30th), which will include a Robin Dann/Claire Harvie vocal set as well a new trio from bassist Dan Fortin.]

Recording: The Living Daylight Stringband

Artist: The Living Daylight Stringband

Songs: Get Along Home, Cindy [traditional] + The Wagoner's Lad [trad. arr. Buell Kazee]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, January 8, 2014.

The Living Daylight Stringband - Get Along Home, Cindy

The Living Daylight Stringband - The Wagoner's Lad

I'd been meaning to catch a night with this old-timey combo since I caught 'em opening up a show for Simone Schmidt, and this January evening worked out just fine. Playing as a trio this time out, the group dug into their stash of old and new songs for a casual hoedown, tackling tunes of joy and pain while gathered together around their single microphone. Their residence continues at the Holy Oak on the second Thursday of every month.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Recording: Money House

Artist: Money House

Song: Stefan Feeds the Tiger

Recorded at The Emmet Ray, January 5, 2015.

Money House - Stefan Feeds the Tiger

I first encountered guitarist Patrick O'Reilly via Audiopollination (more re: which still to follow) and was impressed enough with his styles to trek down to The Emmet Ray on a frigid Monday night to check out one of his own projects. Money House (named after an aspirational incense brand) is a trio that sees O'Reilly playing alongside Alex Fournier (bass, banter) and Stefan Hegerat (percussion) in a sort of unflashy jazz moderne style, playing mostly originals (though with a couple standards, including some Monk, thrown in). This was pleasing throughout, but there were some particularly interesting moments, including this cut which pays off big-time by cashing in subtle groove dynamics in exchange for a more atmospheric approach.

Recording: No Angels Dancing

Artist: No Angels Dancing

Song: [excerpt from start of second set]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), January 4, 2015.

No Angels Dancing - [excerpt from start of second set]

Call it a surrogate band, if you will, given that NAD founder Allison Cameron and #1 sidekick D. Alex Meeks were both absent, leaving guitarist Stephen Parkinson to mind the store. But with percussionist Germaine Liu and bassist Chris Banks on hand as guests, the spirit of this early-afternoon Sunday monthly was definitely being observed. Sputtering stop/start (but not unduly astringent) vibe wrangulation was the order of the day here, with the guests adding in plucks, ticks and synthesized belltones to two sets of unsteady momentum. One year in, this remains an excellent alternative to brunch.

[The next instalment will be Sunday, February 1st, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge.]

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recording: Doomsquad

Artist: Doomsquad (feat. Slime)

Song: The Cools

Recorded at Jam Factory ("Feast in the East 44"), January 3, 2015.

Doomsquad - The Cools

The first weekend after New Year's Eve is often a deadzone for gigs, a gap that Feast In The East has been filling for a couple years now. As the night's best gig in town, this drew a full room to the other side of the DVP, offering a very tasty Dutch meal and a quartet of bands you'd want to stand up and move a little to.

As they get ready to head down to New Mexico to record their second album, Doomsquad started off the new year with a look at what they've achieved so far. The long, grooving tracks in their headlining set drew on last year's Kalaboogie, but also reached back to their first EP for their set closer. The core trio was joined, once again, by percussionist Brandon Valdivia throughout, and also for this one by FITE co-founder Neil Rankin (in his Slime guise) on sax.

[Doomsquad will be playing "a plugged down set with trance and harmony" on Saturday, January 31st out on the Island, as part of the IMBOLC celebrations. Meanwhile, the next Feast in the East, on Saturday, February 7th, is more of a mellow affair, but offers a no-less-impressive lineup including EONS, Matthew "Doc" Dunn, Jooj (Sook-Yin Lee & Adam Litovitz) and Alex Lukashevsky.]

Recording: MATROX

Artist: MATROX

Song: Call Control

Recorded at Jam Factory ("Feast in the East 44"), January 3, 2015.

MATROX - Call Control

The first weekend after New Year's Eve is often a deadzone for gigs, a gap that Feast In The East has been filling for a couple years now. As the night's best gig in town, this drew a full room to the other side of the DVP, offering a very tasty Dutch meal and a quartet of bands you'd want to stand up and move a little to.

Just as Ford Prefect had mistakenly identified the dominant terran life form in choosing his earthly name, the alien robot visitors of MATROX seem to have identified the ubiquitous announcements on the TTC as the key avenue of communication between local earthfolk and their authorities. It seems a little strange (or frightening to consider they might be right), but how else was poor, lonely Bessarion going to get its moment of celebration in song?

[MATROX will be playing tonight (Thursday, January 22nd) at Debaser/Weird Canada's Come Up to My Room showcase at The Gladstone. The next Feast in the East, on Saturday, February 7th, is more of a mellow affair, but offers a no-less-impressive lineup including EONS, Matthew "Doc" Dunn, Jooj (Sook-Yin Lee & Adam Litovitz) and Alex Lukashevsky.]

Recording: ZONES

Artist: ZONES

Song: Sandglow*

Recorded at Jam Factory ("Feast in the East 44"), January 3, 2015.

ZONES - Sandglow

The first weekend after New Year's Eve is often a deadzone for gigs, a gap that Feast In The East has been filling for a couple years now. As the night's best gig in town, this drew a full room to the other side of the DVP, offering a very tasty Dutch meal and a quartet of bands you'd want to stand up and move a little to.

This night was led off by tropical-wooze duo ZONES, who may have sounded better than any of the times I've seen 'em before — there's a delicate balance of haze and clarity that can easily get wrapped up in the former in a live setting. The sound gave some of their newer material a real chance to shine — and on tracks like this one, a chance to see just how much Kat Murie is adding to Derek McKeon's artistic vision. With its vaguely-reggae feel, this tune comes off like a bizarro-world Stranger and Patsy number — you can't really make out what Murie is answering in the back-and-forth vocals, but the underlying idea is still well expressed.

[The next Feast in the East, on Saturday, February 7th, is more of a mellow affair, but offers a no-less-impressive lineup including EONS, Matthew "Doc" Dunn, Jooj (Sook-Yin Lee & Adam Litovitz) and Alex Lukashevsky.]

* Thanks to Derek for passing along the title to this one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recording: Starry Night

Artist: Starry Night

Song: Kara Says

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, January 2, 2015.

Starry Night - Kara Says

This was the first gig for this four-piece — though if the dates on their soundcloud are anything to go by, the songs have been in development for a little while now. There were some familiar faces on stage, including Justin Castator and Pat Bramm (of Sing Leaf's live band) and Brian Okamoto (formerly of Chang-a-Lang). The sound can be broadly described as "90's-style alternative rock", right down to the bassist's Big Muff.* It helps that there's some really tasty songs here, and they knew enough to close things out with a Crazy Horse-style extended groove at set's end.

* The bassist — who needs to take more of the vocals in the live set — was unfamiliar to me. Can anyone fill me in?

Recording: Skeleton Forest

Artist: Skeleton Forest

Songs: Ghost Dude + Why Not Your Baby (feat. Lisa Conway) [Dillard & Clark cover]

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, January 2, 2015.

Skeleton Forest - Ghost Dude

Skeleton Forest feat. Lisa Conway - Why Not Your Baby

With Andrew Collins and Lisa Conway spending a year overseas, the projects they're involved in took a break from local stages, but expect to see them once again with increasing frequency. Leading up towards a full return for the Skeletones Four was this "coffeehouse" drummer-less trio, stripped of the proggy tripwires and blorpy keybs that crop up in S4's work and instead imploding more toward widdly Grateful Dead-style rococo rusticity — a perfectly reasonable alternate setting for Collins' ghost stories. Lisa Conway joined in on backing vox for several songs, including this wonderful take on Gene Clark's seminal country-rock weeper (a tune that was also memorably reinterpreted by Velvet Crush).

[That aforementioned return to the stage by the full Skeletones Four takes place tonight (Wednesday, January 21st) at The Dakota Tavern, as part of Kelly McMichael's residency.]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Recording: New Fries

Artist: New Fries

Song: Oil & Water

Recorded at The Tranzac – Southern Cross Lounge ("Tranzac New Year's Eve"), December 31, 2014.

New Fries - Oil & Water

With the recent-ish addition of Ryan Carley's keybs to the lineup, there's an additional layer of woozy instability underlying New Fries' live sound. I don't wanna get too highfalutin' about it — 'cause it's still rock'n'roll to me — but New Fries is increasingly coming across as trying to resolve a dialectic of groove and anti-groove (to say nothing of vibes and anti-vibes) and heading into a space where the tense opposite of a thing becomes a thing.

[New Fries will be helping to represent "the future" at the last night of Wavelength's fifteenth anniversary festival at The Garrison on Sunday, February 15th.]

Recording: Blonde Elvis

Artist: Blonde Elvis

Song: Fit For Her

Recorded at The Tranzac – Main Hall ("Tranzac New Year's Eve"), December 31, 2014.

Blonde Elvis - Fit For Her

At a well-curated (i.e. packed with bands I like) NYE celebration at The Tranzac, Blonde Elvis were outliers as the most straight-up rock band of the night but their phasers were still set to impress. Word is their EP is now complete, so keep an eye out for it.

[Blonde Elvis will be playing Michael Rault's tour kick-off show at Johnny Jackson on Monday, March 2nd.]

Monday, January 19, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #80

You can read more about why I'm doing listings here. Long story short: This curated and decidedly non-comprehensive list contains nothin' but shows that I am going to/would go to if I had more time.


Gig of the week:

Slim Twig [A Hound at the Hem re-release party!] (Michael Rault / Tasseomancy) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-01-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Max Turnbull's musical quest probably hasn't eased off from the torrent of activity he was involved with a few years back, but on local stages recently one was more likely to see him playing alongside U.S. Girls or Darlene Shrugg than at his main gig. This current return to the stage started as a chance at a historical do-over, with his underheard 2012 opus A Hound at the Hem getting a re-release via hip U.S. imprint DFA. But given that that label is also committed to releasing Turnbull's next album as well, it appears that some new creative avenues are opening up.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Weyes Blood (Petra Glynt / Anamai / Schønsee) / Smiling Buddha 2015-01-19 (Monday) [FB event]

Piano Party (feat. Ryan Driver & Jonathan Adjemian) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-20 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Josh Cole and friends / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-01-21 (Wednesday)

Kelly McMichael January Residency #3 (feat. Kelly McMichael & The Gloss / The Gordon Brothers / The Skeletones Four) / The Dakota Tavern 2015-01-21 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Nidus [Jason Doell/Matthew Ramolo/Marc Couroux] (DUST / Tomasz Krakowiak/Holger Schoorl) / Ratio 2015-01-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

Come Up To My Room 2015: Weird Canada & Debaser Showcase (feat. MATROX / Castle If / Wolfcow) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-01-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Opening Party (feat. Petra Glynt / Zoo Owl) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-22 (Thursday – free!) [more info]

Dany Laj & The Looks (Motor Goat / Luke Bill) / Junction City Music Hall 2015-01-22 (Thursday) [FB event]

Christine Duncan/Mike Gennaro (The Element Choir) / Musideum 2015-01-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble / The Imperial Pub 2015-01-23 (Friday)

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: James Irwin [Toronto Album Launch!] (L CON) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Lido Pimienta (Ken Park / Carl Didur) / The Smiling Buddha 2015-01-23 (Friday) [FB event]

Toy Piano Composers featuring CelloPhone: GRIT / Heliconian Hall 2015-01-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Class Of 2015/#6 (feat. New Fries / Nancy Pants / BB Guns / Bile Sister) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-01-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 633 (feat. Dirty Frigs / Creep Highway / Huren / Rotzig) / Junction City Music Hall 2015-01-24 (Saturday) [FB event]

Mas Aya / Holy Oak Café 2015-01-24 (Saturday) [more info]

#WL15/Wavelength Talk Series: "Panel: The Toronto Music Moment, 2015" / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-25 (Sunday – 3 p.m., free!) [more info]

#WL15/Pop-Up Show Series: Jason Sharp/Lina Allemano (Jason Sharp/Ryan Driver/Rob Clutton) / Wavelength Pop Up Gallery @ Huntclub 2015-01-25 (Sunday) [FB event]

Crosswires (feat. Giant Triangle / Jim Storie Juniors / Dutch) / Handlebar 2015-01-25 (Sunday) [more info]


Add these to your calendar:

Reminder: This post only contains this week's updates — the full listings can always be found over on the right-hand sidebar!

Howl Canyon (Johnny Ferguson / The Super Darling) / Holy Oak Café 2015-01-28 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Surrender heads [new project from Paul Linklater and Doug Friesen, featuring members of Ohmhouse and Badbadnotgood – first gig!] (Charlotte Cornfield / Brent Randall and the Turtledoves) / The Piston 2015-01-29 (Thursday) [FB event]

TWM/iM (feat. Christian Hansen / Dream Jefferson / BamBoo) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-01-30 (Friday) [FB event]

Platform (feat. Miracle Fortress / Ken Park) / Mercer Union 2015-02-05 (Thursday) [more info]

Monomyth (Whimm / Chastity / Pube Floral) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-02-06 (Friday) [FB event]

Hollowphonic ([MP.G] / The Disraelis / Ida Diana) / The Garrison 2015-02-06 (Friday)

Feast in the East 45 (feat. EONS / Matthew "Doc" Dunn / Jooj / Alex Lukashevsky) / Jam Factory 2015-02-07 (Saturday) [FB event]

Tradition (Sandro Perri) / Double Double Land 2015-02-07 (Saturday) [FB event]

Music Africa: Black History Month 2015 (feat. Young Stars de Montréal) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-02-07 (Saturday – free!) [more info]

Music Africa: Black History Month 2015 (feat. Yinka Farinde) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-02-14 (Saturday – free!) [more info]

Music Africa: Black History Month 2015 (feat. Amadou Kienou / Katenen Cheka) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-02-21 (Saturday – free!) [more info]

Kaki King (Loom) / Geary Lane 2015-02-26 (Thursday) [FB event]

ZONES (Bodies That Matter / Ken Park) / Smiling Buddha 2015-02-26 (Thursday)

Music Africa: Black History Month 2015 (feat. Afrafranto) / Gladstone Hotel 2015-02-28 (Saturday – free!) [more info]

Moon Duo / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-03-05 (Thursday) [FB event]

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recording: FIN

Artist: FIN

Song: unknown*

Recorded at CineCycle ("Blockspace II Presents: Pre-NYE Extravaganza"), December 30, 2014.

FIN - unknown

This night was a pre-NYE party assembled by the Blockspace collective (Laura Dobson, Julie Reich, Nick Leviathann) that transformed CineCycle into a DIY label bazaar and filled it with art installations plus a full slate of live music. It was also a release party for the Reich-compiled Offerings mixtape, the last gesture from the local showpaper before a soon-to-be-announced transformation.

Rebecca "Fin" Simonetti's musical works have included Wet Nurse, a collaboration with Alex Mackenzie. Her solo setup starts from a similar place technologically with the latter's Petra Glynt, though Simonetti employs her loops/samples/tracks in a manner that's a bit more straight-up "pop" on the surface. (EMA might be another point of worthy comparison.) But look below and there's the same interplay of sexuality and menace that Simonetti explores in her visual art. No wonder, then, that she faced the crowd wearing a football player's shoulder pads, hinting not only at the need for protection but a willingness to tackle any challenges.

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

Recording: Doom Tickler

Artist: Doom Tickler

Song: unknown*

Recorded at CineCycle ("Blockspace II Presents: Pre-NYE Extravaganza"), December 30, 2014.

Doom Tickler - unknown

This night was a pre-NYE party assembled by the Blockspace collective (Laura Dobson, Julie Reich, Nick Leviathann) that transformed CineCycle into a DIY label bazaar and filled it with art installations plus a full slate of live music. It was also a release party for the Reich-compiled Offerings mixtape, the last gesture from the local showpaper before a soon-to-be-announced transformation.

Artist Leslie Predy's musical project has a sound that embodies both parts of its name. Using nothing but her voice and a loop pedal, Predy builds grunts, moans and screams into song-shapes, their inherent gruffness co-existing with a certain whimsical quality. In 2014, the recent prominence of Tanya Tagaq makes this seem like a reasonable path to pop, but it should be noted that Predy has been making music as Doom Tickler for several years now.

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recording: Zacht Automaat

Artist: Zacht Automaat

Songs: [four unknown songs]*

Recorded at Double Double Land, December 29, 2014.

Zacht Automaat - [tracks 7 + 8]

Zacht Automaat - [tracks 9 + 10]

If you figured that a late set on a Monday night would keep people away, think again. This season's semi-annual emergence of the mighty Zacht Automaat took place over two back-to-back nights in crammed quarters. The first was at DDL, a frequent stop for the band, and it was jammed in solid.

Still celebrating the consolidation of their double-vinyl compilation (which has now received a second pressing), 2014 was the first year in the band's existence without a new release — though the keen-eared might have heard a hint of what's to come if they paid attention to the between-sets background music at this gig. [Edit: the new album has now landed on bandcamp!] The two nights featured similar setlists, so instead of cherry picking something from each, I'm going to pass along here a pair of one-two punches from the first, which I managed to capture a little bit more cleanly. Stay tuned, keep refreshing the ZA bandcamp site, and remind yourself that summer is just around the corner.

* Does anyone know the titles to these? Please leave a comment!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Recording: Mirrors

Artist: Mirrors

Song: [excerpt from an improvisation]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), December 28, 2014.

Mirrors - [excerpt from an improvisation]

This was only the second gig for these self-declared "electric dialectic monist acousticians", but they played nearly an hour of improvised material with a self-assured patience, letting musical themes develop at their own pace. The sound is basically trance-y hypnagogic dreamscapes, with Kayla Grant intoning passages from the Book of the Dead (and processing ver vocals) while Zach Clark provided drones and flutters (on Moog, shruti box and sundry electronics) while Liam Cole pulled the abstractions together with his non-invasive percussion. You could slot this (and not just alphabetically!) between Manticore and Moonwood.