Friday, November 28, 2014

Recording: The Ryan Driver Quintet

Artist: The Ryan Driver Quintet

Songs: Why Was I Born? [composer: Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein II] + Mood Indigo [composer: Duke Ellington/Barney Bigard/Irving Mills]

Recorded at Nuit Blanche @ TIFF Lightbox ("Jazz Age Cinema"), October 4, 2014.

The Ryan Driver Quintet - Why Was I Born?

The Ryan Driver Quintet - Mood Indigo

As I have the past few years, I avoided the crowds at Nuit Blanche by starting late and spending more time at fewer things. Ended up spending a good chunk o' time at the Lightbox, watching a fake bio of Vincent Price in between sets of The Ryan Driver Quartet providing accompaniment to silent films. I say "accompaniment" rather than "soundtrack" deliberately here, as they weren't playing to sync to specific actions onscreen so much as to provide an appropriate mood. Playing all night long from sundown to sunup, the unit was in quintet mode, with driver joined by Rob Clutton and Blake Howard's rhythm section plus Martin Arnold on guitar and Michael Davidson on vibes. The first selection here came during Joe May's melodramatic Asphalt, and contains some nifty guitar work from Arnold, using his metal water bottle as a slide; the latter came during Charlie Chase's Dog Shy, and you can hear the band's tiredness — this was around 5 a.m. — expressed in the extra-languid grooves.

[A slightly different configuration of the Quintet (with sax man Brodie West replacing Davidson, and with Mike Smith providing synth squiggles as a fill-in for Martin Arnold) plays the Tranzac tonight (Friday, November 28th).]

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Recording: DAS RAD

Artist: DAS RAD

Song: Radiator

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, October 4, 2014.

DAS RAD - Radiator

Congratulations to DAS RAD for successfully distilling their live intensity into the ace new Radiation album. This set at its release show ended, as the album does, with this near-title track — one last chance to climb up on the amps and crank the effects knobs to the max.

Recording: Toronto Homicide Squad

Artist: Toronto Homicide Squad

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, October 4, 2014.

Toronto Homicide Squad - unknown

On a night celebrating the release of DAS RAD's ace new Radiation album, the night's openers were mostly drawn from the "family" of Teen Tits Wild Wives and other bands associated with its members. Getting things ready for the headliners, Gideon Steinberg and Brandon Lim brought an intense dose of harsh prog — mediated, on this song, by a monster groove.

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

Recording: Teen Tits Wild Wives

Artist: Teen Tits Wild Wives

Song: [prog segue suite]*

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, October 4, 2014.

Teen Tits Wild Wives - [prog segue suite]

On a night celebrating the release of DAS RAD's ace new Radiation album, the night's openers were mostly drawn from the "family" of Teen Tits Wild Wives and other bands associated with its members. Perhaps everyone got enough chances to rage out in those other sets, as TTWW instead went inwards, devoting about half of their set to a different sort of loosely-structured abstraction than what they usually approach, filled with implied tension rather than extroverted release. This appears to be a near-final page in the TTWW story, as they have announced their next gig [Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at Smiling Buddha] as their final show.

* My notion is that this is a "proper" song that heads off into a jam. Anyone know the title(s) here? Please leave a comment!

Recording: Hangin' Tuff

Artist: Hangin' Tuff

Song: [full set]*

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, October 4, 2014.

Hangin' Tuff - [full set]

On a night celebrating the release of DAS RAD's ace new Radiation album, the night's openers were mostly drawn from the "family" of Teen Tits Wild Wives and other bands associated with its members. Woe to anyone taking a smoke break out front before things got started, as odds are they woulda missed the entire first set, which included five songs in less than five minutes from this junkcore unit. Scream, bash, and they're outta here. [The band has some similarly succinct soundbursts available on a tape, or over at their bandcamp.]

* Does anyone wanna take a shot at breaking this down + identifying the songs here? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Recording: Bruce Peninsula

Artist: Bruce Peninsula

Song: unknown*

Recorded at SPK Polish Combatants Hall ("Wavelength 620"), October 3, 2014.

Bruce Peninsula - unknown

Like Del Bel before them, Bruce Peninsula are gearing back into active status after time spent on various side-projects and life-endeavors. The seeds of a new album have been planted, but so far, only this song was deemed ready for public consumption. It leans a bit more towards the band's AOR side than their folk one — perhaps coming from the same impetus that had them cover Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" the previous time they played this room, when they released their first album back in '09.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment! For now, for sake of reference, I'll note that "Hear Me Calling" might be the obvious title.

Recording: Del Bel

Artist: Del Bel (feat. Bruce Peninsula)

Song: Sails of Gold

Recorded at SPK Polish Combatants Hall ("Wavelength 620"), October 3, 2014.

Del Bel - unknown

Though it's said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, Del Bel's return from a mini-hiatus was greeted with chatty indifference from the bulk of the crowd at this show. Their loss, as the band brought a whole bunch of tasty new material from their forthcoming sophomore album. Like the older stuff, it's metaphorically pitched somewhere between Lisa Conway's shy sorry-for-not-making-eye-contact demeanour and Ty Belluz's audacious belt buckle — slyly funky and subtly surging. A couple of the songs, including this one, featured several members of Bruce Peninsula on backing vocals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recording: The Draperies

Artist: The Draperies

Song: [excerpt]*

Recorded at Ratio, September 29, 2014.

The Draperies - [excerpt]

Full review to follow. Eric Chenaux, Ryan Driver and Doug Tielli have une histoire which stretches back quite a while, so even if their current state of trans-continental semi-hiatus has them playing together pretty infrequently, there's still an instant alchemy that arises when they play together. A Draperies set isn't quite tuneful in an easy, linear sense — it's more like an uncanny form of sonar that maps a funhouse mirror version of familiar terrain.

* So far as I know, this was an untitled improvisation. Please leave a comment in you know otherwise!

Recording: Allison Cameron

Artist: Allison Cameron

Song: Ratio [excerpt]*

Recorded at Ratio, September 29, 2014.

Allison Cameron - Ratio [excerpt]

Full review to follow. On a night where Draperies were presenting one of their infrequent sonic/topographic explorations, Allison Cameron was called upon to set the stage with some electroacoustic forays of her own. This set employed irregular fizzling background ticks against banjo plucks in a manner that she has worked in before, though here they were in a less structured, more exploratory vein. Later, she'd add a ribbon synth into the mix, both for some additional buzzing as well as a banjo slide to complete the map of an abstracted/refracted sonic terrain.

[Allison Cameron has a couple nifty gigs coming up: as part of a very interesting Feast in The East on Saturday, December 6th as well as creating a soundtrack to "an evening of live cinema" by Pedro Ferreira at MOCCA on Thursday, December 11th.]

* Allison has titled this performance in honour of the space it was created in — you can hear the whole thing over at her soundcloud.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #72

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


Gigs of the week:

Toy Piano Composers: To Be Announced 2 / Heliconian Hall 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble [Tangent CD Release!] (Joe Sorbara's "Wire Cutter Suite") / The Tranzac (Main Hall) 2014-11-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

Heaps of great rock shows this week, but I wouldn't want some other musics to get lost in the shuffle. At the forefront of the local DIY chamber music scene, Toy Piano Composers always create a welcoming environment at their affordable shows, and give a space for emerging composers to have their works heard. Also: buttons!

Meanwhile, Sunday sees an album release from Ken Aldcroft, who is both a crafty improviser on guitar as well as a canny composer. The Convergence Ensemble hews closer to the latter end of his spectrum, and the new Tangent (for Eric Dolphy) is an atmospheric suite with hints of jazzy noirishness curling in like fog around the corners. The night also sees the première of Joe Sorbara's "The Wire Cutter Suite", inspired by Charles Mingus.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Ronley Teper's Lipliners [Live Album Recording!] / The Piston 2014-11-23–2014-11-24 (Sunday–Monday) [FB event]

(de)Construction Quartet – a reconstruction [Rob Cutton/Rick Sacks/cheryl o/Michelangelo Iaffaldano/Steven Sauvé] / Musideum 2014-11-24 (Monday) [FB event]

Lina Allemano Four [live recording!] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-25 (Tuesday)

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Riverrun / Nomad Winds / Leland Whitty) / Ratio 2014-11-26 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The Besnard Lakes (CTZNSHP) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-11-26 (Wednesday) [more info]

Michael Keith (Colin Fisher) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-26 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Cellphone [Excellent Condition LP Release Party!] (Wrong Hole) / Double Double Land 2014-11-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Spencer Burton (EONS) / Rivoli 2014-11-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

HSY (Crosss / New Fries / Boyhood) / Smiling Buddha 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Mimico [7" split with Fresh Snow release!] (Twist [single release!] / Technical Kidman / Zones / Marriage) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Wavelength 628: NICE II (feat. Jazz Cartier / Wish / Plumes) / The Garrison 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966-1985 ["listening session, film screening, and live poetry from Duke Redbird"] / Double Double Land 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Quintet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Man Finds Fire Presents: Sound Seance III (feat. Evan Caminiti [of Barn Owl] / M.Mucci / Cetacea / Castle If) / Geary Lane 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Shawn William Clarke [William release party!] (The Young Novelists Duo) / Array Space 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Jordaan Mason (Clara Engel / A. Minster) / Kensington Lodge 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Hooded Fang (Milk Lines / Moss Lime) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Winter Blues Concert Series, Part 1 (feat. Our Founders / LUKA / Anamai) / Holy Oak Café 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [more info]

Feast of Story & Song (feat. Mary Margaret O'Hara & Jimmy Jones) / St. Andrew's By-the-Lake 2014-11-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

Swap, Don't Shop for Girls Rock Camp Toronto [clothing swap + afternoon show!] (feat. By Divine Right / HotKid / Terror Lake / Dirty Frigs) / The Garrison 2014-11-30 (Sunday – matinée! all ages!) [FB event]

Crosswires (feat. Walk North / Good Conduct / Bron Halpin) / Handlebar 2014-11-30 (Sunday) [FB event]

King Weather / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-30 (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!

Zoetic: Live Music Archives of Laura-Lynn Petrick (feat. photography exhibit + music by Sunshine & the Blue Moon / Jaunt / The Native Smokes) / Smiling Buddha 2014-12-04 (Thursday) [more info]

AGO First Thursdays: Long Winter Takeover (feat. The Hidden Cameras / New Fries / Mekele) / Art Gallery of Ontario 2014-12-04 (Thursday) [FB event]

Feast In The East 43 (feat. Steve Kado / Thin Edge New Music Collective performing Nick Storring & Andrew Zukerman / Allison Cameron / James Bailey) / Jam Factory 2014-12-06 (Saturday) [FB event]

Nicole Lizée [Bookburners CD launch!] / Canadian Music Centre 2014-12-12 (Friday – free!) [more info]

Long Winter: Year Three, Volume Two (feat. Sean Nicholas Savage / Army Girls / Animalia / Wrong Hole / Sean Conway / The Lonely Parade / Anti-Vibes / Wish / Man Made Hill / Iris / Audiopollination) / The Great Hall 2014-12-12 (Friday) [FB event]

Whimm [Craft Singles Release!] (Creep Highway / Lice / Coarse Language) / Smiling Buddha 2014-12-16 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Dirty Frigs (Twist / Bad Channels / Bile Sister) / Smiling Buddha 2014-12-17 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Blockspace II Presents: Pre-NYE Extravaganza/Offerings tape compilation release (feat. lavel fair + performances by Zacht Automaat / Zones / FIN / Doom Tickler / New Chance / Nick Storring / STÜKA / Stactor / Ludwig) / CineCycle 2014-12-30 (Tuesday) [FB event]

The Pop Group / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-03-14 (Saturday) [more info]

Six Organs of Admittance / The Horseshoe Tavern 2015-05-04 (Monday) [more info]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Recording: Pneuma Ensemble

Artist: Pneuma Ensemble

Song: Stella Splendens [traditional]

Recorded at June Records ("Cassette Store Day"), September 27, 2014.

Pneuma Ensemble - Stella Splendens

Full review to follow. Kudos to June Records for taking up the cause of Cassette Store Day, getting some local tapes up on their walls and hosting a day-long in-store celebration. I was only able to make the first set, but I was quite blown away by something quite unexpected.

Pneuma Ensemble is "a Toronto-based early music group focused on 11th-14th C. medieval monophony (such as troubadour song and minnesang) using historically informed performance and medieval instruments". We tend to think of medieval music and culture in monochromatic terms, so it's quite exciting to see it brought to life. The trio of Eleanor Verrette (vielle), Gaven Dianda (also of psych-rockers The Saffron Sect, gittern) and Tricia Postle (psaltery) were joined for this set by Andrew Zukerman and Ian Cheung on analog synths, adding an extra layer of drone and burble behind the sounds of this tune, which was taken from a 14th-century manuscript, that had originally been compiled "because the pilgrims wish to sing and dance while they keep their watch at night in the church of the Blessed Mary of Montserrat".

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recording: Bodies That Matter

Artist: Bodies That Matter*

Song: Dead Slow

Recorded at Holy Oak Café, September 26, 2014.

Bodies That Matter - Dead Slow

Full review to follow. Ian McPhedran, formerly of beloved local drone-rockers Ostrich Tuning, has re-emerged with this new project. So far a one man show, it's dedicated to "a celebration of the 60hz mains hum (that infests our very being) as interpreted through guitars and eight-twelve bit delay/samplers". For this initial outing, that was expressed through distorted beats and hazy vox — there's the outline of a unified sound here, with thin, almost sitar-like guitar tones riding on top of thick, sloggy rhythm tracks. That does mean at this early juncture that the songs sound a bit like versions of each other, but as McPhedran masters his new working arrangement, his sonic universe will expand accordingly. No further dates in the pineline at the moment, but there's a couple demos up on his soundcloud for now.

* A note on nomenclature: at the time of this gig, this project was billed as "St. Clair Kids", but shortly after it was reverted to this moniker.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recording: Brandee Younger

Artist: Brandee Younger

Song: Wax and Wane [composer: Dorothy Ashby]

Recorded at The Music Gallery, September 26, 2014.

Brandee Younger - Wax and Wane

Full review to follow. Superb programming by the Music Gallery crew to launch their season by introducing local crowds to NYC's Brandee Younger. Working in the tradition of Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby, Younger is meshing the technical demands of playing the harp with the power of creative expression — but to see her in person was to see that her warm presence, glowing almost as much as the golden light off her harp, was just as integral to her presentation. Sharing laughter and stories made this less of a recital than a joyful celebration.

Recording: Matthew "Doc" Dunn & All Is Ensemble

Artist: Matthew "Doc" Dunn & All Is Ensemble

Songs: [funky phase] + [cosmic phase]*

Recorded at The Music Gallery, September 26, 2014.

Matthew "Doc" Dunn & All Is Ensemble - [funky phase]

Matthew "Doc" Dunn & All Is Ensemble - [cosmic phase]

Full review to follow. You have to dig around a bit if you want to keep on top of Doc Dunn's recorded output — a recent series of limited run cassettes was here and gone in a flash, and there have been two LP's over the past year. You can (and should!) grab Tecumseh over at Healing Power's bandcamp, but the more recent All Is mostly exists just on vinyl — and floating through the æther.

It was truly an exciting prospect, then, to hear its "Sun Ra organ combo type of sound" in live form from this keyb-heavy grouping, featuring Dunn plus Carl Didur, Jonathan Adjemian and Mike Smith on various synths and electric pianos plus the percussive powers of Brandon Valdivia and Keiran Adams. Setting the controls for the heart of the groove, the crew showed their skills in the way they allowed each other the requisite amount of space for everything to develop. This was too good a group to perform together just once — if we're all lucky there'll be another chance a little bit further along.

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recording: Jennifer Castle

Artist: Jennifer Castle

Songs: How or Why/Make a Man + Sparta

Recorded at The Great Hall, September 25, 2014.

Jennifer Castle - How or Why + Make a Man

Jennifer Castle - Sparta

Full review to follow. Given the reoccurring gardening imagery in her songs, it's perhaps especially satisfying to see Jen Castle's audience slowly grow and bloom. This release gig for her terrific new Pink City brought a joyful but attentive full house to the Great Hall — a crowd willing to focus on the new songs. There are some beautiful arrangements of the album, but here, things were stripped down to their bare bones with Castle playing solo for most of the set. Long-time collaborator Ryan Driver joined her for a few songs at the end, adding some piano and flute to "Sparta". (There were also a few dips back into her back catalog, and while I tend not to re-post songs, I thought it was interesting to observe the straighter line with with she now approaches "Make a Man" than when I first captured it back in '09.) A really beautiful night for a beautiful spirit.

Recording: Eric Chenaux

Artist: Eric Chenaux

Song: My Romance [composers: Rodgers/Hart]

Recorded at The Great Hall, September 25, 2014.

Eric Chenaux - My Romance

Full review to follow. Eric Chenaux previously essayed this Rodgers and Hart-penned (and Doris Day sung) standard back on the Reveries' Blasé Kisses album more than a decade ago, and chose to revisit it to close out this set. Chenaux's characteristic guitar style, mixing together drones and widdly-wah noodles, isn't for everyone, but I'm always eager to catch him when the now-Paris-based artist makes one of his occasional forays back to T.O. A long-time collaborator with Jen Castle, it was no surprise to see him get the nod to open her album release show — but an eminently pleasant surprise to see most in the crowd were getting into it. As the set went on, an increasing number moved up front and even sat down on the floor to take this in.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #71

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:

Luxury Transcombobulation / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-18 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

The Jonathan Adjemian/Mike Smith synth duo from Smith's summer residency has proved to be more enduring than a one-off jam, and now it's being enhanced with a double rhythm section, including Rob Clutton and Pete Johnston on double bass plus Blake Howard and Jake Oelrichs on percussion. The group will be livin' in stereo in an early set at The Tranzac on Tuesday — a perfect excuse to shake off the cold and still be tucked in your cozy bed at a decent hour.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Naturale ["Violist Pemi Paull and percussionist David Schotzko perform duo works by Philip Glass, Luciano Berio and Ted Hearne, along with the world premiere of a new work by Linda Catlin Smith."] / Array Space 2014-11-19 (Wednesday) [more info]

Body Help (Matthew Pencer/Josh Cole/Michael Davidson) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

NDY2014 Pre-Gig! (deat. DiE, S.H.I.T., VCR, Conundrum) / S.H.I.B.G.B.'s 2014-11-19 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Huun Huur Tu / Small World Music Centre 2014-11-19–2014-11-20 (Wednesday + Thursday) [more info]

Tamara Bernstein on Ann Southam's LP Archive [lecture] / Array Space 2014-11-20 (Thursday) [more info]

Dust: The Quietest Big Band in the Known World / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-21 (Friday – early!)

Ronley Teper's Lipliners / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-21 (Friday)

Elephant Stone (The Blind Shake / The Auras / B-17) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-11-21 (Friday) [FB event]

The Two Koreas (Several Futures / Not Of) / The Cavern Bar 2014-11-21 (Friday) [FB event]

Pop Avant (feat. Still Boys / Zoo Owl / Bataille Solaire) / The Music Gallery 2014-11-22 (Saturday) [more info]

L CON (Clarinet Panic Deluxx / Caylie Staples) / Jam Factory 2014-11-22 (Saturday) CANCELLED [FB event]

Le Fruit Vert (Enfant Magique / LOOM / Man Meets Bear) / Ratio 2014-11-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bond Girls (Kurt Marble / Tyburn Fields) / Handlebar 2014-11-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Pet Sun (Weird Womb / King Creep / Billie Dre & The Poor Boys / Sunshine & the Blue Moon) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-11-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Sandro Perri / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-22 (Saturday)

Thee Oh Sees (Jack Name / Blonde Elvis) / Danforth Music Hall 2014-11-23 (Sunday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper's Lipliners [Live Album Recording!] / The Piston 2014-11-23–2014-11-24 (Sunday–Monday) [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!

A (de)Construction Quartet [Rob Cutton/Rick Sacks/cheryl o/Michelangelo Iaffaldano] / Musideum 2014-11-24 (Monday) [more info]

Lina Allemano Four [live recording!] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-25 (Tuesday)

Somewhere There Presents (feat. River Run / Nomad Winds / Leland Whitty) / Ratio 2014-11-26 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966-1985 ["listening session, film screening, and live poetry from Duke Redbird"] / Double Double Land 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Man Finds Fire Presents: Sound Seance III (feat. Evan Caminiti [of Barn Owl] / M.Mucci / Cetacea / Castle If) / Geary Lane 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Shawn William Clarke [William release party!] (The Young Novelists Duo) / Array Space 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Jordaan Mason (Clara Engel / A. Minster) / Kensington Lodge 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #25 (feat. Marcus B/Heidi Chan/James B / Brian Abbott/Aki Takahashi/Gamliel Kalfa / siânteuse/Ben Sirois / Bill Gilliam/Ambrose Pottie/John Creson/Adam Rosen) / Array Space 2014-12-09 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Bloodshot Bill & The Hick Ups (Invasions / Patrick Grant & The Flesh Vignettes / Legato Vipers) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-12-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Horsey Craze (Darlene Shrugg) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-12-31 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The Big Sound / The Mod Club 2014-12-31 (Wednesday) [FB event]

The New Pornographers (Ought) / The Danforth Music Hall 2015-02-05 (Thursday) [more info]

Friday, November 14, 2014

Recording: Simply Saucer

Artist: Simply Saucer

Songs: Mole Machine + Baby Nova

Recorded at Smiling Buddha, September 21, 2014.

Simply Saucer - Mole Machine

Simply Saucer - Baby Nova

Hamilton's Simply Saucer have been lauded for some of the weirder elements of their proto-punk sound — a sonic vein that's still explored in their current incarnation with an on-stage skull theremin. But it shouldn't be forgotten that the primordial garage that they emerged from had plenty of soulful/blues-y influences as well, and when these sounds creep into their latter-day material it's as much a part of their musical DNA as sci-fi weirdness. In fact, their new stuff (such as their recently-issued Baby Nova EP) sounds like it would fit in alongside a newer generation of garage rockers, such as Ty Segall, who covered "Bullet Proof Nothing" a few years back. So it all made sense to have Saucer on hand at the after-party for Segall's latest local show, with the band — in fine form — blasting out a set before Segall took a turn as DJ. This current lineup (including Colina Phillips, who has an amazing career as a session vocalist) played material old and new with vigour, so here's a sample of each, including the new EP's title cut.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Recording: Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys

Artist: Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys

Songs: Dark Horse + I Woke Myself Up

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys - Dark Horse

Julie Doiron & The Wrong Guys - I Woke Myself Up

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

The only thing that I don't like about Julie Doiron's "rock unit" (featuring Eamon McGrath on guitar plus the Cancer Bats rhythm section of Mike Peters and Jaye Schwarzer) is that, based in different cities and with other projects on the go, they reconvene so infrequently. If this were a full-time unit working on new material, it would send a giant beam of bouncy energy out to the sky as they played — as it is, it merely felt like their heaviness was going to melt a hole through the park's lawn and land on the subway tracks buried below. This was supposed to be on the main stage 'til the storm pushed it into the beer tent, so the sound's a little raw'n'ragged here — but that fits pretty well. (Kudos to Joel Dalton (of The Idaho Stop), who was running sound here, a task that included some on-the-fly electrical work as the band's gear strained the generator's limits.)

Recording: Fiver

Artist: Fiver

Song: Oh Sienna

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Fiver - Oh Sienna

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

As the rain poured down, every available canopy was mustered to expand the covered zone at the beer tent and the crowd pulled in to watch Simone Schmidt's "other" unit. An energetic bounce from the rhythm section jousted with Cris Derksen's darker cello tones* to give a different colour to Schmidt's songs than heard the day before. There was also the debut of a tasty new one called "Theme Writer's Theme" nestled among the older material.

* I only know Derksen's work so far from her collaborations in Fiver, but I'm looking forward to hearing her unpack her own musical ideas at the Music Gallery's upcoming Emergents show.

Recording: Shotgun Jimmie

Artist: Shotgun Jimmie

Songs: Constantine Believer* + Too Many Flowers

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Shotgun Jimmie - Constantine Believer

Shotgun Jimmie - Too Many Flowers

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

"I don't believe in many things / but I believe in The Constantines," sang Jim Kilpatrick in one of a couple new songs sprinkled into his set. Not only were a couple members of the band in the crowd, but Steve Lambke had already reciprocated the admiration not long before, covering Kilpatrick with Will Kidman during their workshop set. Moved to the beer tent as the skies quickly darkened with a gathering storm, this felt completely joyful and casual — a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

* Thanks to Jimmie for passing the title to this one along!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Recording: Eamon McGrath

Artist: Eamon McGrath

Songs: Bitter Ends + The River [Nomeansno cover]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Eamon McGrath - Bitter Ends

Eamon McGrath - The River

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

Eamon McGrath (a longtime ally of the Saving Gigi axis that's behind BOFF) was away on tour during last year's festival, but he made up for lost time this year by showing up on stage in no fewer than three sets on Sunday. For his own mainstage outing, he played in a duo format with drummer Kris Bowering, mostly working through some of the newer byways of his growing songbook. He also closed with a nod to some Canadian punk icons, from an album recorded when they were also a duo.

Recording: Steve Lambke and Friends

Artist: Steve Lambke/Will Kidman/Eamon McGrath

Song: That Summer Feeling [Jonathan Richman cover]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Steve Lambke/Will Kidman/Eamon McGrath - That Summer Feeling

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

There was a nice stretch of weather during the day, but impending rain led to some schedule-juggling, including moving this second "workshop" from the sidestage to the main one. As a gusty wind began kicking up, Will Kidman, Eamon McGrath and Steve Lambke took turns leading on originals and cover songs — this JoJo classic captured the end-of-summer vibe quite perfectly.

Recording: Safety In Numbers

Artist: Safety In Numbers

Song: Caravan [composer: Juan Tizol]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 21, 2014.

Safety In Numbers - Caravan

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

Despite its name, BOFF isn't genre-specific — its invocation of "folk music" is more in the sense that it belongs to and is played by, well, folks mostly from nearby, as well as making an implicit argument for the breaking down of barriers between performers and audiences. So it was no surprise to see quite a variety of music being played in the festival's beer tent, including this Django-fied hot music trio of Bob Stevenson (clarinet), Chris Bezant (guit) and Chris Kettlewell (of Maylee Todd's band, double bass). Tasty licks abounded as they ranged through a heap of standards (including this Duke Ellington classic), suitable for both the afternoon-beer-drinkin' set and kids-running-in-circles set.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Concert Listings Roundup #70

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:

DDL 5th Anniversary Weekend: Night One (feat. Corpusse / Tenderness / Processor) / Double Double Land 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

DDL 5th Anniversary Weekend: Night Two (feat. Surinam / Prince Nifty / Man Made Hill / Tradition) / Double Double Land 2014-11-14 (Friday) [FB event]

DDL 5th Anniversary Weekend: Night Three (feat. The Space Lady / Carl Didur / New Chance) / Double Double Land 2014-11-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

DIY venues come and DIY venues disappear — sometimes within a matter of weeks or months, it seems — so it's truly worth celebrating one that has now lingered for a half-decade. Double Double Land might get a little warm and it might get a little crowded at times, but geez I've seen a helluva lot of good stuff there. A real community hub, it has hosted everything from the freakiest rave nights to the deepest listening parties — and there's something ineffably cool about going down that alley, up that stairway, and smelling that fresh bread smell. This celebration is itself noteworthy, with three fantastic gigs over the weekend. Thank-you DDL for existing.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Dustin Wong [Ponytail] & Takako Minekawa (Zones / Omhouse) / Handlebar 2014-11-10 (Monday) [FB event]

Aurochs / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-11 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Sarah Peebles [Delicate Paths CD release!] (with guests Nilan Perera, Kyle Brenders and Dust: The Quietest Big Band in the Known World) / Ratio 2014-11-11 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Audiopollination #24 (feat. Allison Cameron/Tom Richards/Zoe Alexis-Abrams / Arnd Jurgensen/David Shelly/Wendalyn Bartley / Alan Bloor/Christian Hegele/Noé Rodríguez / daniel loughrin/Adriana Monti / DB Boyko/Christine Duncan/Patrick O'Reilly) / Array Space 2014-11-11 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Sina Salimi / Holy Oak Café 2014-11-11 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Mary Margaret O'Hara/Aidan Closs/Michael Herring/Jeff Burke/Arnd Jurgensen (Bob Vespaziani/Arnd Jurgensen) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-12 (Wednesday – early!)

Living Daylight Stringband / Holy Oak Café 2014-11-13 (Thursday – early!) [more info]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. King Weather / Nick Fraser/Rob Clutton/Brodie West / CA3) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [more info]

Somewhere There Presents: The Slow Burning Torch Series (feat. Transcendental / See Through 5) / Array Space 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Casual Drones 5 (feat. "The Owls Are Not What They Seem" [Stefan Banjevic/Daniela Gassi/John Timmins/Dale Norton/Patrick Grant] / Brian Schirk / Schønsee [Ami Spears / Scarlett Rose] / Cell Memory / BABEL / Light Chamber [Bryan Bray]) / Milk Glass 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Nite Comfort Presents (feat. Joycut / Dirty Inputs / Zoo Owl / Chobo) / The Silver Dollar Room 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [FB event]

Pink Moth (Ryan Carley) / Holy Oak Café 2014-11-13 (Thursday) [more info]

The Weather Station [EP Release!] (Kith and Kin) / The Dakota Tavern 2014-11-14 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. SonoRa / Kyle Brenders Ensemble / Birth of Troubling Forms) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-14 (Friday) [more info]

Red Blue Green [Tom Richards/Andrew Pacheco/Jay Sussman] (John Kamevaar/Mike Gennaro) / Musideum 2014-11-14 (Friday) [more info]

Long Winter: Year Three, Volume One (feat. Mozart's Sister / Mexican Slang / Bizzarh / Keita Juma / Clairmont The Second / Lee Paradise / VCR / Eytan Tobin / Antoine93 / Kaydee) / The Great Hall 2014-11-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Dirty Frigs [EP Release!] (Praises / Bile Sister / Sissy Boy) / S.H.I.B.G.B.'s 2014-11-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Two Way Monologues/Indie Machine & Cork On The Ocean present (feat. The Holy Gasp / Moonwood / Skydome Hotel / Blunt Chunks) / Gladstone Hotel 2014-11-14 (Friday) [FB event]

Contact Contemporary Music: Down to Earth [works for solo and duo guitar] (feat. Rob Macdonald and Marc-Olivier Lamontagne performing works by Helmut Lachenmann, Jimmie LeBlanc and Jason Doell) / Canadian Music Centre 2014-11-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival (feat. Element Choir / Colin Fisher/Mike Gennaro / Toronto Improvisers Orchestra) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-15 (Saturday) [more info]

Crown Larks (Alpha Strategy / Shrines / Retired / Slime) / Izakaya Sushi House 2014-11-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

R U REAL (Tritan / Così e Così / Future Funeral) / 8-11 2014-11-15 (Saturday) [FB event]

Bloor Takeover: Girls Rock Camp (feat. screening of the film Girls Rock!, followed by live performances from Girls Rock Camp Toronto alumni Deanna Petcoff (Pins and Needles) and Brighid Fry) / Bloor Cinema 2014-11-16 (Sunday – matinée!) [more info]

R U REAL [video shoot!] (Tritan / Così e Così) / LP's LPs 2014-11-16 (Sunday – matinée!) [FB event]

Alaniaris / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-16 (Sunday – matinée! 3 to 5 p.m.!)

New Music Concerts: Generation 2014 [with L'Ensemble contemporain de Montréal] / The Music Gallery 2014-11-16 (Sunday) [more info]


Add these to your calendar:

Luxury Transcombobulation [Jonathan Adjemian/Mike Smith plus double rhythm section (!)] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2014-11-18 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Le Fruit Vert (Enfant Magique / LOOM / Man Meets Bear) / Ratio 2014-11-22 (Saturday) [FB event]

Ronley Teper's Lipliners [Live Album Recording!] / The Piston 2014-11-23–2014-11-24 (Sunday–Monday) [FB event]

Cellphone [Excellent Condition LP Release Party!] (Wrong Hole) / Double Double Land 2014-11-27 (Thursday) [FB event]

Wavelength 628: NICE II (feat. Jazz Cartier / Wish / Plumes) / The Garrison 2014-11-28 (Friday) [FB event]

Toy Piano Composers: To Be Announced 2 / Heliconian Hall 2014-11-29 (Saturday) [FB event]

Swap, Don't Shop for Girls Rock Camp Toronto [clothing swap + afternoon show!] (feat. By Divine Right / HotKid / Terror Lake / Dirty Frigs) / The Garrison 2014-11-30 (Sunday – matinée! all ages!) [FB event]

Persian Rugs (The Green Rays / Wave of Terror) / Magpie Taproom 2014-12-02 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Spectrum Music: Journeys / Alliance Française de Toronto 2014-12-06 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Path Home: An Evening of Celebration through the labyrinth in sound, song and movement (feat. Lee Pui Ming/Dong-Won Kim/Rob Clutton/Mary Ganzon/Randi Helmers) / Gallery 345 2014-12-12 (Friday) [FB event]

Feint Of Hart: Crisis on St. Creskins / Campbell House Museum 2014-12-13–2014-12-15 (Saturday–Monday) [FB event]

DAS RAD (Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs / Century Palm / Pity) / Johnny Jackson 2014-12-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Nick Storring [Endless Conjecture Tape Launch!] (Craig Dunsmuir / Michael Keith) / Ratio 2014-12-16 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Man Finds Fire Presents: A Nightmare Before Christmas (feat. Nadja / Black Walls / Thisquietarmy) / Geary Lane 2014-12-20 (Saturday) [FB event]

The Sadies / The Horseshoe Tavern 2014-12-31 (Wednesday) [more info]

Owen Pallett / Lee's Palace 2015-01-31 (Saturday — afternoon + evening shows!) [more info]

Friday, November 7, 2014

Recording: Brendan Canning

Artist: Brendan Canning

Song: However Long

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

Brendan Canning - However Long

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

Hastily moving from the big stage, this group of veterans managed to wring a big sound out of a jury-rigged setup. It was nice to get a second chance to hear the album's worth of new material that Canning is tweaking, although this time out there was a nod to the past (in the form of BSS chestnut "Handjobs For The Holidays"). This present cut — one of several that gains its power more from a simmering groove than a frenzied rock-out — features Dani Nash's vox.

Recording: Baby Eagle

Artist: Baby Eagle

Song: Memory Forever

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

Baby Eagle - Memory Forever

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

With some evening rain breaking out, Steve Lambke seized the opportunity to make this an even more casual and intimate affair, inviting the crowd to take shelter with the band underneath the stage's tent. I actually ended up sitting behind drummer Ian Kehoe as the pair cranked out a whole bunch of new songs, and in the chilly gloom, a spider kept dropping down in front of me, starting its night's work — patient unfurling all around.

Recording: Will Kidman

Artist: Will Kidman

Song: Our Love Will Still be There [The Troggs cover]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

Will Kidman - Our Love Will Still be There

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

Constantines keyboardist Kidman is less prolific with his solo material than he was in his Woolly Leaves days, so it was a rare pleasure to see him in the hillside bowl of the side stage, singing quietly and generating some gentle good vibes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recording: The Highest Order

Artist: The Highest Order

Song: Two Hundred Pounds + I've Got Levitation [13th Floor Elevators cover]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

The Highest Order - Two Hundred Pounds + I've Got Levitation

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

Simone Schmidt played the festival on both days with different projects, starting on Saturday with her cosmic twang-psych unit expanding minds under clear blue skies. This segues so neatly from her "Two Hundred Pounds" to guitarist Paul Mortimer's take on this 13th Floor Elevators' classic that it seems pointless to split 'em up.

Recording: Andrew Whiteman and friends

Artist: Andrew Whiteman with Dave Bidini and Brendan Canning

Song: The Wagoner's Lad [trad. arr. Buell Kazee]

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

Andrew Whiteman with Dave Bidini and Brendan Canning - The Wagoner's Lad

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

New to BOFF this year were a couple "workshops" in the style of a more traditional folk-fest, putting like-minded musicians together to jam on stage, figuring out parts for each other's songs on the fly. With festival MC Dave Bidini on tap, this grouping might have turned into a gabfest, but eventually some music broke out, including this old folk song from Harry Smith's Anthology led by AroarA's Andrew Whiteman.

Recording: The Lonely Parade

Artist: The Lonely Parade

Songs: She Can Wait + Hey, Felix

Recorded at Christie Pits Park ("Bloor Ossington Folk Festival"), September 20, 2014.

The Lonely Parade - She Can Wait

The Lonely Parade - Hey, Felix

Once again, the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival stayed true to its roots as a low-key and local celebration. By enfolding itself into the contours of Christie Pits, BOFF still feels casual and approachable, even with some heavy hitters in its lineup. As so often happens at outdoor events, weather forced organizers to make some adjustments on the fly, but even having to move the headliners into the beer tent served to reinforce the intimate vibes. There's room to grow, but overall the organizers are getting things right.

One of the weekend's key discoveries came early on over at the side-stage with this Peterborough trio that looked like they might have stepped out of the pages of Ghost World. The set started with "My Mom Got Hit on at a Punk Show", which was as obvious as its title, but then the band shifted, showing off a much more unique sound after that was more Fugazi than mall punk — or, perhaps, not unlike jale covering Minutemen. [You can check out their album over at their bandcamp.]

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Recording: Persian Rugs

Artist: Persian Rugs

Song: Naked

Recorded at The Boat, September 18, 2014.

Persian Rugs - Naked

Full review to follow. Sometimes good things do come to those who wait. Persian Rugs have been building up their songbook and recording for long enough that they called their debut long-player This is OK For Now. That self-aware, ironic sense of being slightly underwhelmed fits right in with songs about growing up and accepting/not accepting the limitations of one's life (cf "Underemployed", "I Wanted Something More"). But the crisp and concise production reaffirms the small spots of joy that are nevertheless at hand. This is OK for now — who wants perfection anyway?

[Persian Rugs will be opening up for Allo Darlin' at The Drake tonight (November 4, 2014).]