Thursday, December 31, 2015

Recording: Simply Saucer

Artist: Simply Saucer

Song: Illegal Bodies

Recorded at The Garrison, December 30, 2015.

Simply Saucer - Illegal Bodies

Closing out a short tour, this crew of Hamilton legends were in fine, razor-sharp form and in the mood to stretch out over songs old and new in an extended set. Before launching into "Dance The Mutation" in the set's final stretch, guitarist/vocalist Edgar Breau declared, "we're a dance band!" and this closer proceeded to prove that fact, reminding us besides whatever protopunk sonic particularities you want to attribute to the band they are also, at their core, designed to get bodies grooving.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Recording: Zacht Automaat

Artist: Zacht Automaat

Song: Facelift (Soft Machine cover)

Recorded at Double Double Land, December 27, 2015.

Zacht Automaat - Facelift

On the eve of adding a new album to their stellar discography, ZA's semi-annual live congregation saw the stage quartet (with project mainmen Michael McLean and Carl Didur joined by Louis Percival and Colin Fisher) stretching out a bit more than usual — at one point a sax solo from Fisher was left to unfurl outward in expanding concentric ripples as the rest of the band held back. As dreamy as the shimmers from Didur's sequined cape, which was now serving as a stage backdrop.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Recording: Daniel Blake

Artist: Daniel Blake

Song: [excerpt from last piece]*

Recorded at Array Space, December 21, 2015.

Daniel Blake - [excerpt from last piece]

Somewhere There put this evening together to present a solo set from Brooklyn soprano saxophonist Dan Blake, who lead off with some developing work-in-progress before cutting (with scissors and all!) into some Steve Lacy. There was a nice mix of melodic and extended techniques and a rush of ideas being explored throughout.

* I am assuming that this is a piece by Steve Lacy — please leave a comment if you know it!

Recording: Heraclitus Akimbo

Artist: Heraclitus Akimbo

Song: Live Variations [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space, December 21, 2015.

Heraclitus Akimbo - Live Variations [excerpt]

Well, file this under conflicts-of-interest, I suppose, as this is indeed the bandonym of this blog's very author. Pushing forward with the sounds that came out on my tape from this summer and reflecting a recent fascination with numbers stations, this set mixed some live-streamed shortwave radio with keyboard loops. It didn't quite all work as intended, but it came through okay — and as I'm fond of telling musicians who report that same thing to me, no one in the crowd actually knew how it was "supposed" to sound anyway.

Anyone who wants to hear more of these sounds can check out some recordings I made during the preparations for the gig, or this video for a more succinct/visual representation of same. I'm also amused with this "cosmic remix" of the live performance from Jakob Rehlinger:

photo by J. Doell

Monday, December 28, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #129

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:

Nite Comfort 29 (feat. Cares / Slocum) / Handlebar 2016-01-03 (Sunday) [FB event]

Some folks treat the start as a new year as a beacon to house-bound hibernation, but even as things slow down a bit the regular rhythm of the city's shows ticks along, including Nite Comfort, bringing dark ambience and synth-noise to Handlebar on the first Sunday of the month. This is no time to rest!


This week's noteworthy shows:

Nick Fraser's Band (Angela Morris/Nathaniel Morgan/Josh Cole/Nick Fraser) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-29 (Tuesday – early + late slots!) [FB event]

Mazola [single release!] (wearenotwhoweare / The Walls Are Blonde / Ah! La lettre) / Penny's 2015-12-29 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Simply Saucer (Poppyseed & The Love Explosion / Laughing Apples) / The Garrison 2015-12-30 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Wavelength 685: New Year's Eve (feat. MATROX / Maylee Todd / The Holy Gasp / Delta Will / Man Made Hill) / Markham House City Building Lab 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Sadies (Robyn Hitchcock & Emma Swift) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [more info]

Hooded Fang (Petra Glynt / Jooj) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Tranzac New Year's Eve (feat. Eucalyptus / New Chance / Run With The Kittens / Zoo Owl) / The Tranzac 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

NYE Night Owl Fest (feat. Moonwalks / Tess Parks / Sisters Of Your Sunshine Vapor / B-17 / The Green Rays / The Auras) / The Old Laurel 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

NYE @ 159 Manning (feat. High Jinx / Terrorista / Wolf Saga / Fill Spectre / Mad Ones / Stayce) / 159 Manning 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Big Sound: 2nd Annual New Year's Celebration / Mod Club Theatre 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Nick Fraser/Jim Sexton/Colin Fisher / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-01-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

No Octopus Dances / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2016-01-03 (Sunday – afternoon show @ 2:30!)


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!

A Dose of Reality Rap (feat. Marshia Celina / LAL) / Unit 2 2016-01-08 (Friday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #38.1 (feat. Thomaz Krakowiak/Holger Schoorl / Ken Aldcroft/Germaine Liu/Jonathan Adjemian / Phookie Nijjit/Andy Dolgin/Brian Abbott / Michael Lynn/Branko Dzinovic/Tiina Kiik) / Array Space 2016-01-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Broken Wires & Coiled Strings (feat. Clara Engel / naw / roljui) / Ratio 2016-01-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Steven Lambke [Days of Heaven record release] (Eucalyptus) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-01-17 (Sunday) [FB event]


Bandcamp corner:

  • Zacht Automaat started the year with an album release and dropped their covers tape in the summer, so it's exciting to see them complete the 2015 hat trick with More Down Than Out. Hunker down for winter with one of the city's best bands!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Recording: Cluttertones

Artist: Cluttertones

Song: Bison

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, December 17, 2015.

Cluttertones - Bison

With the elusiveness and mysterious grace of an escaped buffalo herd, Cluttertones slowly pull apart at the loose fabric of Rob Clutton's songs without ever causing a rip. And then, like a blanket folded over on itself, points at the opposing ends can suddenly rest right up against one another.

[Cluttertones are playing at Ratio on Saturday January 16th, with Brodie West's Ways and Blunt Chunks.]

Recording: John Millard

Artist: John Millard

Song: Dutch Boys

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, December 17, 2015.

John Millard - Dutch Boys

In bringing his avant-chamber-folk Cluttertones ensemble to the Burdock, Rob Clutton chose a couple opening acts that reflected opposing aspects of the band's sound. Germaine Liu's solo percussion set hinted at the project's abstract and experimental aspects, while John Millard represented tuneful songcraft. I first encountered Millard this summer as one of the singers in The Melancholiac's Scott Walker tribute ensemble, but he has a long track record both as a solo performer as well in groups such as the Polka Dogs (the latter of which included Tiina Kiik and Ambrose Pottie, both also known for their work in the city's improvised music community). Millard's set mixed songs with engaging stories, giving a chance to see how the incidents he recounted were refined into the songs' sharpened edges.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Recording: Kith & Kin

Artist: Kith & Kin

Songs: Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil [traditional] + Wintergrace [composed by Jean Ritchie]

Recorded at The Music Gallery, December 13, 2015.

Kith & Kin - Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil + Wintergrace

As always, Kith & Kin's annual wassail at the Music Gallery was a warm and engaging evening of conventional and wonderfully non-traditional seasonal songs from Ivy Mairi, Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, and Kathleen McDonnell. Appalachian singer Jean Ritchie, who passed away this year, has long a favourite of the group, and this wonderfully vivid winter's song is preceded by a verse of an Irish Gaelic hymn from Martha Farquhar-McDonnell — one of most beautiful voices to be found in Toronto, city or island — who mentioned that an album of Celtic songs is forthcoming.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Recording: LAL

Artist: LAL

Song: Rules Were Meant to be Broken

Recorded at The Great Hall's basement (Long Winter 4.2), December 12, 2015.

LAL - Rules Were Meant to be Broken

With an unusual Saturday night edition and winter nowhere yet to be found, it felt a little different heading down for this one. As with the first of this year's series, the best spot for music was down in the basement, while dance and art crept closer to the night's centre from all directions. Closing out the night's live music in the basement, LAL is in an amazing place right now, with singer Rosina Kazi and sound designer Nicholas Murray delivering their new material with intense joy and pain. No B.S., no game-playing, this is fully committed music — and both of the times I saw them in 2015 were among my favourite sets of the year. There's no word yet on when their forthcoming album is coming out, but it stands to be a noteworthy release for 2016 — this is what Toronto needs right now.

[The next Long Winter will be on January 16th, 2016 — note that's on a Saturday again — with sets from Vallens, LOOM, Mystic Triangle, Michelle McAdorey, JOOJ, STÜKA, Pantayo, Khôra, Strands, Overnight and more.]

Recording: Nailbiter

Artist: Nailbiter

Song: [last segment]*

Recorded at The Great Hall's basement (Long Winter 4.2), December 12, 2015.

Nailbiter - [last segment]

With an unusual Saturday night edition and winter nowhere yet to be found, it felt a little different heading down for this one. As with the first of this year's series, the best spot for music was down in the basement, while dance and art crept closer to the night's centre from all directions. Sharing the stage with New Chance (who each had a side on the night's free 7" single), there were some serious dance grooves down in the basement. Actually, "sharing the stage" is something of a misnomer, as Josh Korody instead set up on the floor in front of it, twisting knobs and riding the faders on his mixing panel as he hurled out some modular synth grooves. This closing segment of his short set begins with a blurting tone that sounds like a klaxon warning that a parking garage door is about to open and tears itself open after that. By the end, Korody let the tracks run for a bit as he backed away from his gear to dance in the crowd.

[Nailbiter will be playing at Wavelength's "Class of 2016" show at The Silver Dollar on Friday, January 22nd. The next Long Winter will be on January 16th, 2016 — note that's on a Saturday again — with sets from Vallens, LOOM, Mystic Triangle, Michelle McAdorey, JOOJ, STÜKA, Pantayo, Khôra, Strands, Overnight and more.]

* I suspect this is a largely-improvised piece, but let me know if you hear of a title to this one.

Recording: Petra Glynt

Artist: Petra Glynt

Song: Fell in a Hole

Recorded at The Great Hall (Long Winter 4.2), December 12, 2015.

Petra Glynt - Fell in a Hole

With an unusual Saturday night edition and winter nowhere yet to be found, it felt a little different heading down for this one. As with the first of this year's series, the best spot for music was down in the basement, while dance and art crept closer to the night's centre from all directions. Moving up to the big stage from her Conversation Room appearance in LW's first year, Alex MacKenzie took advantage of the space by inviting frequent collaborator Steve Reaume to spread his projections across the width of the room's back wall. Tackling a set of newer material with confidence, MacKenzie looked as comfortable pounding on her drum and prowling the stage as she did when stepping back for a quick dance break.

[The next Long Winter will be on January 16th, 2016 — note that's on a Saturday again — with sets from Vallens, LOOM, Mystic Triangle, Michelle McAdorey, JOOJ, STÜKA, Pantayo, Khôra, Strands, Overnight and more.]

Recording: LUKA

Artist: LUKA

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Great Hall (Long Winter 4.2), December 12, 2015.

LUKA - unknown

With an unusual Saturday night edition and winter nowhere yet to be found, it felt a little different heading down for this one. As with the first of this year's series, the best spot for music was down in the basement, while dance and art crept closer to the night's centre from all directions. In the Main Hall, especially at the start of the night, the music seemed to be just one element competing for the patrons' attention, which lead to Luke Kuplowsky's quietly observational songs sounding like one more murmured conversation in the room. Rather than trying to compete or overpower the chatter, the band seemed content to stay in their comfort zone, forcing those who wanted to hear to lean in a little closer.

[The next Long Winter will be on January 16th, 2016 — note that's on a Saturday again — with sets from Vallens, LOOM, Mystic Triangle, Michelle McAdorey, JOOJ, STÜKA, Pantayo, Khôra, Strands, Overnight and more.]

* Does anyone know the title to this one? The obvious guess would be "Quick Reflex" — please leave a comment if you know for sure!

Recording: Mitchell Akiyama

Artist: Mitchell Akiyama

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Great Hall's Conversation Room (Long Winter 4.2), December 12, 2015.

Mitchell Akiyama - unknown

With an unusual Saturday night edition and winter nowhere yet to be found, it felt a little different heading down for this one. As with the first of this year's series, the best spot for music was down in the basement, while dance and art crept closer to the night's centre from all directions. Mitchell Akiyama, a scholar and composer who has also been releasing electronic music since the turn of this century, filled the Conversation Room with a series of loop-y pieces that managed to remain satisfyingly unsettled, never settling into rote dancefloor repetition. [He has also posted his full set over at his soundcloud.]

[The next Long Winter will be on January 16th, 2016 — note that's on a Saturday again — with sets from Vallens, LOOM, Mystic Triangle, Michelle McAdorey, JOOJ, STÜKA, Pantayo, Khôra, Strands, Overnight and more.]

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #128

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:

Zacht Automaat / Double Double Land 2015-12-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Zacht Automaat play twice a year, and they're my gig of the week twice a year. Do you need to know anything more?


This week's noteworthy shows:

Daniel Blake (Heraclitus Akimbo) / Array Space 2015-12-21 (Monday) [FB event]

Jennifer Castle (Fiver / Damian Rogers) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-12-21 (Monday) [more info]

Wintergrace: A seasonal tribute to Jean Ritchie and Leadbelly (feat. Kith & Kin with Sean Donald, Max Kelly, Frank Griggs and other special guests) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-12-22 (Tuesday) [FB event]

What's In The Box (feat. Most People / WOLF SAGA / Zoo Owl / TASTE) / The Drake Underground 2015-12-26 (Saturday) [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!

Tranzac New Year's Eve (feat. Eucalyptus / New Chance / Run With The Kittens / Zoo Owl) / The Tranzac 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

NYE Night Owl Fest (feat. Moonwalks / Tess Parks / Sisters Of Your Sunshine Vapor / B-17 / The Green Rays / The Auras) / The Old Laurel 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Long Winter 4.3 (feat. TUNS / Vallens / LOOM / Mystic Triangle / Nicole Dollanganger / Michelle Mcadorey / Indoor Voices / JOOJ / STÜKA / Pantayo / Khôra / STRANDS / kiwi jr. / YUNG BAMBII / THE SEAMS / Bossie / Overnight) / The Great Hall 2016-01-16 (Saturday – PWYC! all ages!) [FB event]

Cluttertones (Blunt Chunks / Ways) / Ratio 2016-01-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Piano Party 4 (feat. Anastasia Tchernikova / Jesse Levine) / Ratio 2016-01-21 (Thursday) [FB event]

Emergents II (feat. Lisa Conway / Linsey Wellman) / The Music Gallery 2016-02-05 (Friday) [more info]

1976: Our 40th Birthday Party Fundraiser (feat. Brigitte Bardon’t / Anne Bourne) / The Music Gallery 2016-02-11 (Thursday) [more info]

Val-Inc (Witch Prophet) / The Music Gallery 2016-02-20 (Saturday) [more info]

Off Centre Music Salon: Tea for Two (feat. Chris Donnely vs. Ryan MacEvoy McCullough / Christine Duncan vs. Alex Lukashevsky vs. Lucy Fitz Gibbon) / The Music Gallery 2016-02-25 (Thursday) [more info]

Emergents III (feat. Jeremy Bellaviti / The Science of What?) / The Music Gallery 2016-04-08 (Friday) [more info]

Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan: Higgs Ocean: New Music For Gamelan / The Music Gallery 2016-05-13 (Thursday) [more info]

Emergents IV (feat. Kiri Koto Ensemble / Boomwhackers) / The Music Gallery 2016-05-15 (Thursday) [more info]

MG Remixed: Allatonceness (feat. Tenderness / Trichy Sankaran / SlowPitchSound / Allison Peacock / Diana Vander Meulen / Alvis Choi aka Alvis Parsley / Undervolt & Co.) / The Music Gallery 2016-06-11 (Saturday) [more info]


Community corner:

  • Super Griptastic Savings! The Wyrd Distro is moving across the country to Victoria, but before it's packed and shipped west, there's the "Wyrd Distro Super Big Great Deal Save Save Save Sale" (notice how many times "save" is in there?) being held at Handlebar on Sunday (December 27th). It's a great chance to get some bargains on independent Canadian music, and also promises some great hangs with many cool folks. Do not miss this: avoid the infernal malls on Boxing Day — your bucks are better spent here.
  • Album Alert! Speaking of new independent Canadian music, Michael Keith has just dropped an album of music for three-stringed baritone ukulele, "deeply inspired by the players and music of the 2 and 3 string instruments of Iran, other parts of the Middle East and Central Asia". Keith's technique has floored me every time I've seen this performed live, and this recording gives a good presentation of that, with a warmly-unardorned living-room feel throughout.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Recording: Hoover Party + friends

Artist: Hoover Party feat. Karen Ng & Brodie West/Doc Dunn/New Chance

Songs: [three excerpts]

Recorded at Array Space, December 9, 2015.

Hoover Party feat. Karen Ng & Brodie West - [excerpt]

Hoover Party feat. Doc Dunn - [excerpt]

Hoover Party feat. New Chance - [excerpt]

Jonathan Adjemian has pivoted from the hermetically gorgeous sinewaves of his last tape to the generative laptopscapes of his brand-new effort, which was celebrated at this night out at Array. Reflecting faucets of the creator's personality, the album was for sale in a download code/baked treat combo, and the night's collaborations included both musical-and dance-based efforts. In terms of the former, Adjemian was joined by some of his peers to unpack, redux, and remix some tracks from the new album, giving them reinvented musical identities.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Recording: bedroom

Artist: bedroom

Songs: [two excerpts]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), December 8, 2015.

bedroom - [excerpt 1]

bedroom - [excerpt 2]

This improvised somnambulant ambient/electroacoustic project from Matthew Pencer (laptop), Michael Davidson (vibraphone) and Josh Cole (mono synth/laptop) remains fairly singular — atmospheric and relaxing but with occasional rough-edged sound-snags. A bit like drifting off to sleep and right into an occasionally disconcerting dream that bumps you just barely back into awakeness. I got my mics in close to Davidson's vibes for this one, and the recording is particularly immersive, so it's worth sharing a couple extended excerpts here. Plus, some visual abstractions!

[bedroom will be back in action on the second Tuesday of next month — that'd be January 12th — in the Southern Cross.]

Recording: Aurochs

Artist: Aurochs

Song: [set 2 excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), December 8, 2015.

Aurochs - [set 2 excerpt]

For the festive special edition of their monthly Tranzac residency, Ali Berkok, Pete Johnston and Jake Oelrichs snuck in a few xmas carol interpolations into their grooves, while once again Mike Smith provided sonic manipulations that ranged from subtle extensions to dub-remix-y lurches.

[Aurochs will be back in action on the second Tuesday of next month — that'd be January 12th — in the early slot in the Southern Cross.]

Monday, December 14, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #127

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:

The Cluttertones (Germaine Liu [solo percussion] / John and Waleed) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-12-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Songs and sonic experimentation commingle at Burdock, with the city's best chamber-pop ensemble headlining — their Ordinary Joy was one of my fave albums of the year. It's also a chance to witness Germaine Liu's open and inviting explore-all-surfaces approach to solo percussion.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Dan Fortin BRINKS Quartet / The Emmet Ray 2015-12-14 (Monday – PWYC! early!) [FB event]

Ken Aldcroft/Mike Gennaro (Nicolas Bulligan) / Musideum 2015-12-15 (Tuesday)

Open | Inputs (feat. Naw / Yola Beru / roljui / David Jones) / Holy Oak Café 2015-12-15 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Henri Fabergé Presents One Hell of a Creskins! / 120 Church St. 2015-12-16 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Songs For Syria: A Holiday Benefit Show (feat. Prince Innocence / Ice Cream / Whimm / E Adi / The Seams) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-12-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Kurt Marble (Fill Spectre / Bueller) / Smiling Buddha 2015-12-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Surinam (DAS RAD / Champion Lover / Alpha Strategy) / Smiling Buddha 2015-12-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Jenny Berkel (Marine Dreams) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-12-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Sistering Fundraiser (feat. New Fries / Mick Futures / Teenanger / Tonkapuma) / Monarch Tavern 2015-12-18 (Friday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper's Lipliners / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-18 (Friday)

Nightmare Before Xmas II (feat. Big|Brave / Jessica Moss / Gates / Northumbria) / Geary Lane 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Holiday Band Slam 2K15 (feat. PONY / Vallens / The Seams) / Smiling Buddha 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

This Ryan Driver Band (Fiver [solo]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

First Base (Mother's Children / Century Palm) / Handlebar 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

Alaniaris / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-20 (Sunday – matinee! 3 to 5 p.m.!)

HSY (Germaphobes / Bile Sister) / 8-Eleven 2015-12-20 (Sunday) [FB event]

Burdock Holiday Show for Girls Rock Camp (feat. April Aliermo / Robin Dann / Steven Foster / Don Kerr / Maya Killtron / Simone Schmidt / Mia Sheard / Raven Shields/ "surprise guests" / "secret house band") / Burdock Music Hall 2015-12-20 (Sunday) [FB event]

Cetacea (Klnr / Blunt Chunks) / Handlebar 2015-12-20 (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!

Daniel Blake (Heraclitus Akimbo) / Array Space 2015-12-21 (Monday) [FB event]

Zacht Automaat / Double Double Land 2015-12-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Hooded Fang (Petra Glynt / Jooj) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Syrian Refugee Support Show (feat. Vallens / Dirty Frigs / Petra Glynt / Meanwood / Art Show) / The Garrison 2016-01-08 (Friday) [FB event]

The Beverleys (Honduras) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2016-01-14 (Thursday) [FB event]

New Horizzzons [EP/Art Booklet Release!] (Wolfcow / Broken Puppy) / Burdock Music Hall 2016-01-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Adam Rudolph: Go: Organic / The Music Gallery 2016-01-23 (Saturday) [FB event]

Smiling Buddha's 1.5 Year Anniversary (feat. Odonis Odonis / New Fries / MIMICO) / Smiling Buddha 2016-01-29 (Friday – all ages!) [FB event]

Smiling Buddha's 1.5 Year Anniversary (feat. Greys / chastity / PONY) / Smiling Buddha 2016-01-30 (Saturday – all ages!) [FB event]

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Recording: No Octopus Dances

Artist: No Octopus Dances

Song: [set 1 excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), December 6, 2015.

No Octopus Dances - [set 1 excerpt]

After a seasonal break to regroup following the departure of drummer D. Alex Meeks, the remaining No Angels Dancing (Allison Cameron and Stephen Parkinson) returned in this reformulation that joins them with Octopus, the eight-limbed co-drumming duo of Germaine Liu and Mark Zurawinski. The percussion is in stereo here (Liu on the right and Zurawinski on the left) giving a newly-unsteady foundation for Cameron's synth-bobbing/sound-making and Parkinson's guitar skinning. You'll now be able to find this quartet in action at The Tranzac on the first Sunday afternoon of the month.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Recording: Phèdre

Artist: Phèdre

Song: Tivoli

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 2), December 5, 2014.

Phèdre - Tivoli

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts. The second night even upped the ante by adding lasers!

April Aliermo and Dan Lee's Phèdre project mixes grimy dance beats with scuzzy punk exuberance. It employs different tools than the pair deploy as Tonkapuma (or as half of Hooded Fang) but the energy behind it is the same. The pair slipped a few new high-energy bangers into this set, including this one that sounds a wee bit like a hyper-caffeinated guess at what Alvin and The Chipmunks covering Omar Souleyman might sound like.1


1 Having jotted that comparison down in my notepad, my brain naturally turned to the next stage of wondering what would happen if you took this and played it at 16 RPM, in the style of the recent Chipmunks redux. It turns out it would sound like this.

Recording: JOOJ

Artist: JOOJ

Song: Jessica

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 2), December 5, 2014.

JOOJ - Jessica

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts. The second night even upped the ante by adding lasers!

JOOJ might not have been a strictly populist choice to headline the festival's second night, but the selection served as a reminder that Silent Shout's vision of electronic music includes art drone experimentation as well as dancefloor action. Adam Litovitz and Sook-Yin Lee's musical project trades in uncomfortable surges and pulsing heartbeat rhythms, presented with a slightly-operatic stage presence. One got the sense that this might have been a little disorienting for some of the audience, but on the whole, it fit right into Silent Shout's soundworld.

Recording: Scott Hardware

Artist: Scott Hardware

Song: Gertrude

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 2), December 5, 2014.

Scott Hardware - Gertrude

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts. The second night even upped the ante by adding lasers!

Having now closed out the cycle that brought Ken Park's You Think About It Too Much, word is that a new album is already in the can and Scott Harwood formally re-launched the project with a short tour that ended with this hometown show. Harwood's pivot includes not only new songs and a new band but also a new moniker — I don't know if the use of "hardware" was a subtle hint that his music remains software free, but his vision of no laptop dance music has expanded with the presence of sax and piano giving things an analogue edge, and shifting things from Berlin disco to early 90's British house — there's a little bit of Happy Monday's "Step On" (and/or EMF's "Unbelievable") in the sound. Still eminently danceable and still based on strong songwriting, this looks like the start of an exciting new chapter.

[Scott Hardware will be playing at Wavelength's "Class of 2016" showcase at the Silver Dollar on Friday, January 22nd.]

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Recording: Ben Gunning

Artist: Ben Gunning

Song: Destructive

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 1), December 4, 2014.

Ben Gunning - Destructive

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts.

It was quite pleasing to see Ben Gunning's new Massive Love album being championed by Silent Shout. Though it undoubtedly includes some bum-wiggling grooves, its yacht rock sound arguably owes more to Steely Dan than The Knife. The recorded versions of the songs do indeed have some slick electronic undertones, though live that's subsumed somewhat into the smooth sounds of Gunning's all-star backing band, which includes DIANA's Kieran Adams (drums) and Joseph Shabason (sax) plus Bram Gielen (bass), Thom Gill (synth) and Michael Davidson (vibes) plus Robin Dann and Alanna Stuart (backing vox). Playing after a lot of the crowd split following the headlining set, there was room on the dancefloor for those who stuck behind to see this rather astonishing band in action.

Recording: Lydia Ainsworth

Artist: Lydia Ainsworth

Song: Moonstone

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 1), December 4, 2014.

Lydia Ainsworth - Moonstone

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts.

The night's biggest draw, Lydia Ainsworth (a local artist on the Arbutus Records roster) came backed by a string trio to present the songs from last year's Right From Real album. Ainsworth's vocal presence and art imperative bring Kate Bush's progressive pop to mind — based in atmospheric electronic sounds, this was the least dancefloor-worthy set of the night, though a few songs here were accompanied by a pair of masked dancers adding to the swooning mystical undercurrent in the music.

[Lydia Ainsworth will be headlining Long Winter at The Great Hall on Saturday night (December 12th). She plays at midnight, but you'll need to arrive early (or grab an advance ticket) to get in — there's a rather stacked lineup that you oughtta be there for anyway.]

Recording: Lockbox

Artist: Lockbox

Song: Just The Same as Always

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 1), December 4, 2014.

Lockbox - Just The Same as Always

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts.

This Laura Barrett-fronted group technically played its first show back in February, playing a mini-set of Owen Pallett songs at Wavelength's anniversary show. One of those was carried over, but this was otherwise the first airing out of some new material — and a new, synth-oriented direction from Barrett. Joined by Sarah Buchanan on drums and Jeff DeButte on bass, the trio was bopping in 5/8 time and reminding the audience to put their socks on just so they could get rocked off. There's still some refinements to be worked out on getting the balance between laptop tracks and the live band parts (as exhibited on the the confrontationally jaunty "What Kind of Person Do You Think You Are?") but there's an exciting new sonic template at hand for Barrett to apply her songwriting skills to. This one, with its piano-based sound, hews a bit closer to the "old" Laura Barrett sound — I suspect the next thing I post from this group will be more electronic and squiggly.

Recording: Hush Pup

Artist: Hush Pup

Song: Wait Up

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 1), December 4, 2014.

Hush Pup - Wait Up

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts.

After hearing the gauzy dreamgaze tracks they have online here's something slightly disjunctive about seeing Hush Pup perform — casual and laughing, they look like they're going to start a dance party on stage instead of unfurling some atmospheric synth-rock. There's a bit of that tension in the music, with sprightly rhythm tracks sometimes pulling a bit too much away from Ida Maidstone's ethereal vocals. But when it finds the right balance and settles into woozy Cocteau Twins territory, this is something you can convincingly sway to.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #126

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:

Hoover Party [Another Bankrupt Hapsburg Legacy digital album release] (Karen Ng & Brodie West / Matthew A. Dunn / Amelia Ehrhardt / Victoria Cheong) / Array Space 2015-12-09 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Jonathan Adjemian has been making drones (not drones) as Hoover Party for a while now, and is celebrating the release of the new Another Bankrupt Hapsburg Legacy with a series of "extended and reinvented collaborative versions of tracks from the album" with a fab series of special guests. The night also promises a dance by Alicia Grant, and the album will be available as a "download code / limited-edition baked good combo".


This week's noteworthy shows:

Array Session #35 (feat. Cheryl Ockrant/Rick Sacks/David Story/David Woodhead) / Array Space 2015-12-07 (Monday) [more info]

Soundstreams: Electric Messiah ["a stripped down, surround sound electro-improv Messiah for today's Toronto"] (feat. Christine Duncan/Carla Huhtanen/Gabriel Dharmoo/Jeremy Dutcher/John Gzowski/Doug Van Nort/Electroacoustic Orchestra of York University/SlowPitchSound) / The Drake Underground 2015-12-07 + 2015-12-08 (Monday + Tuesday) [more info]

The Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble: Strange Luminescence / Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, F--- S------ Centre 2015-12-08 (Tuesday – free noon-hour concert!)

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-08 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

bedroom / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-08 (Tuesday)

Audiopollination #37.1: Self-Curation Project (feat. Wendalyn Bartley/Martin van de Ven/ Adele Armin / Cathy Campbell/Darlene Cuevas / Matt Miller/Nathan Petitpas/Nicolas Buligan / John Creson/Ted Philips/Adam Rosen) / Array Space 2015-12-08 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Perfect Pussy (Fielded / Foxmoulder / Casper Skulls / Mollot) / Smiling Buddha 2015-12-08 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Lai de Bisclaveret (feat. Pneuma Ensemble) [12th century werewolf poem!] / Toronto Public Library – Fairview Branch 2015-12-09 (Wednesday – free! early!) [FB event]

Sorry About My Friend [Justin Haynes/Ryan Driver/Evan Cartwright] / La Revolucion 2015-12-09 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Ken Aldcroft/Karen Ng/Emily Denison/Scott Thomson/Wes Neal/Joe Sorbara / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-09 (Wednesday)

Transcendental Rodeo [Kanata box set release party] / Grasshopper Records 2015-12-10 (Thursday – free! early!)

Emergents I: Collideoscope [curated by Germaine Liu] ("a showcase of new works where composition and movement work together without hierarchy" choreographed, composed and performed by David Baldry / Aline Homzy / Chris Pruden / Raphael Roter / Sully Malaeb-Proulx / Paige Kobe / Nicholas Rusica) / The Music Gallery 2015-12-10 (Thursday) [FB event]

U.S. Girls (Animalia / Bad Channels / Elliott Vincent Jones)] / The Hoxton 2015-12-10 (Thursday – $3 with RSVP) [FB event]

Chastity [tape release!] (Spells of Vertigo / Praises / Venus Tramps) / Double Double Land 2015-12-10 (Thursday) [FB event]

Shining Wizard (Not The Wind, Not The Flag / Brahja Waldman / Keep Them Alive) / Ratio 2015-12-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Diane Roblin/Nick Fraser/Rob Clutton/Kyle Brenders / Musideum 2015-12-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #37.2 (feat. Craig Pederson, solo trumpet, plus trios with Michael Lynn/Tania Gill / Karen Ng/Bennett Bedoukian) / Array Space 2015-12-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Aluminum Origami [Avesta Nakhaei/Chris Weatherstone] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Maylee Todd's Virtual Womb ["a multi medium/media experience including projections, dancers, installation and music."] / The Great Hall 2015-12-11 (Friday) [FB event]

Long Winter, Volume 4.2 (feat. Lydia Ainsworth / Isla Craig / Allie / New Chance / LUKA / Nailbiter / Petra Glynt / Mitchell Akiyama / Great Death / LAL / Blunt Chunks / Egyptrixx) / The Great Hall 2015-12-12 (Saturday – all ages!) [FB event]

Mexican Knives (Beach Fox / Dirty Safes / Cupcake Ductape) / Handlebar 2015-12-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

Drew McDowall (Coarse Language / Brigitte Bardon't) / 8-Eleven 2015-12-12 (Saturday) [FB event]

Kith & Kin's Holiday Wassail / The Music Gallery 2015-12-13 (Sunday – all ages! family friendly!) [FB event]

Byron Westbrook (Dirty Inputs / Fleshtone Aura / Germaine Liu) / Ratio 2015-12-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

Fresh Flesh (CHOBO / Cirroo / Ghost People) / Handlebar 2015-12-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There's Second Sunday Series (feat. COBRA / Temporary Ensembles) / Array Space 2015-12-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

Hannah Epperson (Omhouse) / Holy Oak Café 2015-12-13 (Sunday) [FB event]

Lina Allemano Four / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-13 (Sunday)


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!

Ken Aldcroft/Mike Gennaro (Nicolas Bulligan) / Musideum 2015-12-15 (Tuesday)

Songs For Syria: A Holiday Benefit Show (feat. Prince Innocence / Ice Cream / Whimm / E Adi / The Seams) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-12-17 (Thursday) [FB event]

Sistering Fundraiser (feat. New Fries / Mick Futures / Teenanger / Tonkapuma) / Monarch Tavern 2015-12-18 (Friday) [FB event]

This Ryan Driver Band (Fiver [solo]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

First Base (Mother's Children / Century Palm) / Handlebar 2015-12-19 (Saturday) [FB event]

HSY (Germaphobes / Bile Sister) / 8-Eleven 2015-12-20 (Sunday) [FB event]

Jennifer Castle (Fiver / Damian Rogers) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-12-21 (Monday) [more info]

Wintergrace: A seasonal tribute to Jean Ritchie and Leadbelly (feat. Kith & Kin with Sean Donald, Max Kelly, Frank Griggs and other special guests) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-12-22 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Simply Saucer (Poppyseed & The Love Explosion / Laughing Apples) / The Garrison 2015-12-30 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Wavelength 685: New Year's Eve (feat. MATROX / Maylee Todd / The Holy Gasp / Delta Will / Man Made Hill) / Markham House City Building Lab 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

The Big Sound: 2nd Annual New Year's Celebration / Mod Club Theatre 2015-12-31 (Thursday) [FB event]

Class of 2016 #2 (feat. PONY / Bueller / Bond Girls / GIRLonGIRL) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-01-08 (Friday) [FB event]

Class of 2016 #3 (feat. Fake Palms / Smokes / Kurt Marble / Casper Skulls / Pins & Needles) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-01-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Darlene Shrugg (Comet Control / Century Palm) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-01-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Class of 2016 #4 (feat. GABI / ANAMAI / Taste / Rolemodel / Wild Rivers) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-01-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Wavelength 686: Class of 2016 #5 (feat. Elliott Vincent Jones / Nailbiter / Germaphobes / Scott Hardware / West Nile) / The Silver Dollar Room 2016-01-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Recording: Doomsquad

Artist: Doomsquad

Song: Genet Drone in B Minor [excerpt]

Recorded at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #9), December 1, 2015.

Doomsquad - Genet Drone in B Minor [excerpt]

When I started Track Could Bend back in springtime, I made a list of bands that I wanted to hear freed from the constraints of their regular setlists and given a chance to experiment on stage a bit. Doomsquad were one of the groups at the top of my list — I'd seen them push their boundaries a few times before. There's no reason for a band that's been busy on tour and filling larger venues to come play my little series, so I was happily surprised at the enthusiasm that the Blumas siblings brought to the proceedings.

Armed with a loosely-structured improvisation based on readings from Jean Genet's The Balcony, this moved from a shimmering new-age drone to a simmering sit-down groove — and created a wonderfully unexpected text-based throughline for the night, echoing the Burroughs cut-and-paste set from Rub Out The Word.

[The next Track Could Bend will be at Dundas Video on Tuesday, January 5th — more info coming soon!]

Recording: New Chance

Artist: New Chance

Song: unknown track, live remix [edit]*

Recorded at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #9), December 1, 2015.

New Chance - unknown track, live remix [edit]

Given a chance to mix things up from her usual set, Victoria Cheong brought out a some different gear and presented a live remix of some of her own tracks, cutting together segments old and new from her deeep beats collection.

[The next Track Could Bend will be at Dundas Video on Tuesday, January 5th — more info coming soon!]

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

Recording: Rub Out The Word

Artist: The Penny Arcade Peep Show [text by William S. Burroughs] + Cut Up Stew

Songs:

Recorded at Dundas Video (Track Could Bend #9), December 1, 2015.

Rub Out The Word - The Penny Arcade Peep Show

Rub Out The Word - Cut Up Stew

When it made its debut, Glen Hall's Rub Out Out the Word project – conceptualized as a centenary tribute to William S. Burroughs — was a large-scale affair, with an eight-piece band and live-mixed visuals. This electroacoustic version stripped things down, with Hall on laptop and sax joined by Matt Miller (laptop + MIDI keyb) and Ted Phillips (cataRT synthesis) — plus the presence of Burroughs represented by Ron Gaskin's narration, facing the musicians as if subject to some sort of bureaucratic tribunal.

This gave a lot of different ways to cut up and reintegrate the source material, from the spoken word heard here in "Penny Arcade", to a immersive sound-trip to a Moroccan marketplace to the cut-up stew that shows the band's musical talents. (On the latter piece, Phillips' cataRT is responding in realtime to the other musicians by drawing from a collection of microsamples that include some Burroughs mutters as well as a few fragments of "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" and some shortwave noises.)

[The next Track Could Bend will be at Dundas Video on Tuesday, January 5th — more info coming soon!]

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Recording: Les Mouches

Artist: Les Mouches

Songs: Carload of Whatever + Winter = Dead Time*

Recorded at Double Double Land, November 30, 2015.

Les Mouches - Carload of Whatever

Les Mouches - Winter = Dead Time

Les Mouches is rather an odd band, with spindly, delicate finger-picked guitar figures suddenly giving way to panic attack noise outbursts and melodramatic pop confessions exploding into emotive shouts. All three of its members would go on to create bodies of fascinating music, but it's Owen Pallett's subsequent emergence as some manner of pop star that made the band an ongoing curiosity beyond the circle of Torontopia/Blocks Music Club enthusiasts. That interest has been stoked again with Warren Hildebrand (of Foxes in Fiction) re-issuing the band's You're Worth More To Me Than 1​,​000 Christians on his Orchid Tapes label. (Like all Orchid Tapes releases, you can grab it over at the Orchid Tapes bandcamp on a "name your price" basis.)

For a band that never toured (and barely played outside Toronto) it might make sense that the "release party" for the reissue came at this "secret" Orchid Tapes showcase at the rather-intimate Double Double Land. The fact that they played a well-rehearsed full-length set (including previously-unheard material, like the latter song here) might be a sign this wasn't meant as a one-off. And though Rob Gordon and Matt Smith are still working together as Pallet's backing unit on his solo material, the group seems pretty casual about the very idea of their re-emergence to dig out these youthful skeletons in their closets, so who's to say when there'll be another chance to see this material being performed?

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