Friday, April 17, 2015

Recording: Jale (almost)

Artist: Laura Stein, Jennifer Pierce, Mike Belitisky, Michael McKenzie (with Joe Pernice and Norman Blake)

Songs: All Ready + Sign of Life + Promise [Jale covers]

Recorded at The Dakota Tavern, April 10, 2015.

Laura Stein, Jennifer Pierce, Mike Belitisky, Michael McKenzie - All Ready

Laura Stein, Jennifer Pierce, Mike Belitisky, Michael McKenzie - Sign of Life

Laura Stein, Jennifer Pierce, Mike Belitisky, Michael McKenzie - Promise

Something quite awesome came up in the middle of this Joe Pernice/Norman Blake gig, when Pernice invited his wife Laura Stein along with Jennifer Pierce onto the stage. With Sadies/New Mendicants drummer Mike Belitsky already playing, suddenly three-quarters of great Can-indie band Jale were together on stage.1 This might not be a big deal to everyone, but it was quite surely a Big Deal to a few folks of the right age. When they hit the first few notes of "All Ready", my heart melted, and for the next ten minutes it felt almost like I was back at the West End Cultural Centre in '95 (where I indeed saw the band play a pretty excellent set alongside The Inbreds and Superfriendz). Michael McKenzie is adding the lead-guitar power here, and Pernice and Blake were along for moral support, except for on "Promise", where they both stepped off the stage to head over to the bar.

[No guarantees that there will be more of this on offer, but the very excellent Joe Pernice/Norman Blake residency continues tonight (April 17th) at the Dakota as well as next week (April 24th). Pernice did mention that they were trying to put together another show "with this lineup" some time in September, so Jale fans should keep their eyes open.]

1 Didacticists would not be wrong to note that this was, more precisely, a reunion of The Vees.

Recording: Joe Pernice & Norman Blake

Artist: Joe Pernice & Norman Blake

Songs: Dark and Lonely Night + Sarasota [feat. Bob Pernice]

Recorded at The Dakota Tavern, April 10, 2015.

Joe Pernice & Norman Blake - Dark and Lonely Night

Joe Pernice & Norman Blake - Sarasota

When Joe Pernice and Norman Blake announced a weekly residency (every Friday this month), I presumed it would be something quite like their previous New Mendicants gigs at The Dakota — casual, acoustic sit-down affairs, with the pair trading off songs and stories, and with the whole thing wrapping up early enough that Pernice could still catch the last few innings of the Red Sox game. And, indeed, the first of two sets on this night did follow that template, before some increased rockin' out took over for the second. Backed by guitarist Michael McKenzie and Sadies drummer Mike Belitisky, Joe's brother Bob Pernice had also come up for the evening, and popped on and off stage to add guitar and vox (and in the case of "Sarasota", synth-string effects from an iPad app) as well as some brotherly give-and-take. That led to a fairly delightful mix of tunes, some nifty cover choices (Tom T. Hall!) as well as a mini-Jale reunion. (!!) It's pretty staggering to think one can just drop in and see such a wonderfully casual show as this, like hanging out in a friend's basement as they bash out song after song (but they just happen to be, like, Pernice Brothers and Teenage Fanclub songs).

[The Joe Pernice/Norman Blake residency continues tonight (April 17th) at the Dakota as well as next week (April 24th).]

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recording: The Lonely Parade

Artist: The Lonely Parade

Song: Stomach

Recorded at Junction City Music Hall, April 9, 2015.

The Lonely Parade - Stomach

This Peterborough trio has managed to elevate their performance a little every time I've seen 'em, and there are indications that they're becoming increasingly confident in exploring the unique jangle'n'crunch style they're carving out for themselves. Those songwriting and musical chops are also on display in their recent Splenda Thief EP. In town to back Nick Ferrio (and showing some additional musical flexibility), their own set after was a fully satisfying end to the night.

Recording: Nick Ferrio and The Lonely Parade

Artist: Nick Ferrio and The Lonely Parade

Song: My Friend the Soothsayer

Recorded at Junction City Music Hall, April 9, 2015.

Nick Ferrio and The Lonely Parade - My Friend the Soothsayer

I hadn't been out yet to the Junction City Music Hall, but the basement venue has a casual and intimate vibe that makes it worth revisiting. (But why did no one warn me to bring a pocket full of quarters for the Galaga machine down there amongst the vintage video games and pinball machines?)

I was on the scene to check out this team-up from two of Peterborough's most-notable musical exports, which saw The Lonely Parade acting as Nick Ferrio's backing band. Practising together for the past couple months, this pairing sounded pretty good on their first formal show together, and having a full-on rock unit behind him led to some beefed-up arrangements, as well as inspiring Ferrio to pen this brand-new tune to take advantage of the added crunch the band could offer. They also throttled back enough not to spoil the prettiness of Ferrio's more soulful tunes, many of which will be emerging on the forthcoming Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs, out on May 28th. (Keep an eye out for word of a return engagement to celebrate that release.)

Recording: L CON

Artist: L CON

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Junction City Music Hall, April 9, 2015.

L CON - unknown

Ever the gracious host, Lisa Conway bumped herself down to the opening slot at this gig to give space to some Peterborough friends stopping in town before the whole crew would head on to Guelph the next night to play the Kazoo festival. That made this a chance to test out a new alignment for her long-simmering L CON project. Not only was there a whole set of new material, but the presentation has gotten a little bolder in a trio format that sees Conway playing alongside Andrew Collins (also of Skeletones Four) and Mary Wood, who all variously shared duties on keybs, guit, bass and drum machine.

Conway's ballads are now being re-imagined even more daringly than before, with tracks such as this one edging into minimalist postpunk/disco territory. Of course, Conway's song-world still operates in geological time — this tune asks "what's another two million years?" and the one that followed it upped the ante by musing about 500 million years — time enough to float in the black primordial seas and watch the fish swim by, eyeing you warily. (Slicing those eons into more manageable chunks, expect a new 7" to emerge this summer.)

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Recording: Sir Richard Bishop

Artist: Sir Richard Bishop

Songs: Let It Come Down + unknown*

Recorded at Ratio, April 8, 2015.

Sir Richard Bishop - Let It Come Down

Sir Richard Bishop - unknown

Invocation TO's Jay Pollard had brought Richard Bishop to Geary Lane a few months back, but this return visit was a little more scaled down in several dimensions. Playing a cozier space made sense as Bishop was playing a small-bodied nineteenth-century parlour guitar, and the bulk of the set was given over to the delicate beauty of the semi-improvised pieces that made in onto vinyl with his recent Tangier Sessions album. His masterful guitar technique is accentuated here by some wonderfully-subtle sonic extensions from his pedals. Along the way, there was even time to dip back for a couple ribald singalongs from the Sun City Girls catalogue.

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

Recording: Robert Millis

Artist: Robert Millis

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Ratio, April 8, 2015.

Robert Millis - unknown

Robert Millis is known for his work with Climax Golden Twins and AFCGT, as well as archivist work with Sublime Frequencies and Dust to Digital. On this tour, his job was to set the stage musically for Sir Richard Bishop (and well as serving as straight man/designated heckler during the headlining set). He did a number of atmospherically-folky numbers, but this one — one of a pair of more expansive instrumental pieces Millis performed — managed to feel almost as much like a travelogue as the tunes, or even the snapshots-from-Asia film that screened to open the night.

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

Recording: Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro

Artist: Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro

Song: [second piece]

Recorded at Ratio, April 8, 2015.

Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro - [second piece]

This night at Ratio was centred around Sir Richard Bishop's set on his nineteenth-century parlour guitar, but instead of taking the easy road to match that with someone in a similar musical vein, Invocation TO's Jay Pollard instead made a smart lateral move to bring in this duo who instead related in the intensity and craftiness of their improvising spirit. For those keeping track at home, Fisher is playing tenor on this track.

[This duo will be playing again on Friday night in the cozy Musideum space.]

Monday, April 13, 2015

Concert Listings Roundup #92

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:

Biblical (PANIC / Overnight) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

A simply monstrous rock juggernaut. The night's openers might not have name recognition, but they're full of veteran hands. Overnight extends the work that Carla and Lynette Gillis (ex-Plumtree) were pursuing a couple years ago in Sister, but pushes that band's heavy undertones up to the surface. Panic, fronted by Simon Oates (ex-No No Zero) haven't played much live yet, but this group of vets already has an excellent album under their belt and hit like The Cramps on bad acid. And Biblical are turning things up to eleven, metaphorically speaking, with recent tour fill-in Jordan Howard sticking with the band to form a three-headed guitar attack up front. Start practising your Devil Horns now.

This week's noteworthy shows:

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-14 (Tuesday – early!)

Audiopollination #29.1 (feat. Heidi Chan/Jamie Thompson / Brian Abbot/James Bailey / Kayla Milmine/Conrad Gale / Tomasz Krakowiak/Holger Schoorl) / Array Space 2015-04-14 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Moon King [album release!] (Lee Paradise / Blunt Chunks) / Smiling Buddha 2015-04-14 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Bedroom / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-14 (Tuesday)

The Mike Smith Company: Live and Love Amongst the Transcombobulants / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-15 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

Paul-Julien Tanti (Jesse Levine) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Peach Kelli Pop (The Lord Almightys / Total Love) / Smiling Buddha 2015-04-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Jared Brown (TV Sets) / Handlebar 2015-04-15 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Boring, Formless Nonsense: Experimental Music and the Aesthetics of Failure (feat. lecture by eldritch Priest / performace of "The Brown Study") / Array Space 2015-04-16 (Thursday – PWYC!) [more info]

PPOP Presents (feat. Hector's Pets / Legato Vipers / Marvelous Mark / King Creep) / Johnny Jackson 2015-04-16 (Thursday) [FB event]

Norman Blake, Joe Pernice and Guests [April residency!] / Dakota Tavern 2015-04-17 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

Dust: The Quietest Big Band in the Known World / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-17 (Friday – early!)

Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro (The Brian Abbott Trio) / Musideum 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Mermaids (John Mark Sherlock/ Martin Arnold) / Ratio 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Sous le soleil (films by Man Ray, Georges Méliès, Marcel Duchamp with live soundtrack by Andrew Downing/Kevin Turcotte/William Carn/Peter Lutek/Joe Phillips/Aleksandar Gajic/David Occhipinti) / Théâtre de l'Alliance francaise Toronto 2015-04-17 (Friday) [more info]

Champion Lover (Several Futures / The Two Koreas / Kurt Marble) / Magpie Taproom 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Steam Whistle Unsigned (feat. Dilly Dally / Teenanger / Most People) / Steam Whistle Brewing 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Holy Oak's 6th Anniversary (feat. April Snow & The Musicologists [Thom Gill/Johnny Spence/Bram Gielen/Kieran Adams] / "secret guest performance") / Holy Oak Café 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper and The Lipliners / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Dirty Frigs (Birds of Paradise / Sunshine & The Blue Moon / Katelyn Molgard) / The Silver Dollar Room 2015-04-17 (Friday) [FB event]

Record Store Day 2015 (feat. Comet Control / Mimico / Harrison / Anamai / Carl Didur) / Sonic Boom 2015-04-18 (Saturday – free all-day in-store performances! bands start at 2 p.m.!) [FB event]

Contact Contemporary Music: Professor Bad Trip (The Michael Eckert Large Earth Ensemble) / The Music Gallery 2015-04-18 (Saturday) [more info]

Record Store Day Afterparty (feat. Soupcans / Mmm Mmm [Sexy Merlin/Man Made Hill] / "Secret Special Guest") / 8-Eleven 2015-04-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

PPOP Presents (Not Of [record release!] / Nice Head) / Magpie Taproom 2015-04-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

Tsehaye Yohannes (Tewodros Tadesse / Daniel Nebiat) / The Opera House 2015-04-18 (Saturday) [more info]

NOISE: Toronto Noise Showcase (feat. Processor / Knurl / Cantenac Dagar / All Girl Knife Fight) / Double Double Land 2015-04-18 (Saturday) [FB event]

Alaniaris / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-19 (Sunday – afternoon set! 3 to 5 p.m.!)

Audiopollination #29.2 (feat. John Oswald/John Kamevaar/Germaine Liu / Michael Snow/Paul Dutton/Glen Hall/Mani Mazinani / CCMC) / Array Space 2015-04-19 (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!

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Craig Pedersen Quartet / Ali Berkok) / Musideum 2015-04-21 (Tuesday) [FB event]

THE AMBiENT PiNG (feat. iderdown + NAW + JFM) / Ratio 2015-04-21 (Tuesday) [more info]

Loom (Isla Craig) / Holy Oak Café 2015-04-22 (Wednesday) [FB event]

PPOP Presents (feat. Outtacontroller / Pink Wine / Make No Gains / Big Jrs.) / Johnny Jackson 2015-04-24 (Friday) [FB event]

HPR presents (feat. Spawn of Phil / Brian Schirk) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-04-29 (Wednesday) [FB event]

PPOP Presents (feat. HRRR / M. Mucci / BABEL) / Johnny Jackson 2015-04-30 (Thursday) [FB event]

TMT Trio (David Occhipinti [solo]) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2015-05-01 (Friday) [FB event]

Feast In The East: 4 Year Anniversary (feat. The Soupcans / Steve Kado / My Suitor / Eucalyptus) / Jam Factory 2015-05-02 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Blow (Anna Oxygen) / The Garrison 2015-05-03 (Sunday) [FB event]

Wavelength 657 (feat. Memorex / Coarse Language / Schønsee) / 8-Eleven 2015-05-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Final Blocks Concert (feat. Nifty / Austra / The Barcelona Pavilion [2002-2004 Lineup] / Bob Wiseman / The Phonemes [Full Band] / Hank / Matias / Ninja High School / Les Mouches) / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2015-05-09 (Saturday) [FB event]

Army Girls (Crushed Out) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-05-13 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Pedram Khavarzamini (Shawn Mativetsky) / The Music Gallery 2015-05-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Charlotte Cornfield (Matthew Bailey) / Burdock Music Hall 2015-05-28 (Thursday) [FB event]

N.213's Group Vision (Tough Age / Eyeballs) / 8-Eleven 2015-05-30 (Saturday) [FB event]

Public Animal (Eamon McGrath) / 3030 2015-05-30 (Saturday – free!) [FB event]

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Recording: Russ Strutt

Artist: Russ Strutt

Songs: Sunshine of Your Love [Cream cover] + Silver Wings [Merle Haggard cover]

Recorded at Rising Star Studios, sometime in 2006.

Russ Strutt - Sunshine of Your Love

Russ Strutt - Silver Wings

My father died yesterday.

Perhaps one isn't supposed to admit it, but we weren't as close as a father and son are supposed to be. ("were supposed to be". Not used to that yet.) There was Family Stuff, and from the time I was in university there was about a decade I wasn't in touch. It was one of those turning-thirty things, maybe, that I decided to call him up one day. Or maybe just a sense if I didn't talk to him and missed my chance, I'd regret it. So although things weren't storybook perfect, we did have an adult relationship. And we mostly bonded over music.

Russ had a bit of a wandering spirit and wasn't the sort of person who wanted to live in one place for too long. After he retired, he spent his winters down in Terlingua, a dusty desert town in southwest Texas. He'd been a casual guitar player for most of his life, but he took it up more seriously down there, eventually holding down nights in local cantinas mostly playing old country songs, and finding a community of friends to play music with.

When we reconnected, he had an RV out by the Thousand Islands and we hung out for an afternoon together. I'd taken up playing the guitar by then (another one of those turning-thirty things) and we played songs back and forth for each other. I thought it filled in an otherwise awkward gap, but for him it seemed to bring a level of happiness I couldn't really understand, or that I couldn't imagine my presence should justify.

We kept in touch after that, and he'd pass through town every year or so, travelling from one place to another on long highway journeys. He liked for us to play together, so that was a part of many of our visits. Once, in ought-and-six, when I was probably most into playing, I booked us some time at a rehearsal place out in Etobicoke I'd been to a few times and brought my friend J along.

These recordings come from that day, and though we tackled a bunch of songs in ramshackle style, these two stick out in my mind. I always thought of "Sunshine of Your Love" as my father's song more than as a pop artifact because I first heard it over and over from the basement of my childhood home as he cranked it out on his red Hagstrom electric. (And now I can laugh to hear him throw himself into the vocal with slurred-howling gusto, and just maybe find a tiny bit of pride in listening to myself almost keeping up on bass.) "Silver Wings" wasn't one of the songs that we'd planned ahead for, but at the end of the session when J. and I began packing up, Russ just spontaneously launched into it. I didn't have a tab to play along (which probably improves the recording) but at least I could sing on the refrain.

Russ liked to sit back and have a beer and pick the guitar. He liked the companionship of old dogs. He loved living under the open sky, whether at his property in Manitoba or down in Texas. He wasn't the best father; I certainly wasn't the best son. We tried, in our own ways. We both had the music in us.

I'm not a spiritualist or metaphysicist, so I can't say with honest conviction that I hope Russ is enjoying himself on a new journey (or hum to myself "I know there's a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I do / but it could be that the good Lord likes a little pickin' too" with more than a faint smile). I think that coincidences are just coincidences, but a week or so ago, I had the urge, for the first time in a while, to pick up my guitar. So at least I feel ready to face this event in a proper way. Sorry for imposing these half-coherent thoughts on you but this all just came out when I was thinking through things to myself. Now I have some songs to sing.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Recording: Jesse James Laderoute

Artist: Jesse James Laderoute

Song: [edited excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at April 7, 2015 at Johnny Jackson ("Track Could Bend #1").

Jesse James Laderoute - [edited excerpt from first piece]

One of the goals of this new series is to collapse some of the walls between the "improvised" and "rock" scenes, because sometimes people are actually playing similar music to different crowds — and sometimes musicians who should be seeing each other as peers just don't encounter each other. It was with that in mind that Jesse Laderoute (better known for his work in Young Mother and, more recently, Blonde Elvis) showed off his experimental side, bringing some Reich-ian repetitions and phone phreaking to close out the night. (Do note that this selection here reveals the heavy hand of the recordist, enfolding a chunk former within the latter section of the original.)

[Track Could Bend continues at Little Italy's Johnny Jackson on the first Tuesday of every month, with shows starting & ending early. The next one will be Tuesday, May 5th.]

Recording: Keith/Lynn/Vespaziani

Artist: Michael Keith/Michael Lynn/Bob Vespaziani

Song: [second piece]

Recorded at April 7, 2015 at Johnny Jackson ("Track Could Bend #1").

Michael Keith/Michael Lynn/Bob Vespaziani - [second piece]

There's a nice expansion here from the recent solo work that Michael Keith has been doing on his three-string baritone ukulele, with Michael Lynn (on double bass) and Bob Vespaziani (on cajón and percussion) adding a bit more musical momentum. Lots of invention and interplay at work, but also the feel that Keith was tapping into something much older — this sounds like it could have been played at someone's wedding in Persia a couple hundred years ago.

[Track Could Bend continues at Little Italy's Johnny Jackson on the first Tuesday of every month, with shows starting & ending early. The next one will be Tuesday, May 5th.]

Recording: Allison Cameron

Artist: Allison Cameron

Song: [excerpt from last section]

Recorded at April 7, 2015 at Johnny Jackson ("Track Could Bend #1").

Allison Cameron - [excerpt from last section]

A new night of sonic instability, this actually nestled into Johnny Jackson quite nicely, giving the audience a chance to lounge and relax in comfort, and take in some experimental music in hi-fi sound. Allison Cameron filled two tables with her mini-amps, speakers and electronic devices, spending the first part of her set adding banjo plucks to the hums and buzzes, then paying more focused attention to shaping the sonic sculpture. Taken from that latter section, this includes a recording of an ice cream truck (or merry go round?) that keeps bobbing above the soundwaves.

[Track Could Bend continues at Little Italy's Johnny Jackson on the first Tuesday of every month, with shows starting & ending early. The next one will be Tuesday, May 5th.]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Recording: I Am Robot and Proud

Artist: I Am Robot and Proud

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar ("Nite Comfort 20"), April 5, 2015.

I Am Robot and Proud - unknown

Shaw-Han Liem might have just released an album of full-band renditions of his electronic songs, but he's already busily working on the next phase of his solo work. Mixing his chipper odes with real-time processed visuals, he's creating a new form of visual music, with this show feeling like a showcase of someone mixing the vision of Norman McLaren with modern technology. It also functioned well as a live music experience, with room for things-going-wrong giving the proceedings an in-the-moment feeling.

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

Recording: dreamSTATE

Artist: dreamSTATE

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Handlebar ("Nite Comfort 20"), April 5, 2015.

dreamSTATE - unknown

Aaron Dawson is doing good work over at Handlebar on the first Sunday of every month with his Nite Comfort series, which brings together musicians from across the diverse spectrum of electronic music together in a casual performance environment. This edition saw two stalwarts of the local scenes take the stage, including ambient pioneers dreamSTATE, who have been performing together for nearly two decades (and are, in fact, curators of long-running live ambient showcase THE AMBiENT PiNG). Keeping on top of changing technology, their newest "album" Ephemeral City is, in fact, "an infinite ambient multimedia app" for iOS. Live, they covered a lot of ground, ranging from minimalist builds to Tangerine Dream grooves, showing an expert sense of momentum that kept things engaging throughout the performance.

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