Thursday, April 24, 2014

Download: Tropics 2009-04-24 [MFS #001]

On April 24, 2009, I took my newly-acquired microphones out "in the field" for the first time ever. Butterflies in my stomach, feeling awkward and conspicuous, I stood against a wall and tried to look casual as I hooked up my gear. By sheer chance, the first band that I would record would be Tropics, who were the openers at a Hive Dwellers/Chain and the Gang gig at the old Whippersnapper Gallery on College.

I'd come to enjoy the band more than the somewhat middling praise I offered at the time — and Tropics would be an example of the sort of band that I'm glad to have documented, as they were very much a "live" band whose recorded legacy would under-represent how much material they had.

Tropics - [last song]

This is not my best Tropics recording — it's very literally the sound of a guy figuring out how to use his gear. But I do know a bit more about processing audio now and after a few tweaks, it ain't half bad. And... it's the first. Now, on the fifth anniversary of this whole thing getting started, you can hear it for the first time ever. Grab it here:

Tropics - 2009-04-24 [MFS #001]

Tropics are no more, but their DNA is encoded in the new project Darlene Shrugg. Slim Twig is still Slim Twig. Simone TB can be seen performing with The Highest Order.

Thanks to Max T. for understanding the historical imperative here. At some point I'll have to figure out what my best Tropics recording is and post that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Recording: Planet Creature

Artist: Planet Creature

Song: Fuzzy Hair

Recorded at The Garrison's Front Room ("Swap, Don't Shop" fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp), April 6, 2014.

Planet Creature - Fuzzy Hair

Full review to follow. As always, the volunteers at Girls Rock Camp Toronto know how to throw a fundraiser — The Garrison was humming with a clothing swap in the back and cool bands in the front room. This one seemed busier than ever, and a real all-ages show with babies, kids, teens and adults hanging out together.

It's been a while since I've seen Planet Creature in action, but the time they've spent recharging has paid off in a set that was composed almost entirely of new material.

Recording: Patti Cake

Artist: Patti Cake

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Garrison's Front Room ("Swap, Don't Shop" fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp), April 6, 2014.

Patti Cake - unknown

Full review to follow. As always, the volunteers at Girls Rock Camp Toronto know how to throw a fundraiser — The Garrison was humming with a clothing swap in the back and cool bands in the front room. This one seemed busier than ever, and a real all-ages show with babies, kids, teens and adults hanging out together.

I reckon that everyone who sees Kritty Uranowski perform wants to be like her when they grow up, so I'm sure she made an impression on the former rock campers and assorted small fry in the crowd, many of whom she greeted by name. This is what it feels like to have rockstars integrated into your community.

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

Recording: Twist

Artist: Twist

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Garrison's Front Room ("Swap, Don't Shop" fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp), April 6, 2014.

Twist - unknown

Full review to follow. As always, the volunteers at Girls Rock Camp Toronto know how to throw a fundraiser — The Garrison was humming with a clothing swap in the back and cool bands in the front room. This one seemed busier than ever, and a real all-ages show with babies, kids, teens and adults hanging out together.

Laura Hermiston (also of The BB Guns) has been giving some glimpses of her bedroom pop confections for a little while now, but I hadn't had a chance to see how they come across live. It's a stripped-down presentation, but rather perfect for Sunday afternoon groovin' — and there's some ace tunes here. (The vocals for this one — total hit single, by the way — are a bit buried at the start, but they come around as the song goes on.)

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recording: Babysitter

Artist: Babysitter

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Jam Factory ("Feast In The East 36"), April 5, 2014.

Babysitter - unknown

Full review to follow. Exciting times for Feast in the East with the series' new digs winning excited praise from everyone I spoke to. Hanging over the DVP, The Jam Factory feels like a real hidden gem — off the beaten track but easy to get to, and more spacious than the Feast's last stop without feeling imposingly cavernous. Do not miss the next instalment, an anniversary special on Friday, May 2, with Petra Glynt, Mmm Mmm [Man Made Hill & Sexy Merlin] and New Fries.

Victoria freak punks Babysitter were the night's out-of-town guests, playing a fairly corrosive set of feeling-bad-feels-good scorchers.

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

Recording: Gay

Artist: Gay

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Jam Factory ("Feast In The East 36"), April 5, 2014.

Gay - unknown

Full review to follow. Exciting times for Feast in the East with the series' new digs winning excited praise from everyone I spoke to. Hanging over the DVP, The Jam Factory feels like a real hidden gem — off the beaten track but easy to get to, and more spacious than the Feast's last stop without feeling imposingly cavernous. Do not miss the next instalment, an anniversary special on Friday, May 2, with Petra Glynt, Mmm Mmm [Man Made Hill & Sexy Merlin] and New Fries.

Meanwhile, exciting times for local new wavers Gay as well, as they prepare to head over to the UK for a short tour.

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #41

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:

Silent Shout + Mechanical Forest Sound (feat. Lee Paradise [Dan Lee from Hooded Fang/Phèdre! Water Palace Kingdom release party!] / Lido Pimienta with Mas Aya / Jay Holy / B-17) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-04-25 (Saturday) [FB event]

Total conflict of interest with this recommendation, as I indeed had a hand in putting this show together. But while some folks might want to come out to celebrate both my birthday and my fifth anniversary of recording shows, it stands on its own as a kickass show.


This week's noteworthy shows:

The Good Family [April residency! Early show every Monday in April!] / The Dakota Tavern 2014-04-21 (Monday) [more info]

Christina Petrowska Quilico: Glass Houses Vol. 2 CD Launch / Canadian Music Centre 2014-04-22 (Tuesday – early! free with RSVP!) [more info]

"A Night of Old Songs" ["Martha Farquhar-McDonnell, Isla Craig, Sean Donald and Tyler Hnatuk sing and play traditional music from Ireland and Scotland"] / The Common 2014-04-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Holly Golightly (Dany Laj and the Looks / Freeman Dre & The Soup Kitchen) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-04-23 (Wednesday) [FB event]

catl [This Shakin' House LP Release Party!] (Bloodshot Bill / Mad Ones) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-04-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Wavelength 596: NICE [co-presented with Dalton Higgins] (feat. Complaints Dept / Most People / pHoenix Pagliacci / Ought) / Tattoo 2014-04-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Phèdre (VCR / Tremayne / Creep Highway) / Double Double Land 2014-04-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

S.M. (Stüka / New Positions / Smother) / Smiling Buddha 2014-04-24 (Thursday) [FB event]

Zones (Mystic Triangle / Beard Closet) / Holy Oak Café 2014-04-25 (Friday) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Quartet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-25 (Friday)

Lightmares [album release!]) (Walk North / Dead Broke / Finderskeepers / Ancient Peoples) / The Magpie Taproom 2014-04-25 (Friday) [FB event]

Sandro Perri / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-26 (Saturday)

Weaves [EP Release show! (Bizzarh / HSY / New Fries) / CineCycle 2014-04-26 (Saturday) [FB event]

Clarinet Panic Deluxx [EP Release!] (Keir Neuringer / CCMC) / Oz Studios 2014-04-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Crosswires (feat. Clara Engel [tape release of Ashes & Tangerines] / Totenbaum Träger / BABEL) / Handlebar 2014-04-27 (Sunday) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Lottery Tickets / Sorbara/Liu/Tielli/Segger) / Array Space 2014-04-27 (Sunday)


Add these to your calendar:

Lina Allemano/Rob Clutton/D. Alex Meeks / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-04-29 (Tuesday)

Wavelength 598: "M for..." (feat. Mozart's Sister / Mas Aya / Maicamia / Mannerisms / Moonwood) / The Garrison 2014-05-07 (Wednesday) [more info]

Aurochs (Ali Berkok [solo]) / 90 Wellesley 2014-05-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Kith & Kin's Spring Show / Church of St. Andrew by-the-Lake, Toronto Island 2014-05-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

The Final Crosswires (feat. Jim Storie Juniors / Bloody Narcissists / Underwater Landslides) / Handlebar 2014-05-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

CROSSS (Each Other / Gay) / The Smiling Buddha 2014-05-14 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Wavelength 599: "A Madcap Night of Royal Debauchery" (feat. Dilly Dally / The Sandy Pockets / Meeko Cheech / Gold Pony / The Julee Cruise Ships) / Handlebar 2014-05-17 (Saturday) [FB event]

Moon King (U.S. Girls / Petra Glynt) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-06-07 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Hidden Cameras / Luminato Festival Hub at David Pecaut Square 2014-06-08 (Sunday – free! matinée!) [more info]

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Recording: Continuum, Array and Guests

Artist: Continuum's Ensemble with The Array Ensemble and Guests

Song: Babbitt [excerpt] (Composer: Michael Oesterle)

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("Gaudeamus: Reconstructed"), April 4, 2014.

Continuum, Array and Guests - Babbitt [excerpt]

Full review to follow. The second night of the mini-festival in celebration of The Netherlands' Gaudeamus Muziekweek contrasted the previous night's improvisations by presenting works by a few composers — Dutch and Canadian — who have been associated with Gaudeamus in the past. To realize this vision, Continuum's ensemble was joined by The Array Ensemble as well as guests Michiel van Dijk, Koen Kaptijn, Nora Mulder, Rob MacDonald and Bas Wiegers. This piece from Michael Oesterle, as well as those from Louis Andriessen, Yannis Kyriakides and eldritch priest brought out a satisfying variety of textures.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recording: Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble

Artist: Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble

Song: All The Pieces That Ever Won Prizes at Gaudeamus in the Past 25 Years (Part I)

Recorded at The Music Gallery, April 3, 2014.

Gaudeamus Deconstructed Ensemble - All The Pieces That Ever Won Prizes at Gaudeamus in the Past 25 Years (Part I)

Full review to follow. Celebrating The Netherlands' famed Gaudeamus Muziekweek, several local new music groups worked together to curate this mini-festival, which brought two nights of concerts plus some spin-off daytime activities to the Music Gallery. The first night was a Dutch/Canadian improvisation summit, featuring visitors Michiel van Dijk, Koen Kaptijn and Nora Mulder alongside locals Nicole Rampersaud, Josh Cole, Rick Sacks and Allison Cameron. This structured "comprovisation" was contributed (and cheekily titled) by Cameron.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recording: The Living Daylight Stringband

Artist: The Living Daylight Stringband

Songs: I Fall On My Knees [Old Crow Medicine Show cover] + Johnson Gals

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, March 30, 2013.

The Living Daylight Stringband - I Fall On My Knees

The Living Daylight Stringband - Johnson Gals

Full review to follow. Try as I might, there's lots of music in this city that I just don't see that much of. I know there's a rich community of roots/old-timey music, and though I dig it it's just not something I get out to see very much. Good luck then to have this quartet on the bill alongside Simone Schmidt's new Flood & Pass project, giving me a chance to experience that simple magic of four voices gathered around a single microphone. It sounds timeless, but the band is working up a healthy songbook of their own material — and you can find them at the Holy Oak on the second Thursday of every month.

Recording: Flood & Pass

Artist: Flood & Pass

Songs: Turing's Farewell + You Were Good (I Was Good For a While)

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, March 30, 2013.

Flood & Pass - Turing's Farewell

Flood & Pass - You Were Good (I Was Good For a While)

Full review to follow. Although Simone Schmidt's idiom is somewhere in the vast terrain that includes "country" and "singer-songwriter", her m.o. and approach to collaboration is akin to improvisers and experimentalists, nimbly shifting from project to project to reflect the different dynamics that come with different musical partners. So here, then, we have one to add to the pile, with Schmidt trying out some new material alongside Phillips, whose solo project is called Stripmall Ballads. There's some obvious affinities here, including a lyrical worldview that gets inside the stories of the disenfranchised — Phillips presented one song called "Woman With A Black Eye". In town to record an album together, the pair also shared the stage at the Holy Oak, tossing back and forth the new collaborative songs as well as a few of their own tunes. Schmidt brought this requiem for Alan Turing, whose code-breaking heroics were swept aside in the condemnation of his queerness, while Philips' "You Were Good" was dedicated to Confederacy of Dunces author John Kennedy Toole.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recording: Toronto Homicide Squad

Artist: Toronto Homicide Squad

Song: Inflammation is the Enemy

Recorded at Bike Pirates ("Wavelength 592"), March 29, 2014.

Toronto Homicide Squad - Inflammation is the Enemy

Full review to follow. The friendly anarchy of DIY cycle repair space Bike Pirates was an entirely welcome space to host this Wavelength show, and the smell of oil lingering in the air and bike parts hanging from the walls (and tucked away in filing cabinets!) felt like a good match for the varying shades of musical brutalism deployed by the three noise duos on the bill. THS got things started with some harsh prog-bursts that set the tone for the night. [Mark May 20 down in your calendars and join them at Smiling Buddha for their Record Release/Tour Kick-Off show.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recording: Surinam

Artist: Surinam

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, March 28, 2014.

Surinam - unknown

Full review to follow. Plenty of simmering menace in this tune, which is delivered with the musical equivalent of a slow, pained lurch.

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

Recording: Dilly Dally

Artist: Dilly Dally

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room, March 28, 2014.

Dilly Dally - unknown

Full review to follow. Even though they're still playing rather short sets, as Dilly Dally gets more comfortable with their sound the songs are slowing down a bit and growing more distinct — but maybe the fact that the band is really on to something can be seen in the way that the Dollar suddenly went from empty-ish to full just before they took the stage.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recording: EAR-CAM

Artist: EAR-CAM

Song: [excerpt from first set]

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

EAR-CAM - [excerpt from first set]

Full review to follow. Regrouping after a ten-year hiatus, I was familiar with the individual members of this group, but not sure of what to expect from them as an ensemble. Composed of Christine Duncan and Nobuo Kubota (voices), John Oswald (alto sax), Tomasz Krakowiak (percussion) and Glen Hall (laptop, electronics, bass clarinet), this is by design a full-on free-form experience, with electronic textures giving a framework for the chatter of voices and saxophone to bubble (or babble?) along.

I don't know how long this ensemble is sticking together for this time around, but I see that they will be performing again on Thursday (April 17th) at Musideum.