Friday, March 24, 2017

Recording: Lîla Ensemble

Artist: Lîla Ensemble

Songs: [two excerpts]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Main Hall (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 2), February 25, 2017.

Lîla Ensemble - [excerpt 1]

Lîla Ensemble - [excerpt 2]

The festival's first afternoon show was focused on improvisation in movement and its relationship to music. This set from the Lîla Ensemble was nestled between a solo dance from Amelia Ehrhardt and a panel discussion on the topic. Although co-inspired improvising collaborations between dance and music aren't uncommon, Lîla takes things further than most by dissolving the musician/dancer separation. With the exception of dancer Jessica Houghton, everyone else in the ensemble's participation moved back and forth between playing and moving, creating a fluid and shifting dynamic.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Recording: Body Double

Artist: Body Double

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 1 late-night afterparty), February 24, 2017.

Body Double - unknown

Once again, the Somewhere There Music Festival offered an oasis of local creativity, tightly bundled into five events over three days. Leading off, as always, with a community member's reflections, the first show featured a talk from David Dacks on building relationships and finding a project's true purpose while striving to program forward-looking music. Healing Power was given the task of programming the late-night sets in the Southern Cross after things had wrapped up in the Main Hall, presenting the debut of this new collaboration between New Positions' Vic Cheong and Bile Sister's Julie Reich. There were elements of each of their bands' sounds in play here, in a set with a few already-polished gems (like this melodica-driven reggae number) alongside some tracks that felt more like works in progress. "Don't show me the rough cut, show me the final version," a sampled/looped conversation between the pair cheekily intoned between songs. That recorded banter was a repeating presence, making this feel like a glimpse into the pair's scrapbook, mindspace and practice space with chatter about identity and reality being processed into Bechdel-tested avant-pop.

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

Recording: Craig Dunsmuir and Dun-Dun Band

Artist: Craig Dunsmuir and Dun-Dun Band

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Tranzac's Main Hall (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 1), February 24, 2017.

Craig Dunsmuir and Dun-Dun Band - unknown

Once again, the Somewhere There Music Festival offered an oasis of local creativity, tightly bundled into five events over three days. Leading off, as always, with a community member's reflections, the first show featured a talk from David Dacks on building relationships and finding a project's true purpose while striving to program forward-looking music. Craig Dunsmuir's meticulously-patterned grooves once again were a standout, with the seven-piece band moving through a tasty set of polyrhythmic riffs. Brodie West was filling in on alto here for Karen Ng, adding a bit of his own sound to the mix.

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

Recording: Nick Fraser New Quartet

Artist: Nick Fraser New Quartet

Song: Sketch 43

Recorded at The Tranzac's Main Hall (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 1), February 24, 2017.

Nick Fraser New Quartet - Sketch 43

Once again, the Somewhere There Music Festival offered an oasis of local creativity, tightly bundled into five events over three days. Leading off, as always, with a community member's reflections, the first show featured a talk from David Dacks on building relationships and finding a project's true purpose while striving to program forward-looking music. From there, the music took over, with several sketches from Nick Fraser's quartet, which is maybe not "new" and certainly subject to some versatility in its lineup — though I had seen this same foursome at least once before. Tasty layers of sound, anchored by Fraser's percussive approaches ranging from sproingy spring ratchet sounds to abstract beat patter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recording: Phèdre

Artist: Phèdre

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 3), February 19, 2017.

Phèdre - unknown

The festival's last blast saw the stage stripped of the previous night's drumkit and stacks of amps — no surprise, as this was co-presented with Silent Shout, putting the accent on electronic rhythms and just a few dance grooves. Adding their own shiny foil and projections to the mix, Phèdre closed things out as if they were hosting their own post-apocalyptic guerrilla street party. Hinting at their next evolution, the pair brought out a series of rappers (Han Han, Casey Garcia, Arowbe and Lil Gae) to throw down on some new tracks, including an all-in posse cut. They had plenty fun when they were on their own, too, as this ode to Tinder suggests.

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

Recording: HanHan

Artist: HanHan

Song: Kailan Kaya

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 3), February 19, 2017.

HanHan - Kailan Kaya

The festival's last blast saw the stage stripped of the previous night's drumkit and stacks of amps — no surprise, as this was co-presented with Silent Shout, putting the accent on electronic rhythms and just a few dance grooves. After seeing HanHan take over the dancefloor at Long Winter, I had a bit of an idea what was in store for this set — though that made me all the more excited to watch her win over a crowd (who mostly didn't know her stuff) cheer her like a seasoned headliner by set's end. Again sharing space with a trio from the HATAW dance crew, this was a high-energy, closely-choreographed set that was a joy to behold. And HanHan's tracks have choruses that you can sing along to, even if you might have to wait 'til you get home to read up on her empowering lyrics.

Recording: Emay

Artist: Emay

Song: Bakkah: The History of Humankind

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 3), February 19, 2017.

Emay - Bakkah: The History of Humankind

The festival's last blast saw the stage stripped of the previous night's drumkit and stacks of amps — no surprise, as this was co-presented with Silent Shout, putting the accent on electronic rhythms and just a few dance grooves. This Hamiltonian producer + MC was the night's key discovery for me — I was taken with his cerebral flow right from the start, but when he dropped a Leonard Cohen sample I was fully convinced. Although there were some bip-bap rappity-rap tracks, Emay's main mode was more in the realm of woke sleepwalking, dropping rhymes with eyes closed as if he were dreaming the lyrics as he paced up and down the stage. As the track title here implies (and on the rest of his brand new Ilah album), he's got his mind on the macro, looking at the cosmic big-picture.

Recording: FIN

Artist: FIN

Song: Opula

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 3), February 19, 2017.

FIN - Opula

The festival's last blast saw the stage stripped of the previous night's drumkit and stacks of amps — no surprise, as this was co-presented with Silent Shout, putting the accent on electronic rhythms and just a few dance grooves. The open stage created more room for General Chaos' swirling visuals to stand out, and Rebecca "Fin" Simonetti (a savvy visual artist herself) worked with that, taking the stage all in white. Expatriated from the city, it's been a treat to see her back in town for a couple gigs lately and on this night she seemed to bring some extra energy to her tracks. They'll finally be getting a life off the stage as well, with the imminent release of Ice Pix.

Recording: Hush Pup

Artist: Hush Pup

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 3), February 19, 2017.

Hush Pup - unknown

The festival's last blast saw the stage stripped of the previous night's drumkit and stacks of amps — no surprise, as this was co-presented with Silent Shout, putting the accent on electronic rhythms and just a few dance grooves. With Hush Pup playing as a duo on this night there was some extra room on stage as well. That didn't throw the band off their pace as they shared their ethereal textures and 4AD dreams. The band's rhythms evoke more swaying than outright dancing but they're at their best when the songs lose all contact with terra firma and start to float skyward.

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Concert Listings Roundup #192

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:

Crosswires [series relaunch!] (feat. Baa / Good Conduct / Dave from Ghostlight) / The Baby G 2017-03-20 (Monday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Just showing up and being a little enthusiastic are two of the most profound and revolutionary things you can do — that's at the heart of the social gospel as taught by Doc Pickles, a longtime MC and show presenter as a part of Wavelength (in its "classic" era) and his own spin-off Crosswires. The series is fundamentally democratic from both sides of the stage — just PWYC and come hang out... then start a band and get up and play. This longtime labour of love is shifting over a night (Mondays are are new Sundays) and settling into a new home at The Baby G.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Riverrun / The Emmet Ray 2017-03-20 (Monday) [FB event]

Jab Band [Liam Mitro/Luan Phung/Chris Pruden/Matthew Chalmers/Julian Anderson-Bowes — "March Rexidency"] / The Rex Hotel 2017-03-21 (Tuesday – early set @ 6:30! PWYC!) [FB event]

Billy Moon (Fresh Snow / CO/NTRY / WHOOP-Szo) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2017-03-22 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Bellwether 4 / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-03-22 (Wednesday)

Ashkenaz Festival, Small World Music & Batuki Music present (feat. AvevA Dese / The Barnes/Woldemichael Ethiojazz Quartet) / Lula Lounge 2017-03-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

Artificial Sounds presents (feat. Schwefelgelb / Kontravoid) / Bambi's 2017-03-23 (Thursday) [FB event]

Paul Linklater and José Contreras / The Cameron House 2017-03-24 (Friday – early set @ 6 p.m.!) [FB event]

The Two Koreas (Not Of) / The Dakota Tavern 2017-03-24 (Friday – early show!) [FB event]

Long Winter 5.4 (feat. Deliluh / Leanne Simpson / Protruders / Doom Tickler / Bonnie Trash / Bunny / HEX / Midge / Clamaglamza / Joel Eel / Sistem) / Gladstone Hotel 2017-03-24 (Friday – all ages! PWYC!) [FB event]

Corrodesion presents: Audio Bleed (feat. Inchoate / Hybrid Frequency / Johan Seaton / Panic Engines) / Belljar Café 2017-03-24 (Friday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Zuze & Iva [folk-jazz ensemble merging Iranian melodies and afrobeat rhythms meets Rankin Inlet throat singer] / Small World Music Centre 2017-03-24 (Friday) [FB event]

Faster Presents: Spring Sounds (feat. Heraclitus Akimbo / Faster / Deenzi) / Gerrard Art Space 2017-03-25 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Continuum Contemporary Music: PIVOT [new music from emerging composers Rebecca Bruton, Maxime Corbeil-Perron, Juro Kim Feliz, Beavan Flanagan, Evelin Ramon, Bekah Simms, Cindy Chen] / The Music Gallery 2017-03-25 (Saturday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Kristian North Group (Fountain / Man Made Hill / Greydini) / The Baby G 2017-03-25 (Saturday) [FB event]

Fire in Heaven: Label Launch (feat. Jay Holy / BABEL / Bodies That Matter / Man Meets Bear / David Jones / YlangYlang) / Array Space 2017-03-25 (Saturday – PWYC! all ages!)POSTPONED![FB event]

The Courtneys (Jay Som) / The Garrison 2017-03-26 (Sunday) [FB event]

Toronto Creative Music Lab Fundraiser Launch Party (feat. Patchwork / Stereoscope) / Array Space 2017-03-26 (Sunday – PWYC!) [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!

Array Session #46 (feat. Nidus) / Array Space 2017-03-28 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [more info]

Piano Party #10 (feat. Tom Richards / Laura Barrett / Kat Goldma) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-03-29 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

ΔNZOLΔ / Pursuit Grooves / Josh Grant) / Handlebar 2017-03-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

Wearenotwhoweare (Ghostkeeper / Father Christmas / No Frills) / Monarch Tavern 2017-04-02 (Sunday) [FB event]

Crosswires (feat. Doc Pickles / Abigail Lapell / Chardon-Marie [members of Mean Red Spiders, Neck/Christiana, Soft Copy, Ghostlight]) / The Baby G 2017-04-03 (Monday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #25: Second Anniversary All-Star Spectacular! [past performers return for improvised "bands from a hat" sets!] (feat. Allison Cameron/Fae Sirois/Benjamin Hackman/Michael Lynn/Aaron Corbett/Neil Wiernik/Justin Haynes/Brian Abbott/Chris Adriaanse/Patrick O'Reilly/Ian McPhedran/Laura Swankey/Jesse Levine/Del Stephen/Mike Smith/someone's memory/Bryan W. Bray/Christine Bougie and more TBA!) / The Steady Café 2017-04-04 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Casey Mecija (Char Aragoza) / Drake Underground 2017-04-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Come Back Barbara (Slutcode / Groin Swivel) / Monarch Tavern 2017-04-07 (Friday) [FB event]

Owen Pallett / Longboat Hall 2017-04-08 (Saturday) [FB event]

Crossed Wires (Tough Age / Klarka Weinwurm / Protruders) / Monarch Tavern 2017-04-09 (Sunday) [FB event]

Crosswires (feat. Doc Pickles / Communism / Faiyaz and the Wasted Chances) / The Baby G 2017-04-10 (Monday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Tone Deaf Culture Presents: Toronto Noise #6 (feat. Cares / Rampancy / Lumi Krysztal / Aaron Corbet) / The Smiling Buddha (basement) 2017-04-12 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Fresh Flesh (Girls Rituals / Widdows95 / Valeroo) / The Steady Café 2017-04-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Colin Fisher/Victor Cirone (ZOË / James Beardmore/Jakob Rehlinger) / Saving Gigi 2017-04-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Jon Mckiel (Cousins) / Monarch Tavern 2017-04-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Music Gallery's Departures Series (feat. Peter Evans Ensemble / Sam Weinberg/Chris Welcome/Ben Bennett / Not The Wind, Not The Flag) / Array Space 2017-04-16 (Sunday) [FB event]

Small World Asian Music Series (feat. Upanishads) / Small World Music Centre 2017-04-16 (Sunday) [FB event]

Nailbiter (Cares/New Tendencies/Johan Seaton) / The Steady Café 2017-04-23 (Sunday) [FB event]

Suuns (Doomsquad / Peeling) / The Silver Dollar Room 2017-04-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Zoo Owl (Ghost Twin / Plazas / Loji) / Handlebar 2017-05-13 (Wednesday) [FB event]


Mixcloud corner:

  • This week's Drone Brunch mix has some profound drift in the middle, with Ann Southam's masterful "Seastill" and a response from its spiritual kin in No Colour Blue.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recording: North Atlantic Drift

Artist: North Atlantic Drift

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Gladstone Hotel's Melody Bar (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Drone Brunch), February 19, 2016.

North Atlantic Drift - [excerpt]

An interesting little sonic and social experiment offering a juxtaposition of the clatter of plates, the clink of cutlery and the murmurs of conversation with some ambient sounds. Watching the brunch crowd in their natural environment, there'd often be a moment of realization a minute or two after they sat down that there was live music being performed on stage. It all seemed to fit together into a reasonably cozy zone. Seguing seamlessly in from the previous set, North Atlantic Drift mapped some icy Eno-esque seas of before slipping into more of a Vangelis zone, as if the brunch crowd were stopping into Blade Runner's Los Angeles 2019 for their eggs benny.

[You could expect some drone-drifty sounds (and less background chatter!) at Wavelength's Don't Speak II show, this Saturday (March 18th) at The Baby G. Performances from Kyle Bobby Dunn, Off World, Bomb & Body and Zone Support in an environment where talking is forbidden.]

Recording: Kat Estacio

Artist: Kat Estacio

Song: [edited excerpt]

Recorded at The Gladstone Hotel's Melody Bar (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Drone Brunch), February 19, 2016.

Kat Estacio - [edited excerpt]

An interesting little sonic and social experiment offering a juxtaposition of the clatter of plates, the clink of cutlery and the murmurs of conversation with some ambient sounds. Watching the brunch crowd in their natural environment, there'd often be a moment of realization a minute or two after they sat down that there was live music being performed on stage. It all seemed to fit together into a reasonably cozy zone. Kat Estacio (also of Pantayo) played first, mixing MIDI sounds with some kulintang gongs — as well as some curls of quiet feedback seeping in from the mics. That might have given the set a slightly different timbre than originally intended, but it helped to give it the feeling of a warm, fuzzy sound-blanket.

[You could expect some drone-drifty sounds (and less background chatter!) at Wavelength's Don't Speak II show, this Saturday (March 18th) at The Baby G. Performances from Kyle Bobby Dunn, Off World, Bomb & Body and Zone Support in an environment where talking is forbidden.]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Recording: Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys

Artist: Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys

Songs: Wanted + Farther*

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 2), February 18, 2017.

Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys - Wanted

Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys - Farther

Without the inexpensive energy-drink RSVP crowd jamming the place early on (and the return of General Chaos' swirling lights) this felt like a proper Wavelength. Programming-wise, this was the "rock" night, giving things a proper Saturday night feel. This collaboration between Julie Doiron, the Cancer Bats' rhythm section and Eamon McGrath has been a part-time affair for five years now, so it's exciting to see it entering a new phase. Retreating to collaborate on some new songs, there's now an album in the can and the band was eager to showcase them in this set. That lead to some new elements — more than just Doiron's songs being covered with an extra dollop of heaviness, there were signs of a group dynamic emerging. Joking that she was jacked up on Altoids and lozenges, Doiron embraced the raw punk fury of these songs. With a fully-stocked merch table and everything, there's apparently more to look forward to, whenever this album makes its way out into the world.

* These were gleaned from the setlist, so they may be partial or temporary titles — I will update as more clarity emerges.

Recording: Fake Palms

Artist: Fake Palms

Song: unknown*

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 2), February 18, 2017.

Fake Palms - unknown

Without the inexpensive energy-drink RSVP crowd jamming the place early on (and the return of General Chaos' swirling lights) this felt like a proper Wavelength. Programming-wise, this was the "rock" night, giving things a proper Saturday night feel. Now with an EP to go along with their debut album, Fake Palms were a little evolved and streamlined since I last saw 'em. Still working more in the terrain of dynamics than hooks, things are nevertheless a bit more pulled apart — that means there's a bit of room to explore in these sonic rooms, even if the walls still come at you with the force of an onslaught of sound.

[Fake Palms will be playing the last night at the Silver Dollar on Sunday, April 30th with METZ and New Fries.]

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

Recording: FET.NAT

Artist: FET.NAT

Song: Caquette

Recorded at The Garrison (Wavelength SEVENTEEN – Night 2), February 18, 2017.

FET.NAT - Caquette

Without the inexpensive energy-drink RSVP crowd jamming the place early on (and the return of General Chaos' swirling lights) this felt like a proper Wavelength. Programming-wise, this was the "rock" night, giving things a proper Saturday night feel. I'd been told the past few times that Hull's FET.NAT were in town that they were a band one simply had to catch live, and this first exposure proved that to be the case. Clearly an unknown quality to most of the crowd, they elicited headliner-level approval by the end of their relentlessly-entertaining set. With no wave sax spatters, mousetrap bass grooves and catscratch guitar, this had plenty hints of the agitated funk tradition of groups like The Contortions. The selling point as a stage spectacle was the agitated collection of gesticulations from monsieur J-F No, a frontman with the right sense of absurdity (and what we might call un soupçon du jambon) gleefully mocking the band and the crowd, all while marshalling them with a series of Wile E. Coyote-esque signs and occasional bullhorn interventions.