Archive for January, 2010

TBG: Folk Yeah! Show Write-Up

January 15th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Once again those of us involved in putting the show together and playing it worked our touchuses off and once again it seems to have paid off. Great turnout for a great show.

Mark R opened the show under his Thin Hotel pseudonym. By the time he began playing, the place was pretty busy. His intimate folk songs worked really well in the small, dark space. I was actually more impressed than the last time I’d seen him.

First Rate People – who are originally from Owen Sound, not Oshawa – played an expectedly great set to a full house.
These guys are on the up and just been featured on the Pitchfork forkcast. Even though when I booked them I heard that they’d never played Toronto or didn’t like playing Toronto or something like that, now all kinds of Toronto promoters are trying to grab a piece of ’em. Check out their myspace and you’ll see they’ve got a bunch of shows coming up soon for here, in case you missed them last night.

I’ll admit something got a little funky here. Broken Telephone (aka Breanna) usually plays solo or with one other person but last night she was supposed to play with a full band. Unfortunately, somebody got sick or had migraine or showed up late…There were some “technical difficulties” of sort. Her performance was solid as usual but perhaps not as great as it should have been due to those unforeseen circumstances.
Carmen Elle closed the show with a lovely little set. Even though I was busy handling some organizational duties while she was playing, I was listening and just thinking, “sooooo great”. Her new songs were awesome and at one point she did a beautiful cover of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac which, I will tell you first hand, is not an easy song to sing well. Even at this point in the night, 12:30 or so, there was still a healthy-sized audience in there.
So yeah, another great Tiger Bar Groove. Next one is January 28th w/ Saskatoon Guitar Destroyer, The Screamagers and Easyboy (Eric Farber of Truman Peyote).

Jay Reatard, You Will Be Missed

January 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

As we all know by now, Jay Reatard was found dead yesterday morning at 3 am. Which really sucks, because Reatard’s insanely catchy, no b.s. approach to making music really reminded us that there was a time when punk music was hard, fast and catchy, and not just a stance you took to appeal to angsty 13-year-olds.
Music asides, I liked Reatard from what I knew about him. I liked the stuff he was doing with his own label and his website. He was a difficult character, getting himself into trouble at the Silver Dollar, dissing bands over Twitter, and pissing off his own band to the point that they all quit on him and joined Wavves. But people are too touchy these days, I almost feel a kind of respect sometimes for those who aren’t afraid to piss people off. Reatard was like that. He was straight and himself and if you had a problem with that, well…
Fact is the man had the talent to back it up. His songs were all killer, no filler. Two minute flurries of hooks and noisy guitars recorded lo-fi but economically so. They had energy and excitement and Reatard wasn’t afraid to try new things with them (kiwi rock, anyone?).
If you haven’t heard them already, check out his albums Blood Visions, Watch Me Fall and his Matador Singles Collection ’08.
RIP Jay Reatard, you will be missed.


Shout Out: Peter Project

January 12th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Peter Project is the hip hop project of Canadian MC Peter Chapman, who recently released his latest EP, the Fresh Soap EP, as a literal bar of soap with a download code inside. Supposedly the logic behind this was to motivate his smelly hippie friends to shower. That alone makes it worthy of a shout out.

The music re-warrants it, bursting at the seems with a goofy energy and enthusiasm you’ll usually only in find in the works of Dangermouse or DOOM. Like them, Peter Project also has a tendency towards reworked retro cheese sounds that give everything an ironic campy vibe.
Also, all the little in-between song sound clips are smell themed. I liked that little touch.
When it comes to hip hop, I’m a very tough customer, but I’ve been legitimately sold on Peter Project.

Owen Pallett (formerly known as Final Fantasy)

January 10th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s artist of the week is a Toronto-based violinist who uses a loop pedal when playing live, thus able to summon up the orchestral sweep of his songs all by himself. I know. It could be anyone, right? He recently released his third album, and I’ll be among the first to say it: it’s a masterpiece. Legit. This week’s artist of the week is…

Owen Pallett first began gaining attention not for his work as Final Fantasy or his prodigious movie and video game scores, but rather for playing with Picastro, The Hidden Cameras and The Arcade Fire, helping with the ornate arrangements of the latter. His first album as Final Fantasy, He Has A Good Home, was released on the local Blocks label and garnered some attention. Its follow-up, He Poos Clouds, released in 2006, won Pallett the first ever Polaris Prize and tons of fans and critical acclaim. It didn’t come as a surprise to many considering the album’s gorgeous classically-inspired orchestration and surprisingly accessible melodies, even in a song like “Song Song Song” which contains no rhythmic orchestration other than what sounds like tribal percussion for its first minute, reproduced live with Pallett tapping on his violin and looping the sounds.
Since around the time He Poos Clouds was released, Pallett has talked about his next album Heartland. If I remember correctly, he described it in one interview saying that it was going to be just like what he’s done before except with better mics. So fans waited and waited, wondering what the deal was with this Heartland. Had he abandoned it or something?
Last year he released two EPs simultaneously to tide fans over. One was the Plays To Please EP (snarky title directly addressing the situation perhaps? I wouldn’t put it past Pallett who, I can say first hand, definitely has a snarky side) on which Pallett covered six songs by Toronto artist Alex Lukashevsky. It was recorded with a 35-piece orchestra and sounds it, giving the songs (which I haven’t heard in their original form, if there is indeed any) an almost classic Broadway style and scope. The second was the Spectrum, 14th Century EP, a collaboration with Beirut, with whom he also worked on Beirut’s album The Flying Club Cup. The album is a collection of “pop” songs, though with more classical, experimental and avant garde leanings than anything either has ever released before.
On January 12th Heartland will finally be released, though it is already available at some stores and leaked online weeks ago. A song cycle about a pissed off farmer named Lewis, the album is leaps and bounds above Pallett’s previous work. Suprising though, Heartland‘s crowning achievement is not its orchestral arrangement (though they are incredible), but rather, its ability to merge orchestral, synthetic and electronic elements seamlessly within unbelievable compositions. “The Great Elsewhere” wraps a rhythm dominated by accented strings in Terry Riley-esque synthetic arpeggios and rapid drum machine patterns so that every element is used in an orchestrated fashion but one unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. This strange use of synthesizers and drum machine patterns is used again to heartstopping effect in “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”.
Another noticeable quality of Heartland is its use of crescendo and buildup, particularly through its middle section. “The Great Elsewhere”, “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” and “Tryst With Mephistopheles” all hit the ground running and continue for the most part only to grow larger and larger and more sweeping and epic as they proceed, while “Lewis Takes Action” and “Oh Heartland, Up Yours!” swell and descend to magnificent effect.
Heartland feels like a mature work, as well as a meticulous and detailed one. The time Pallett put into it paid off. Big time. Avoid this album at your own peril. At this point its a clear year’s best and come December, it may well still hold that.

Awesome Album Covers!

January 8th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Disclaimer: No birds were harmed – or worse, forced to listen to The Bravery – in the making of this album cover.