Sunday, December 31, 2017

Recording: Haynes-Oswald-Mazinani

Artist: Justin Haynes/John Oswald/Mani Mazinani

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #33), December 5, 2017.

Justin Haynes/John Oswald/Mani Mazinani - [excerpt from first piece]

After an anticipated duo set with Brian Ruryk had to be postponed (look for it in March!) Justin Haynes made some lemonade by putting together this noteworthy trio. With John Oswald's sax and Mani Mazinani's Octave Cat synth, Haynes (with keys and guitar on hand) took things on an unexpected post-apocalyptic trip to Funkytown, throwing some janky beats on a cassette into the mix and cranking up the volume for a mutoid dance party.

[Track Could Bend is back at The Belljar on Tuesday (January 2nd) in an especially-tantalizing night mixing Bachelard's modular synths, LUKA's poetic examinations and tendencyitis' no-input mixer feedback sounds. What a superb way to start your concert-going year for 2018!]

Recording: Bea Labikova

Artist: Bea Labikova - [first piece]

Song: [first piece]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #33), December 5, 2017.

Bea Labikova - [first piece]

It's always exciting when artists can use Track Could Bend as a platform to explore different techniques or musical approaches, so I was overjoyed to see saxophonist Bea Labikova exploring some new terrain. Seated on a cushion on the floor, Labikova was surrounded by pedals and electronics, treating and expanding her acoustic sound into another dimension. With some deep reverb patches, the sounds from her sax and fujara coalesced into lingering clouds, with vocalisations from a throat-mic adding another element. After setting the scene with this haunting effort (sounding like a ghost wandering on a grey, foggy beach), the fujara's sonic zone crept into something that sounded like an 80's private press New Age tape (a sound now recognized in 2017 to be quite awesome) while the final piece explored some Alvin Lucier-like repetitions.

[Track Could Bend is back at The Belljar on Tuesday (January 2nd) in an especially-tantalizing night mixing Bachelard's modular synths, LUKA's poetic examinations and tendencyitis' no-input mixer feedback sounds. What a superb way to start your concert-going year for 2018!]

Recording: Brian Abbott

Artist: Brian Abbott

Song: Bahadur's Carousel [excerpt]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #33), December 5, 2017.

Brian Abbott - Bahadur's Carousel [excerpt]

Given that Brian Abbott's work as half of FASTER has been drifting from carnival-esque dioramas to more rigourous works, it's no surprise his other efforts as a composer have been following a similar trajectory, still encompassing lots of notes and multi-genre milkshake-mixer explosions but adding more microtonal offshoots and other complications. For this set, he brought a large-sized one-page score that contained a bingo-card like grid of cells, giving him a framework for hairpin-turn tonal changes. There were also some borrowed tanpura/harmonium drone boxes in there as well.

[Track Could Bend is back at The Belljar on Tuesday (January 2nd) in an especially-tantalizing night mixing Bachelard's modular synths, LUKA's poetic examinations and tendencyitis' no-input mixer feedback sounds. What a superb way to start your concert-going year for 2018!]

Friday, December 29, 2017

Recording: Spirit Of The Inner Child

Artist:

Songs: [excerpts from four sets]

Recorded at Array Space (Spirit Of The Inner Child: Spontaneous Group Explorations), November 22, 2017.

Del Stephen/Paul Newman/Jeff Sinibaldi/David Parker - [excerpt]

Erik Kinsella/Del Stephen/Paul Newman/Heraclitus Akimbo - [excerpt]

Erik Kinsella/Del Stephen/Paul Newman/Heraclitus Akimbo - [excerpt]

Erik Kinsella, Mkl32 & Jeff Sinibaldi - [excerpt]

Conceived as a bit of a musical side-trip while Del Stephen and David Parker (a.k.a. Slow Man Tofu) were on a mini-tour together, this co-presentation with Audiopollination brought the pair in contact with five other players (Heraclitus Akimbo, Jeff Sinibaldi, Erik Kinsella, Mkl32, and Paul Newman) for a night of sonic explorations. Names were drawn from a hat to construct the lineups and each player took part in two sets with a different trio or quartet. The participants seemed to prefer drifting sonic fields to any melodic jousting, and alongside the basses, sax and drumkit there were plenty of knobs to be twisted, radios to be adjusted and buzzes to be buzzed.

You also can catch video of the whole night over on youtube:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Recording: Moonwood

Artist: Moonwood

Song: [last section]

Recorded at The Dupe Shop (Arachnidiscs Dual Release Show), November 19, 2017.

Moonwood - [last section]

What better place than The Dupe Shop to celebrate a couple new tapes emerging into the world? They say it takes a village to raise a child; more obscurely, they also say that it takes a bass player to adjust a toddler's headphones so they're not overwhelmed by sounds while slung on a keyboard player's back. After taking some time off for parental leave, this was Moonwood's first show back, with their newest associate in tow, adding an astounding and delightful layer of new complications to their live performance, including a mid-set slowdown when the drumkit looked like a very appealing thing to play with. In the end, things didn't go entirely to plan, but that made it a much more unique and endearing experience. Rock the daycare!

Recording: Eiyn Sof

Artist: Eiyn Sof

Songs: Bogland + unknown*

Recorded at The Dupe Shop (Arachnidiscs Dual Release Show), November 19, 2017.

Eiyn Sof - Bogland

Eiyn Sof - unknown

What better place than The Dupe Shop to celebrate a couple new tapes emerging into the world? Giving a much-needed contrast between a couple flavours of kosmische noodling, Melissa Boraski brought a set of freak folk tunes from her freshly-reissued-on-cassette Meadow Thrum. It was a pleasingly-casual environment for the whole family, giving the whole thing the feel of a jam out on Boraski's back porch (which, if her lyrics are to be believed, overlooks a magical pond next to an enchanted hidden valley).

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

Recording: Stargoon

Artist: Stargoon

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Dupe Shop (Arachnidiscs Dual Release Show), November 19, 2017.

Stargoon - [excerpt]

What better place than The Dupe Shop to celebrate a couple new tapes emerging into the world? Launching the afternoon with a celebration of its first physical release, Stargoon was showing off the more expansive sound that has developed since its recording, with additional audio complications from Matthew Fava (SuperCollider and AUMI software plus manipulated human voice) joining mainstays Luca Capone (drums) and Joe Strutt (synth/pedals) and producer/permanent guest bassist Jakob Rehlinger. The recording here's a little over-saturated, but this seemed to cook nicely.

Photo by Andrika De Lanerolle.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Recording: The Blow

Artist: The Blow

Song: Get Up

Recorded at The Garrison, November 15, 2017.

The Blow - Get Up

Last time I saw The Blow in action, it was a full-on dance party with Khaela Maricich shimmying on stage while Melissa Dyne controlled the tracks semi-hidden on a platform behind the crowd. This time, celebrating the relase of their Brand New Abyss album, they were face-to-face, and their closeness and eye contact was central to a show that investigated the transfer of energy between performer and performer — and performer and audience. This science experiment/slideshow unfolded as a sort of series of considerations on the lesbian continuum in the form of a lecture on modular synthesis. But for all of the conceptual art elements, it was still a joyfully groovy experience (on Maricich's birthday, no less!) concluding with this astoundingly-quotable anthem.

Recording: EMA

Artist: EMA

Songs: I Wanna Destroy + Fire Water Air LSD

Recorded at The Garrison, November 15, 2017.

EMA - I Wanna Destroy

EMA - Fire Water Air LSD

I missed her coming through with her last album, so it'd been a long stretch back to when I'd last seen Erika Michelle Anderson in action. Touring as a three-piece backed by a drummer and violinist/synth/bassist her dark meditations still flat-out rocked with feedback-drenched postpunk when called for, but also descended into more moody and electronic atmospherics. Fuelled by escapism from the terror of guns and misogyny in her homeland, the nihilistic songs from this year's Exile In The Outer Ring fit right in with the her past work as the set flipped back and forth between present and past — and closed out by reaching all the way back to a couple numbers from her previous project Gowns.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Concert Listings Roundup #230

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:

Parkdale Food Drive (feat. Teenanger / Prom Nite / Lee Paradise) / The Baby G 2017-12-29 (Friday) [FB event]

Well, it ain't the busiest concert week of the year, but there's still some cool options out there, even accounting for a panoply of choices on New Year's Eve. Friday would be a good night to go hang out at The Tranzac if you're feeling mellow, but if you're in a bit more of a rockin' mood, then be sure to hit up this new wave night for a worthy cause — don't forget for non-perishable food item!


This week's noteworthy shows:

Daniel Nebiat (Tiruedel Zenebe) / Habesha Sports Bar 2017-12-22–2017-12-25 (Friday–Monday) [more info]

Zacht Automaat / D D L 2017-12-28 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

The Ryan Driver Quintet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-29 (Friday) [FB event]

The Sadies (Jon Langford) / The Horseshoe Tavern 2017-12-31 (Sunday) [more info]

catl. (The Cool Hands) / Dakota Tavern 2017-12-31 (Sunday) [more info]

Tranzac New Year's Eve (feat. Ice Cream / Phèdre / Houndstooth / Lauren Barnett / Zoo Owl / The Brodie West Quintet) / The Tranzac 2017-12-31 (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!

Soap (Cellphone / Slurry) / Owl's Club (basement) 2018-01-11 (Thursday) [FB event]

Tania Gill Quartet [Tania Gill/Lina Allemano/Nico Dann/Rob Clutton] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-01-12 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

Moves [Spencer Cole/Zach Bines/Joe Organ] (Side Hustle / Evan Cartwright) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-01-12 (Friday) [FB event]

WLMRT (Deathsticks / Camp Girls / Tourist) / Euro Sports Bar 2018-01-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Venus Fest (feat. Luna Li / ggpeach / Nezzy) / The Baby G 2018-01-18 (Thursday) [FB event]

Westelaken [LP release!] (Slurry / HEX) / Monarch Tavern 2018-01-20 (Saturday) [FB event]

Piano Fest (feat. Darren Creech / Thompson Egbo-Egbo) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-01-23 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

Piano Fest (feat. Kritty Uranowski / Ryland Dineen) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-01-29 (Monday) [FB event]

Casper Skulls [Mercy Works exhibition & release show!] (Vallens / smut) / Super Wonder Gallery 2018-02-10 (Saturday) [FB event]

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Recording: Eric Landry

Artist: Eric Landry

Songs: unknown* + The Better Future's Aligning + Wolf Run

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, November 15, 2017.

Eric Landry - unknown

Eric Landry - The Better Future's Aligning

Eric Landry - Wolf Run

August's Native North America Gathering was one of the musical highlights of the year, and within that stunning night, one of the biggest eye-openers was seeing Eric Landry play at (and after!) the show. Being based out of Sudbury, Landry is closer to T.O than many of the other artists who played that night, so it made sense to bring him back for a show of his own. In an early slot at The Burdock, Landry had a lot more time on stage than he got back in August, but crowd and performer were still eager to hear more.

With a unique guitar style that incorporates the sound of the sacred drum, Landry's lyrics were both apocalyptic and optimistic, drawing from his connection to the land and the forces conspiring to destroy it. With only a single (released in 1985!) to his name, Landry has a lifetime of music and stories to draw from, and the first of the night's two sets was a storyteller's travelogue of sorts, going back to some of his earliest works and tracing the inspirations and Spirit that contributed to his musical vision (and visions). The second set focused more on songs that are going to be on forthcoming debut album, so there'll hopefully be a good reason to bring him back to town soon.

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Recording: TRYAL

Artist: TRYAL

Song: Come On

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, November 12, 2017.

TRYAL - Come On

One of the city's best "pure" vocalists, Alex Samaras is known for his work in jazz interpretation and pop dabblings, but instead of being stuck in any boxes, his TRYAL project seems to be a way for him to approach songcraft without any preconceptions or genre limitations. Emerging first in album form, this semi-private show (packing the room full with friends and kindhearted well-wishers) was meant to extend that onto the stage. The ensemble was an all-star band that overlapped with the crew that had recorded the tracks and included Johnny Spence (keyb), Josh Cole (bass), Evan Cartwright (percussion) and Christine Bougie (guitar). Interestingly, it didn't include any of the amazing singers who shared the vocal space on the album with Samaras, but that leaves something to anticipate for the next time.

Recording: Monsters Inc.

Artist: Monsters Inc.

Songs: Where Are You, Mike? + You're Making Him Lose His Focus

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, November 12, 2017.

Monsters Inc. - Where Are You, Mike?

Monsters Inc. - You're Making Him Lose His Focus

This experimental outing from Bernice's Robin Dann and Philippe Melanson saw the stage floor littered with percussive implements and a keyboard, before which the pair sat to sing — with complete deadpan seriousness — some extracts from the screenplay of the film from which they took their name. The appropriation of some found texts as lyrics cast my mind back to one of the first times I saw this pair dabbling in experimental zones outside of what they do in the band. Framing this as "experimental" might mean some might take it as being clinical or approached by the musicians as a semantic exercise, but these two approached this, like all their music, with a guileless joy, as if their internal antennas were simply pulling songs from everywhere in the atmosphere.

Recording: anna

Artist: anna

Song: Grow a Garden (feat. Mingjia Chan)

Recorded at Burdock Music Hall, November 12, 2017.

anna - Grow a Garden

This duo of Mara Nesrallah (vox, keyb) and Tom Upjohn (guit, trumpet) was founded — or so the story goes — as a means to record some xmas songs to give as gifts. They haven't released any of their non-seasonal repertoire yet, but reference was made to some forthcoming recordings, including a version of this song which includes, as does this live take, backing vox from Mingjia Chan. (Returning a favour, in a way, as Nesrallah was in the chorus backing Chan in her heartfelt reading of James Tenney's "Listen!" at the X Avant festival.) Meanwhile, there was plenty of moody drift and beautiful voices on offer here, putting this project in the same sonic zone as local sophisticated pop peers like Bernice and Hobson's Choice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Recording: Kurt Newman's Nashville Minimalism Unit

Artist: Kurt Newman's Nashville Minimalism Unit

Songs: [excerpt, in two parts]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), November 12, 2017.

Kurt Newman's Nashville Minimalism Unit - [excerpt, part 1]

Kurt Newman's Nashville Minimalism Unit - [excerpt, part 2]

This solo endeavour from Kurt Newman usually sees him playing pedal steel, but he was wielding his Gibson this time out, plus several pedals arrayed on a table in front of him. With his greasy licks dissolving into sludgy haze-drone, Ayal Senior (who had offered his own flavour of guitar minimalism in the prior set) was right on the money when he noted this was Metal Machine Music played as the blues.

Recording: Ayal Senior

Artist: Ayal Senior

Song: Road

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), November 12, 2017.

Ayal Senior - Road

Greyish outside, but not too cool, kids were were running up and down Brunswick Street, throwing handfuls of fallen leaves at each other. This Sunday afternoon session saw some solo Sacred Lamp action from Ayal Senior and his 12-string acoustic. Some of these tunes sounded a bit spare without Doc Dunn's slide parts, but it was also quite a treat to be able to concentrate on Senior's compositional clarity and the Fahey-esque elegance of his playing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Recording: Novosedlikova-Suchankova-Labikova-Roter-Sacks

Artist: Sisa Suchankova/Lenka Novosedlikova/Bea Labikova/Raphael Roter/Rick Sacks

Songs: [three excerpts]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 11, 2017.

Sisa Suchankova/Lenka Novosedlikova/Bea Labikova/Raphael Roter/Rick Sacks - [excerpt 1]

Sisa Suchankova/Lenka Novosedlikova/Bea Labikova/Raphael Roter/Rick Sacks - [excerpt 2]

Sisa Suchankova/Lenka Novosedlikova/Bea Labikova/Raphael Roter/Rick Sacks - [excerpt 3]

The nimble 416 Festival — celebrating, as always, multiple streams of improvised and experimental music — folded itself down to two nights this year, of which I could only make it to the second. If it's unusual (especially in the cozy confines of the Southern Cross!) to see a set with two marimbas sharing the stage, it's doubly unusual (at least in these parts) to see a set with two Fujaras — and exponentially unusual to have both those things happening at once. Matching Slovakian visitors Sisa Suchankova (flutes) and Lenka Novosedlikova (marimba) with local counterparts Bea Labikova and Rick Sacks there was plenty of opportunity for musical interplay here, with a series of call-and-response encounters being tied together by Raphael Roter, at the centre of it all on the drumkit. From quiet conversations to chaotic chase scenes, this quintet covered a lot of ground in a rather satisfying manner.

Recording: Kayla Milmine

Artist: Kayla Milmine

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 11, 2017.

Kayla Milmine - [excerpt]

The nimble 416 Festival — celebrating, as always, multiple streams of improvised and experimental music — folded itself down to two nights this year, of which I could only make it to the second. Nominally a solo set for alto saxophone, like many quieter excursions at the Tranzac this is something of an an environmental duet with the sounds bleeding over from the other rooms. Milmine did explore a wide dynamic range and a variety of extended techniques in a focused set that had an admirably-clear throughline.

Recording: Unknown Guitar Quartet

Artist: Unknown Guitar Quartet

Song: Drag [composer: Patrick O'Reilly]

Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival – Night 2), November 11, 2017.

Unknown Guitar Quartet - Drag

The nimble 416 Festival — celebrating, as always, multiple streams of improvised and experimental music — folded itself down to two nights this year, of which I could only make it to the second. This night started with an outing from this recent collaborative effort that has appeared in a couple variations, though this time 'round it saw Brian Abbott, Patrick O'Reilly, Rob Grieve and Luan Phung sharing the stage, with each of the first three offering a composition. There was plenty microtonal pluck-drift, with each player offering their own pedalchain tone. Rob Grieve's "Plasmatic Populations" (which can be heard over at his soundcloud) hewed to a noisier aesthetic, Brian Abbott's added more guitar preparations (chopsticks, paperclips, fidget spinner) to a piece that sounded like a Raymond Scott 78 played at 33, while this offering, from Patrick O'Reilly, is spare enough in places that one could take it as the work of a single guitarist working with a loop pedal.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Concert Listings Roundup #229

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:

Venus Fest Winter Solstice Celebration (feat. Jennifer Castle / Aisha Sasha John / Ora Cogan) / The Garrison 2017-12-21 (Thursday) [FB event]

Born at the end of the year, Jennifer Castle has always had an affinity for the Winter Solstice, usually celebrating it with what turns out to be the last awesome show of the year. Fresh off playing Massey Hall (!) expect her next album's songs to be in the spotlight here. This year's event is presented in association with Venus Fest's ongoing concert series and is strictly not to be missed.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Allison Cameron [solo piano!] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-20 (Wednesday – early!)

Karen Ng/Alex Fournier/Stefan Hegerat/Marilyn Lerner/Ryan Brouwer / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-20 (Wednesday) [FB event]

ZOË (Uxvae / Fog Spirits) / The Tranzac (Tiki Room) 2017-12-21 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Clara Engel (George Crotty) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-22 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

Riverrun / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Nick Flanagan's Home for the Holidays [comedy + musical performances] (feat. Andre Ethier / WLMRT) / Burdock Music Hall 2017-12-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Goth Girl (Shelf / Transient Girl / Possession Upon Compulsion [Alan Bloor/David Jones] / P0St3Rb0Y) / The Baby G 2017-12-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Daniel Nebiat (Tiruedel Zenebe) / Habesha Sports Bar 2017-12-22–2017-12-25 (Friday–Monday) [more info]

Bob Wiseman/John Oswald / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-23 (Saturday – early!)


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!

Nite Comfort 52 (feat. Kat Estacio / Homura) / Handlebar 2018-01-07 (Sunday) [FB event]

Grounders (Lee Paradise / Beds) / The Baby G 2018-01-12 (Friday) [FB event]

Germaphobes (Rapport / Hobby) / Smiling Buddha 2018-01-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Nick Arseneau Quintet [Nick Arseneau/Marie Goudy/John Nicholson/Patrick O'Reilly/Harrison Vetro] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2018-01-19 (Friday – early!) [FB event]

Composers' Toolbox [talk / demonstration / Q&A] (feat. Nicholas Murray) / Canadian Music Centre 2017-01-22 (Monday – free with RSVP) [FB event]

Piano Fest (feat. Penumbra / Avesta Nakhaei) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-01-23 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Piano Fest (feat. Tania Gill Quartet [Tania Gill/Lina Allemano/Rob Clutton/Nico Dann] / Ali Berkok) / Burdock Music Hall 2018-01-25 (Thursday) [FB event]

LAL Winter Wonderland: Dead Happiness Video Release Party (feat. LAL / Franny Galore / Witch Prophet / "surprise guest") / Rivoli 2018-01-26 (Friday) [FB event]

Look Vibrant (Bernice / Luge / Bleu Nuit) / The Baby G 2018-01-30 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Ancient Shapes / Smiling Buddha 2017-02-11 (Sunday) [FB event]

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Recording: LOLAA

Artist: LOLAA

Song:

Recorded at Monarch Tavern (Fundraiser Show for Mexico & Puerto Rico), November 9, 2017.

LOLAA - Lola

A life in rock'n'roll gives many chances for rebirths and reinventions, so while the 2008 version of me would have been excited at the idea of a fundraiser featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Spiral Beach, Gentleman Reg and Magneta Lane, the 2017 version of me was perhaps more excited to see these musicians brimming with the energy of new music and new ideas. Organized by LOLAA to raise funds to rebuild Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and Mexico after the earthquakes, there was a lot of positive energy all around throughout the night.

A new project from sisters Lexi Valentine and Nadia King (formerly of Magneta Lane), LOLAA exchanges slashing guitars for 80's-flavoured pop and an embrace of their Mexican heritage. With lots of love for glitter and dancing, even when slowing down there was a lot of propulsion to their songs. The band has an EP under their belt and a neon sign of their band name, so they're probably ready to rock a stage near you quite soon.

Recording: Regina Gently

Artist: Regina Gently

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern (Fundraiser Show for Mexico & Puerto Rico), November 9, 2017.

Regina Gently - unknown

A life in rock'n'roll gives many chances for rebirths and reinventions, so while the 2008 version of me would have been excited at the idea of a fundraiser featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Spiral Beach, Gentleman Reg and Magneta Lane, the 2017 version of me was perhaps more excited to see these musicians brimming with the energy of new music and new ideas. Organized by LOLAA to raise funds to rebuild Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and Mexico after the earthquakes, there was a lot of positive energy all around throughout the night.

"It's been a long time, baby," says Regina in this track, one in a full set of new material. Even with the retiring of the Light Fires moniker and the consolidation of all stage and song endeavours under one name, the new tunes (including this one which sounds like a club remix of a Hedwig number) had more of the the same high-kicking energy.

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

Recording: Rapport

Artist: Rapport

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Monarch Tavern (Fundraiser Show for Mexico & Puerto Rico), November 9, 2017.

Rapport - unknown

A life in rock'n'roll gives many chances for rebirths and reinventions, so while the 2008 version of me would have been excited at the idea of a fundraiser featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Spiral Beach, Gentleman Reg and Magneta Lane, the 2017 version of me was perhaps more excited to see these musicians brimming with the energy of new music and new ideas. Organized by LOLAA to raise funds to rebuild Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and Mexico after the earthquakes, there was a lot of positive energy all around throughout the night.

Formerly of Spiral Beach and Moon King, Rapport gives Maddy Wilde a long-awaited opportunity to step up front. Inspired by bands like 'Til Tuesday, there's a knowing 80's vibe to these tunes, with occasional melancholy and a lot of groovy joy — at one point, Wilde and her co-conspirators Kurt Marble and Most People's Mike Pereira were all simultaneously dancing like Tina Weymouth in Stop Making Sense. The band doesn't seem to have any music online yet (keep your eyes on this space) but they have a set of well-crafted tunes, including this one which encapsulates the absolute best of every 80's throwback to brassy 60's pop.

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

Recording: KASHKA

Artist: KASHKA

Song: Float Away

Recorded at Monarch Tavern (Fundraiser Show for Mexico & Puerto Rico), November 9, 2017.

KASHKA - Float Away

A life in rock'n'roll gives many chances for rebirths and reinventions, so while the 2008 version of me would have been excited at the idea of a fundraiser featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Spiral Beach, Gentleman Reg and Magneta Lane, the 2017 version of me was perhaps more excited to see these musicians brimming with the energy of new music and new ideas. Organized by LOLAA to raise funds to rebuild Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and Mexico after the earthquakes, there was a lot of positive energy all around throughout the night.

Kat Burns lead off the night in solo mode, experimenting with ways to pull together all the elements of some of the songs from her recent Relax album on her own.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Recording: The Andrew Downing Ensemble

Artist: The Andrew Downing Ensemble

Songs: All Alone on the Mountain + I'm No Good Without You

Recorded at the Canadian Music Centre, November 9, 2017.

The Andrew Downing Ensemble - All Alone on the Mountain

The Andrew Downing Ensemble - I'm No Good Without You

The living room-sized performance space at Chalmers House was an ideal spot to sit back and listen to the tunes from Andrew Downing's Otterville recording. Enhanced by video projections by graphic designer Yesim Tosuner and storytelling from John Southworth, the group (featuring Andrew Downing, Michael Davidson, Tara Davidson, Nick Fraser, Aline Homzy, and Paul Mathew) explored the nostalgic lushness of Downing's compositions, inspired by the almost-too-good-to-be-a-real-town-name of Otterville. Like a lot of Canadian small towns, there's a lot of niceness and well-organized politeness on the surface, but manifold layers underneath. The music was oft at its best when it drifted into lullaby dreamworlds and Ellingtonian reveries.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Recording: Sandy Ewen with Brandon Valdivia

Artist: Sandy Ewen with Brandon Valdivia

Song: [last section]

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (OPEN: an evening of sound interactions), November 8, 2017.

Sandy Ewen with Brandon Valdivia - [last section]

This pleasing night out, curated by Nick Storring's Riparian Acoustics, was a fundraiser for Musicworks Magazine. On the cusp of celebrating its 40th anniversary, MW has been pretty on-point lately, written about (and by!) some MFS faves, with spot-on examinations of weird sounds in the here-and-now plus savvy historical excavations. In the face of a last-minute cancellation, the organizers brought in Sandy Ewen (who had played a solo set the night before) to join forces with Brandon Valdivia (who was on hand for another collaborative set with Pursuit Grooves). Working from behind the drumkit, his roiling undercurrent provided some propulsion to nudge Ewen into a noisier zone than she'd explored on her own. This turned out to be an improvised addition to the night that really paid off.

Recording: Pursuit Grooves with Mas Aya

Artist: Pursuit Grooves with Mas Aya

Song: unknown*

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (OPEN: an evening of sound interactions), November 8, 2017.

Pursuit Grooves with Mas Aya - unknown

This pleasing night out, curated by Nick Storring's Riparian Acoustics, was a fundraiser for Musicworks Magazine. On the cusp of celebrating its 40th anniversary, MW has been pretty on-point lately, written about (and by!) some MFS faves, with spot-on examinations of weird sounds in the here-and-now plus savvy historical excavations. After some solo piano from Thin Edge's Cheryl Duvall, things got grrovy with this collaborative set, augmenting Pursuit Grooves' space funk productions with percussion and other embellishments from Brandon Valdivia.

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Recording: Will Austin & Brandon Lim

Artist: Will Austin & Brandon Lim

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #32), November 7, 2017.

Will Austin & Brandon Lim - [excerpt]

This month saw TCB moving to a new home — where, auspiciously, the streetcar tracks bend right outside the front door. I first saw Will Austin performing with his solo peace project this summer at Nite Comfort, and since then he's been holding down his own nights of improvised experimentation 'round town — some with fellow movie buff Brandon Lim (known for his work holding down the bottom end in Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, HSY, Toronto Homicide Squad, and a heap of other bands). This set saw him acting as the anchor to Austin's pitch-bending infiltrations, lumbering in and out of a few sonic zones, shuffling the furniture around, and then heading off to the next room. (A diligent documenter, you can check out Austin's full recording of the set over at the Free Music Archive.)

[Start your new year off the best way — the next Track Could Bend is on Tuesday, January 2nd and will feature sets from Bachelard, LUKA, and tendencyitis.]

Recording: Sandy Ewen

Artist: Sandy Ewen

Song: [excerpt from first piece]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #32), November 7, 2017.

Sandy Ewen - [excerpt from first piece]

This month saw TCB moving to a new home — where, auspiciously, the streetcar tracks bend right outside the front door. Being pretty locally focused, it's also an auspicious treat to be able to offer a stage to a visiting musician — although NYC-via-Austin guitarist Sandy Ewen does indeed have some local roots. Armed with only a stereo pan pedal to two amps, Ewen used an arsenal of extended techniques to wrangle creaky sound-sculptures from her strings.

[Start your new year off the best way — the next Track Could Bend is on Tuesday, January 2nd and will feature sets from Bachelard, LUKA, and tendencyitis.]

Recording: Kat Estacio & beard closet

Artist: Kat Estacio & beard closet

Song: [last section]

Recorded at Belljar Café (Track Could Bend #32), November 7, 2017.

Kat Estacio & beard closet - [last section]

This month saw Track Could Bend moving to a new home — where, auspiciously, the streetcar tracks bend right outside the front door. One of the best things about participating in a something like TCB is in offering a space where community members can come up with cooler ideas than I would have. Phil Hamilton (who performs solo as beard closet and previously played the series as half of Determinist?) proposed this set after seeing Kat Estacio playing at Parkdale Library. Mixing her gongs and laptop manipulations with his guitar treatments, this gelled in a really tasty way, offering more mid-volume rumbles than noisy chicanery.

[Start your new year off the best way — the next Track Could Bend is on Tuesday, January 2nd and will feature sets from Bachelard, LUKA, and tendencyitis.]

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Recording: Kalte

Artist: Kalte

Song: unknown [edited excerpt]*

Recorded at Handlebar (Nite Comfort 50), November 5, 2017.

Kalte - unknown [edited excerpt]

It's a real achievement for a monthly experimental music series to reach its fiftieth instalment, so huge props to Aaron Dawson and everyone else who has brought Nite Comfort to life. The event was celebrated with contrasting sets of ambient drift and chilldown beats. The former was provided by Deane Hughes and Rik MacLean, who offered some bugscratches and glacierscrapes in the vein of their Bailey Sessions recording.

[Start off your 2018 right with Nite Comfort at Handlebar on Sunday, January 7th. Details coming soon!]

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recording: Odonis Odonis

Artist: Odonis Odonis

Song: Nasty Boy

Recorded at The Garrison, November 3, 2017.

Odonis Odonis - Nasty Boy

Celebrating new releases from two local groups, this night tempered the rock'n'roll with plenty electronic textures, as well as Romar Johnson's stadium-worthy lighting rig. Despite what that title might make you think, this track is definitely more Broken than Control. Given the way things were heading with last year's Post Plague album, OO's rapid industrialization plan should hardly come as a surprise — the Nitzer Ebb cover they were closing out shows with before taking a break to launch No Pop was hardly necessary to get the hint that this group was going EBM, abandoning their guitars for a full-on harsh-edged electronic sound. Heavy and saturated, there wan't much of a let-up during this set — the more textured comedown pieces that make up the back half of the album were left behind for a non-stop pummelling.

Recording: Beliefs

Artist: Beliefs

Song: Faulty

Recorded at The Garrison, November 3, 2017.

Beliefs - Faulty

Celebrating new releases from two local groups, this night tempered the rock'n'roll with plenty electronic textures, as well as Romar Johnson's stadium-worthy lighting rig. The new Habitat album pushes Beliefs further away from their shoegaze/dreampop origins and further into the electronic realm. Somewhat to my surprise, as they continue to exchange guitar shimmer for beats and as Jesse Crowe takes more and more of the leads the closest point of comparison in my mind for the band's trajectory is Young Galaxy. Whether that means they'll keep moving to ditch their guitars and embrace their electronic selves altogether remains to be seen — for now, there's still a satisfyingly loud rock'n'roll roar underlying things.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Concert Listings Roundup #228

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


Gig of the week:

The Cluttertones (John Millard / Germaine Liu) / Burdock Music Hall 2017-12-13 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Rob Clutton's excellent chamber pop ensemble is reprising their first Burdock appearance from two years back, right down to the same openers offering contrasting (storytelling/experimental) threads shared with the headliners. Expect to hear some new ornate pieces from Clutton, Lina Allemano, Ryan Driver and Tim Posgate.


This week's noteworthy shows:

Garden Party [Aline Homzy/Allison Au/Phill Albert/Alex Fournier/Mark Ballyk] / The Emmet Ray 2017-12-11 (Monday – early!) [FB event]

Andrew² [Andrew Miller/Andrew Downing/Harrison Argatoff] / The Emmet Ray 2017-12-11 (Monday) [FB event]

Ornate Ornette (feat. Nico Dann/Phil Albert/Ted Crosby) / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-12 (Tuesday – early!) [FB event]

LHD [Jeff LaRochelle/Aline Homzy/Michael Davidson] / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-12 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Bitchin Bajas (ZONES / SlowPitchSound) / Smiling Buddha 2017-12-12 (Tuesday) [FB event]

Brodie West Quintet / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-13 (Wednesday – early!) [FB event]

If:Iff - works for chamber orchestra and electronics (feat. New Music Ensemble of the Royal Conservatory) / Temerty Theatre 2017-12-14 (Thursday – free with RSVP!) [FB event]

Austra (Devon Welsh / Ela Minus / Nyssa) / Velvet Underground 2017-12-14 (Thursday) [FB event]

Corpusse Christmas / Sellers & Newel Speakeasy 2017-12-14 (Thursday) [more info]

Mannerisms with special guest Jay Hay (Body Butter [Neil Rankin/Chris Evans]) / Handlebar 2017-12-14 (Thursday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Explorer (The Hollow Earth / The Mean) / The Piston 2017-12-14 (Thursday) [FB event]

Faith Healer (Cecil Frena / Tough Age / Ducks Unlimited) / The Baby G 2017-12-15 (Friday) [FB event]

Moon King (Doomsquad / New Chance) / Smiling Buddha 2017-12-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

Honey Harper (Scott Hardware / Komodo) / Monarch Tavern 2017-12-16 (Saturday) [FB event]

10th Annual Wassail (feat. kith&kin) / 918 Bathurst 2017-12-17 (Sunday) [FB event]

MAW: A Community Celebration of the Vocal Arts (feat. Anne Bourne / Leslie Predy / Alex Lukshevsky / Kirsten White and Marc Bourgon / Renee The Voice / Scott Peterson / Game Shout Match / The Jumblies/Making Room Community Choir / Shodekeh and Max Bent) / Burdock Music Hall 2017-12-17 (Sunday – all ages + kid-friendly!) [FB event]

Somewhere There Presents (feat. Miropolis) / The Emmet Ray 2017-12-17 (Sunday) [FB event]

Hamilton Trading Co (Traplines / Jupiterspin) / The Gaslight 2017-12-17 (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!

Karen Ng/Alex Fournier/Stefan Hegerat/Marilyn Lerner/Ryan Brouwer / The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge) 2017-12-20 (Wednesday) [FB event]

Nick Flanagan's Home for the Holidays [comedy + musical performances] (feat. Andre Ethier / WLMRT) / Burdock Music Hall 2017-12-22 (Friday) [FB event]

Daniel Nebiat (Tiruedel Zenebe) / Habesha Sports Bar 2017-12-22–2017-12-25 (Friday–Monday) [more info]

Tranzac New Year's Eve (feat. Ice Cream / Phèdre / Houndstooth / Lauren Barnett / Zoo Owl / The Brodie West Quintet) / The Tranzac 2017-12-31 (Sunday) [FB event]

Track Could Bend #34 (feat. Bachelard / LUKA / tendencyitis) / Belljar Café 2018-01-02 (Tuesday – PWYC!) [FB event]

Sahara (Nyssa / Kiwi Jr.) / Monarch Tavern 2018-01-13 (Saturday) [FB event]

Andre Ethier [Under Grape Leaves Telephone Explosion release party!] / The Baby G 2017-01-19 (Friday) [FB event]

Wavelength Winter Festival 18 (feat. TBA) / venues TBA 2018-02-16–2018-02-18 (Friday–Sunday – save the dates!) [FB event]


Community corner:

  • Kristel Jax, whose explorations into drone therapy have included youtube videos, performances and this list of mental health resources, is now launching a podcast. Read more about about it here, and check out the first episode now. For anyone needing to slow down and find a better place while dealing with mental health issues (and/or the trauma of accessing the broken mental health system) this is a place for you.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Recording: Bea Labikova + Raphael Roter

Artist: Bea Labikova + Raphael Roter

Song: [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination Halloween Special), October 31, 2017.

Bea Labikova + Raphael Roter - [excerpt]

Celebrating the season with costumes and a horror flick, Audiopollination brought together three sets of improvised sounds for a night of Halloween fun. In their alter egos of wizard and radioactive sludge mutant, Bea Labikova and Raphael Roter presented an excellent set of duo explorations. With the former on sax and fujara and the latter on percussion, the pair played sitting face to face riding several waves of beautiful quiet and clamour.

Recording: The Birth of Troubling Forms

Artist: The Birth of Troubling Forms

Song: Genuine [excerpt]

Recorded at Array Space (Audiopollination Halloween Special), October 31, 2017.

The Birth of Troubling Forms - Genuine [excerpt]

Celebrating the season with costumes and a horror flick, Audiopollination brought together three sets of improvised sounds for a night of Halloween fun. This group of improvised soundtrack-makers was playing behind an abridged version of Robert Wiene's 1921 silent horror flick Genuine. The group this time 'round featured Alan Bloor (amplified metal), Ambrose Pottie (percussion), Michael Lynn (bass + clarinet) and Tina Kiik (accordion) and they vibed off the eye-popping expressionist sets (probably more than the famously elusive plot, which was all the more scattered in a short version of a short version of the film) with quite darkly-tasty results.