In Review...Jonsi And Pavement, Plus Quick Reviews Of Gorillaz And The Besnard Lakes

>> Tuesday, 30 March 2010


If there’s one thing we can all agree about Sigur Rós’s devastatingly gorgeous breakthrough, Ágætis Byrjun, it’s that you have to be in the right mood for it. It’s epic and completely absorbing stuff, the sort of music not likely to grace workout, party, or car playlists. Ágætis Byrjun offers sprawling alien soundscapes that play best late at night, really, when the world has quieted down, attention is less divided, and thoughts can actually be heard. 

Sigur Rós head honcho Jon-Par Birgisson’s debut solo release Go is pretty much Ágætis Byrjun’s diametric opposite. The bright, buoyant melodies mostly come fast and in a flurry throughout this light-hearted, refreshingly uplifting and cheerful release. Birgisson’s patented banshee wail is noticeably scaled back on Go; for once, his gooseflesh-triggering falsetto is not solely treated as an emotive instrument (except maybe on “Grow Till Tall”). Instead, the sprightly orchestral flourishes propel the songs forward, not allowing Jonsi enough time to get his wail on.

Case in point: the breathless opener “Go Do” where drums gallop at full speed, flutes and piccolos flitter around the peripherals, and Jonsi’s giddy delivery provides a boyish narrative of the exciting adventure. While all songs don’t burst forth with such immediate alacrity – Jonsi still inserts some low-to-mid tempo breathers – the overall feel of Go is sunny and positive.

In fact, the majority of Go is ideal for a quick music pick-me-up, running playlist, or for when cruising around...hoping the intersection lights flash nothing but welcoming green.

-Mykael Sopher

Rating: 3.5/4
Choice Cuts: “Go Do”, “Around Us”, “Boy Lilikoi”
R.I.Y.D. The first half of Sigur Rós’s last album, Passion Pit, Electric President
Label: XL Recordings

Quarantine the Past

The majority of Painting Over Silence readers are likely familiar with Pavement, even if only by name, as stalwarts/progenitors of the 1990s indie rock scene. This Stockton fivesome put together five studio albums before disbanding in 1999, leaving a nearly impeccable legacy. Now reunited for some live shows, Quarantine the Past offers an engaging trip through Pavement's most engaging songs.

This 23-song collection spans all five albums, as well as a couple of EPs and one compilation track. While superfans will likely debate the sequencing and selection of tracks included on QTP – there’s not a single unreleased song included – I suspect most fans will forgive this due to the fabulous work done by both the band and Matador records on the reissues of the studio albums. They're packed full of live material, b-sides, and so forth.

My ONLY beef on QTP is the relative lack of love given to 1999's Terror Twilight, the band's gorgeous, Nigel Godrich-produced swan song. Only "Spit on a Stranger" is included, and while it's a great choice, I'd have liked to have seen "The Hexx" on here too. It's a personal favourite, but I digress.

Like their studio albums, the recording quality is somewhat all over the place, although the care taken to re-master these tracks is apparent, especially on the songs from 1994's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

I've been talking around the songs themselves in part because I fear doing them great injustice. The biggies are all here as are deeper cuts "Stereo" and "Cut Your Hair", tracks that give listeners a glimpse beyond what might have been heard on college radio/MTV/The Wedge in the mid-90s.

Rather than try to sum up the sound of Pavement for the few that might not be familiar, you can preview 30-second snippets of each of the songs for yourself at Matador Records site. I'll do a better job of reporting on the reunited Pavement's live show when I go see them this summer. I promise to be direct.

-Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

Rating: 3.75/4.0
Choice Cuts: “Grounded", "In the Mouth A Desert", "Gold Soundz" - take your pick, really
R.I.Y.D. The Fall, Sonic Youth, any indie rock of the past 15 years or so
Label: Matador


Quick Reviews

Plastic Beach 

With a heaping helping of guest appearances (The Fall's Mark E. Smith, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg, etc.) ex-Blur frontman Damon Albarn and the rest of this "virtual band" have put together a solid collection of eclectic, electronic-driven tracks that work really well as a whole. Doubters should check out the video for "Stylo" that features a killer Bruce Willis cameo. Best effort yet.
Rating: 3.5/4.0


The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

Throughout The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night, the Montreal-based space-rockers skillfully combine stunning harmonies and breathtaking melodies with fuzzy, crepuscular shoegaze, in the process making an arresting record that needs, no, demands, many listens to unlock its spooky, otherworldly secrets. See them at the Albert in April.
Rating: 4.0/4.0


Infinite Playlist: The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night


In Giveaway...Two Tickets To See Courtney Wing @ The WECC

The awesome folks over at the West End Cultural Centre passed along a pair of tickets to blossoming operatic folkie Courtney Wing’s April 6th show, exclusively for readers of this here site. The Montreal-based Wing is an ambitious singer-songwriter who just released his third full-length record, Bouquet of Might and Fury, an expansive release that features 15-piece opera collective Liederwolfe and guest spots by members of Belle Orchestra and Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

If you’re interested in seeing him, shoot me an email (on the left) by Monday @ noon CST with “Courtney Wing Ticket Giveaway” in the subject line and your full name in the body. I’ll draw the winner out of a hat (my touque is officially in hibernation), and I’ll email the winner pronto.


In The Know...Chattin' It Up With Zeus About The Bonfire Ball

>> Thursday, 25 March 2010

So whaddya got going on next Saturday, the 3rd of April? Anything stimulating, never-before-experienced, and/or just plain cool?

Well, if you’re looking for a very chic, very exciting, one-of-a-kind live experience, I suggest dropping by the West End Cultural Centre for the Bonfire Ball. The BB is a unique concept for a show that sees acclaimed indie luminaries Jason Collett, Zeus, and Bahamas combine musical forces on stage and, as one bona fide supergroup, work together to perform each other’s songs over two sets. No opening act required.

And courtesy of the kind and generous folks at treasured label Arts & Crafts, I’ve got a pair of tickets to offer up exclusively to Painting Over Silence readers (guestlist + 1). To enter, just shoot me an email by noon on Thursday the 1st with “Bonfire Ball  Ticket Giveaway” in the subject line and your full name in the body. I’ll draw the winner five minutes after noon and set you up with the details.

I spoke with Mike O’Brien of indie-rockers Zeus about the Bonfire Ball’s conception, rehearsals, and how it’s been received so far.

Painting Over Silence: How did this rather novel idea for a tour initially come about? 

Mike O’Brien: The idea for the Bonfire Ball is something that Jay (Collett) had always wanted to do. The revue style of show, where we all play together in one big set seemed like an obvious thing for us to do. Given that we all go back and have an intertwined musical past it just made sense to reflect that on stage. It's really just trying to showcase the community that we've built up.

PoS: So if I’m doing my arithmetic right, there will be six musicians on stage?

MO: 6 men strong, that's correct. 4 Zeus men, 1 Bahamanian and 1 Collett.

PoS: Is there a straight 1 to 1 to 1 Collett to Zeus to Bahamas song ratio, or will we hear a few tunes from Zeus’s catalogue, a few from Bahamas’s and so on?

MO: The set changes from night to night, but in general we will play a good mixture of tunes from each artist’s repertoire.

PoS: A collaboration like this would surely require some time to get familiar with the wealth of material everyone has to offer, even with artists that have a storied relationship like the three of you. How much did the Z/B/C collective rehearse together before hitting the road? What were the sessions like?

MO: We did some rehearsing with everyone together but with everyone's busy schedule's it was hard to get us all together at one time. I think we were only able to do that a couple of times. But since we know most the material if not to play then at least from listening it was'nt too much of a task to get it all together.

PoS: You’re currently in the midst of a big tour which includes a stop at the mammoth SXSW festival, how has the Bonfire Ball Revue been received so far?

MO: We've only had the chance to play 3 actual Bonfire Ball shows. They were all received with open arms and hearty cheers. The SXSW festival was a whole other beast where we were running around playing Zeus sets and Collett sets all over town. Lots of fun but we were all excitied to get back to doing the Revue.

PoS: And finally, for the beer drinkers out there (which includes me) who hate to miss a second of the action, will the show be organized in sets, or run all the way through?

The show as it stands right now is organized into 2 sets. We decided to build in an intermission so that people could get drinks, use the bathroom, have a smoke …and so the band could do the same.


In The Know...11 Questions With Tom and Patrick Keenan

>> Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Saturday night at the West End Cultural Centre promises to be one of brotherly love. Songwriting brotherly love that is, with The Brothers Keenan – Tom and Patrick – each releasing their brand-spanking-new albums.

For Tom Keenan, it’ll be Romantic Fitness, his debut into the folk-leaning, singer-songwriter ring; for Patrick Keenan, it’ll be Washed Out Roads, his much-anticipated follow-up to the well-received, college-charting As Constant as the Northern Car. Both brothers have a way with the song and craft unique, thoughtful, and indisputably appealing tunes.

Rising Winnipeg band Royal Canoe start the evening off, making this a great night to sample many local indie-music flavours.

I recently caught up with Tom and Patrick and peppered them with my patented brand of 11 Questions. In the process, I exposed some revealing things about the two brothers, including: their opinion on the most-underrated band in the city (Tom: Royal Canoe; Patrick: Melissa Hallett); their least-liked bus route (Tom: Charleswood Express; Patrick: whichever one is driven by Dr. Cyclops); and, naturally, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle they prefer (Tom: Donatello; Patrick: Michelangelo).

No one ever says Leonardo. So unloved.

1. Where are you right now?

Tom: Winnipeg, touring a play to schools.
Patrick:  At my home in Winnipeg, trying to be two places at once

Let’s talk Winnipeg…

2. Who is the most underrated Winnipeg-based band?

Patrick: The Girl With X-Ray Eyes A.K.A. Melissa Hallett. She has some of the
weirdest, most poetic music in town, but nobody seems to know about her.
Tom: Royal Canoe - They're amazing.  Great songs to begin with, then the band Matt Peters has put together is a Mennonite supergroup.  Mostly Mennonite supergroup.

3. What is your favourite local venue?

Tom: The new West End.
Patrick:  The New West End Cultural Centre is the best for an upwards of
medium-sized room.

4. Where do you shop for music?

Patrick: Into the Music, Folk Fest Music, Music Trader, Sonus Musica. Haven't been to HMV in a dog's age, but next time I wanna buy a DVD I'll go there.
Tom: Into the Music, Sonus Musica, Music Trader, and lately I've been ordering records from Drag City.

5. Where is the best place to catch a bite?

Tom: Black Sheep Diner for breakfast.  So many contenders for the other meals.  I recently went to Pizzaria Gusto and was impressed.
Patrick: I gotta say I'm leaning towards Inferno Bistro, which has great nouveau
French Cuisine with a fantastic wine list, yet reasonably priced and with
humane service.

6. What is the worst bus route?

Patrick:  The one that the crazy driver who looks like Dr. Cyclops drives.
Tom: Soooo many contenders.  Let's say the Charleswood Express.  Not that I have much call to go to Charleswood.

And some hodgepodge…

7. What is one piece of equipment absolutely essential to your live show?

Tom: My Nova VT Amp.  Made by Sears in the '70s, modified by somebody (I'd like to think Gar Gillies); you can't turn the overdrive channel past 2 or you'll blow your balls off.
Patrick: The audience. That was a trick question!

8. What are your top-five, all-time, desert-island records?

Patrick: I'd bring the Beatles, but their songs are permanently stuck in my head
anyway, so...
  • Don Ellis - Live at Monterey
  • Faith No More - Angel Dust
  • The Church Choir EP
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • And no one should go crazy on a desert island without Shostakovich's 10th symphony by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Mravinsky.

  • Beatles - Abbey Road
  • Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks
  • Bob Dylan - Greatest Hits vol. 2 (see, I'm cheating by picking the double album compilations)
  • Joanna Newsom - Ys
  • The Clash - London Calling
9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Tom: I just finished The Sea by John Banville.  Beautiful.  Sad as shit, though.  And I'm in a constant state of reading By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart.
Patrick: Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka

10. PC or Mac?

Tom: Mac, though sometimes I feel like such a poser, since I don't really see how it's better.  I'm a God damned artsy-fartsy follower.
Patrick: Mac! Tom just doesn't know, man!

11. And finally, a toughie…who is your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael)?

Tom: Donatello.
Patrick: Michelangelo. Nunchucks, chilling and eating pizza, snappy one-liners.
He's got it all.


In The Future...The New Pornographers @ The Garrick!

>> Tuesday, 23 March 2010

This just in: power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers are set to hit the road this spring/summer in support of their fifth release, Together (street date: May 4th). This massive tour includes a stop in Peg City on June 10th at the Garrick Centre. No word yet if the irreplaceable Miss Case will be along for the ride (frustrating, I know). Presale tickets commence tomorrow with generals being offered up on Friday.

First Stars. Now the New Pornographers. Will Broken Social Scene follow suit?


In The Future...Stars @ The Pyramid, Old Man Luedecke, Hannah Georgas, And More!

>> Monday, 22 March 2010

Stars, those fine merchants of love-pop, are embarking on an intimate club tour of North America, a trek which sees the charming quintet pull into the Pyramid on May 10th. This is an incredibly rare opportunity to see a band of Stars’ acclaim and popularity up-close-and-personal, so be ready to pull the trigger when tickets are offered up. This will sell out. Guaranteed. According to Ticketmaster, the presale starts Thursday while the public sale kicks off Saturday morning, with ticket prices running around $29 + fees.

Banjo-wieldin’, 2009 Juno award winnin’, one-man roots-folk act Old Man Luedecke drops by the Folk Exchange on April 6th.

Rising indie-pop star Hannah Georgas is at the West End Cultural Centre on May 12th.

In-Flight Safety and Yukon Blonde play the Lo Pub on April 20th.

Plucky Aussie duo / 11 Questions Alumni An Horse perform at the Park Theatre on June 15th.

2009-Polaris-Prize-Winners Fucked Up rock the West End Cultural Centre on May 17th.

And finally, Vancouver two-piece pop band Makeout Videotape kick start the You Say Party! We Say Die! dance-punk show at the Albert on April 7th.

Infinite Playlist: Jonsi - Go


In The Flesh...Vampire Weekend - Live At Edmonton Events Centre

>> Thursday, 18 March 2010

A ‘holy shit!’-inducing long line of people waiting to get inside. Opportunistic entrepreneurs offering up the sold-out ticket at a (surely inflated) price. Security rooting through bags and patting down fresh-faced concert goers. Fans hemmed in so tight near the stage that even clapping was difficult.

A description of Edgefest ’99, right?

Actually, this was the scene at Vampire Weekend’s sold-out show Sunday night at the prosaically-named Edmonton Events Centre, a venue I’m told houses about 2000. And I was there!

EEC was, much to my surprise and delight, too small for Vampire Weekend. You know, those four unaffected preppies hailing from upstate New York, who love khakis and polos almost as much as bouncy, infectious afropop. Next stop for these lads just might be Rexall Place (Edmonton’s MTS Centre). Or maybe tickets were just too cheap and attracted both diehard and casuals. $26 was a steal of a deal.

No matter. The overly packed house was what it was.

Kicking off their expansive North American tour in support of Billboard-chart-topping Contra (sorry fellow Winnipegers, no dates here yet), the fun-loving foursome surpassed all my expectations, busting through a 75-minute set that covered almost everything to date.

Visually accompanied by five chandeliers dangling above and a blown-up Contra-album-cover backdrop, Vampire Weekend’s beta test for the tour (read: opening night) went smoothly.  Singer/guitarist Ezra Koening, keyboardist Rostam Batmangli, drummer Chris Thomson, and bassist Chris Baio seamlessly reconstructed the many toothsome grooves populating their discography, at times even building on those feel-good summery vibes (“Cape Cod Kwanzaa” was particularly amazing). A live string section would’ve made songs like “M79” even better – the canned strings sounded, well, as best as keys can – but smaller bands like Vampire Weekend don’t really have that luxury. Yet.

As a frontman Ezra Koening proved himself a charming, confident leader with unchecked energy. By show’s end Koening’s light-red plaid shirt was maroon and he had to drape a white towel around his perspiring neck, so he was every bit as sweaty as his enraptured fans.

It was clear to me that the impassioned, dynamic and ridiculously entertaining Vampire Weekend deserves their success, and the troop of excitable fans following in their wake.

Opener The Blow was a mess (no photos, sorry). Essentially a one-woman show, The Blow consisted of a wiry, wispy-haired singer who belted out art-pop numbers over programmed beats, music that was challenging yet still accessible and likeable. Dirty Projectors quickly sprang to mind. Her set was sophomoric and mired in unprofessionalism, making me question whether she had ever performed in front of a crowd (I suspect parts were intentional, but too off-putting to be considered endearing). She asked, mid-song, if she were in key, inquired about how much time she had left, and talked incessantly about a song she wrote for an unnamed celebrity who is “much more attractive than me.” The banter and self-pity triggered many deep groans.

Sometimes it’s best to just shut up and play. Especially when your songs are quite good.

Infinite Playlist: Beach House - Teen Dream


In The Future...Public Enemy, Born Ruffians, Weird Al, And The Lonely Vulcans LP Release

>> Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Immortal. Iconic. Influential.

That's Public Enemy for ya. The trailblazing hip hop troupe stop by the Burton Cummings Theatre for a May 21st concert. Presale password is nation.

Twitchy indie-rockers Born Ruffians play the West End Cultural Centre on June 14th. Their new record, Say It, drops June 1st.

Winnipeg's own The Lonely Vulcans release their LP, Night Date, at the Albert on March 26th.

And finally, the irrepressible lover of song parodies Weird Al Yankovic returns to the MTS Centre on August 5th. 


In The Future...The Winnipeg Folk Festival Lineup + Great Lake Swimmers @ The WECC!

>> Saturday, 13 March 2010

The 2010 Winnipeg Folk Festival Lineup was announced today! Hooray! I'm currently in Edmonton and am about to head out for the day, so I'll keep this brief.

Featured acts are:

Aaron Burnett
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Andrew Bird
Arrested Development
The Avett Brothers
Bette et Wallet
Bo Ramsay
The Cat Empire
Christa Couture
The Dardanelles
Debashish Bhattacharya
Del Barber
Del Rey
Devon Sproule
DJ Dolores
The Duhks
The Dodos
Emmylou Harris
Etran Finatawa
Geoff Muldaur
The Good Lovelies
Greg Brown
Greg MacPherson
Gregory Alan Isakov
Hoots And Hellmouth
Hot Tuna
John Hiatt & The Combo
John K Samson
Jon & Roy
Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Konono No. 1
Ladies of the Canyon
Leeroy Stagger & The Wildflowers
The Levon Helm Band
Lulu and the TomCat
Mauvais Sort
The Moondoggies
Oscar Brand
The Peatbog Faeries
Pieta Brown
The Pines
Pura Fe
Rock Plaza Central
Romi Mayes
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Sam Baker
Sarah Harmer
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
The Soujourners
Sonny Landreth
Steve Dawson's Mississippi Sheiks Tribute
The Swell Season
Tao Seeger
The United Steel Workers of Montreal
The Wailin Jenny's
Wide Open Puppetry
The Wilders
William Elliott Whitmore
Works Progress Administration

Pretty keyed up for Andrew Bird. Sarah Harmer too. Who are you excited to see?

Oh, and in Folk Fest Alumni news, Great Lake Swimmers are at the West End Cultural Centre on June 29th.

Gotta run. Vampire Weekend tomorrow!


In The Future...Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Tom And Patrick Keenan CD Release, Simon & Garfunkel Are Go, And More!

>> Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Update: I'm told the presale password for Simon & Garfunkel is FRIENDS.  

First up, the oft-scuttlebutted Simon & Garfunkel show May 6th at the MTS Centre is a go! Tickets range from $59.25 (Garfunkel only…j/k!) to $238.

Second, local singing/songwriting brothers Tom Keenan and Patrick Keenan release their respective discs March 27th at the West End.

Third, for fans of slick hip-hop Del Tha Funkee Homosapien drops by the Pyramid on April 20th. While he has many accolades under his belt, Del may be best known for rapping during the chorus of “Clint Eastwood”, Gorillaz’ irresistible hip-hop/rock/electronic puree.

Fourth, a mammoth collection of Winnipeg acts are pooling their talents together to perform 75 minutes worth of music from Andrew Llyod Webber’s insanely popular rock opera classic, Jesus Christ Superstar. This Peg City talent show of sorts takes place at the Park Theatre on March 31st and on April 1st.

Members from the following bands will take part:

The Liptonians
Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers
Chic Gamine
Royal Canoe
The New Lightweights
Greg Milka Crowe
From the Moon
Illusive Mind Gypsy Crew
Ten Too Many

Infinite Playlist: Gorillaz – S/T


In The Future...Caribou, Iron Maiden, Chris Velan, And More!

>> Sunday, 7 March 2010

Caribou migrates to town on June 3rd for a date at the Albert, part of a massive North America tour in support of his new album, Swim (street date: April 20) The reason I always always always carry earplugs in my shoulder bag is because of the eardrum bustin’ Caribou experience. Consider this a fair and emphatic caveat, potential Caribou concert goers!

You’ll probably also need earplugs for Iron Maiden who return to the MTS Centre on June 30th.

Winnipeg’s finest funk collective Moses Mayes play the Pyramid on April 24th.

Brother Ali is there on April 5th w/ Fashawn and BK-One.

Songstress Jadea Kelly’s cross-Canada tour includes a stop at the Pyramid on May 6th w/ Rod Hussey.

Hollerado open for the Besnard Lakes on April 28th at the Albert.

Montreal-based musician and 1% For The Planet member Chris Velan is playing in-store sets at Mountain Equipment Co-Ops across Canada to raise “awareness about local environmental issues and those organizations working for change.” This includes a pit stop at MEC’s Winnipeg location on April 14th followed by a Park Theatre appearance later in the evening. For more info, click here.

And finally, on a deeply somber note, the brilliant Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) took his life over the weekend, as Rolling Stone reports. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have caught his amazing live show. He will be severely missed.

Infinite Playlist: Sparklehorse – Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain


In Review...The Album Leaf, Yeasayer

>> Friday, 5 March 2010

The Album Leaf 

A Chorus of Storytellers

Elegantly stylish one-man band Jimmy LaValle – aka The Album Leaf – has made a career out of successfully marrying electronic textures to acoustic ones. Past outings such as the excellent Seal Beach EP have been deeply gorgeous, spacious compositions with little-to-no vocals and little-to-no contributions from other musicians.

With A Chorus of Storytellers, LaValle has let a full band into his carefully orchestrated world of pop-leaning electronics, opting to work alongside his touring band while laying down tracks in the studio. Not surprisingly, it’s his most organic-sounding LP to date.

Chorus is still saturated in late-night, spooky and often melodic ambience, the stuff The Album Leaf’s career was made of. The remote children’s voices on airy opener “Perro” are arrestingly beautiful and, well, signature LaValle; contrast this with the front-and-centre live-sounding drums on “Stand Still” and its clear LaValle’s new vision is working. He just needs to explore it a little further. And add a few more vocals.

-Mykael Sopher

Choice Cuts: “Until the Last”, “Stand Still”, “There is a Wind”
R.I.Y.D. Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky, Stars of the Lid
Label: Sub Pop


Odd Blood

It can be difficult to categorize new music into genres these days, and Brooklyn-based Yeasayer are no exception.

After appearing on the summer, indie roll-call compilation, Dark Was the Night, Yeasayer follow up their 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals, with their brand of experimental rock.  Odd Blood feels brighter than its moody predecessor and lead single, “Ambling Alp”, reflects this change.  The lyrics (“stick up for yourself son/never mind what anybody else done”) are heartening, yet feel lost against an intricate backdrop of drums and horns.

Yeasayer’s music can be described as dense, with transitions often quick and seamless.  But, on “Madder Red” the band strips down to allow Chris Keating’s darker lyrics (“It's getting hard to keep pretending/I'm worth your time”) to surface before the band turns up the tempo on “Mondegreen,” “O.N.E.,” and “Rome” to mixed results.

Odd Blood finds Yeasayer adding more elements to an already complicated formula.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take three years to hear what’s next.

-Daniel Camaclang

Choice Cuts: “Madder Red”, “Mondegreen”, “Ambling Alp”
R.I.Y.D.:  TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, Depeche Mode
Label:  Secretly Canadian


In The Future...Tom Petty, Xavier Rudd, That 1 Guy, Lullabye Arkestra, And More!

>> Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Anyone who missed Tom Petty at the MTS Centre last year - or was it the year before? Time flies like an arrow - get another chance to see him (in non-animated form): the rock icon has booked a return date for June 19th. Joe Cocker kicks off the evening.

That 1 Guy continues to love Winnipeg, swooping into town for a show at the West End on May 2nd. Cheers to that Magic Pipe.

Local music-makin' favs Keith and Renee are there on May 8th.

Courtney Wing performs at the West End on April 6th w/ Royal Canoe.

Oh My Darling’s CD Release is there on April 16th w/ The Good Lovelies.

Lullabye Arkestra rock the party at the Albert on April 9th.

Xavier Rudd drops by the Burton Cummings Theatre for back-to-back nights starting May 25th, promoting his imminent new record, Koonyum Sun (April 19th).

The Balconies open for Ghostkeeper’s March 27th gig at the Lo Pub; the next day they play a free in-store set at Music Trader.

And finally, to borrow from the always-quotable Otto, “You Know Those Guitars That Are Like Double Guitars?”* Well, Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar fame sure does. His blues-rock band GRADY will be at the Pyramid on April 14th.

*Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 1. 

Infinite Playlist: The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers


In The Flesh...Basia Bulat @ The West End Cultural Centre; YACHT @ The Pyramid

>> Monday, 1 March 2010

I apologize for this late write-up. 

But only half-heartedly.

You see, I caught an unshakeable bout of Olympic fever this past week and was particularly immobilized by the ubiquitous Men’s hockey pathogen, a bug I’m told about 80% of Canadians experienced at some point yesterday. Lots of “If Canada wins, then” scenarios happened all week, starting around Wednesday, and those if-then-statements kept going down the "win? play next opponent" side and, well, 8 out of 10 of you know how it turned out: simply golden. Best game...ever?  


With Basia Bulat appearing solo for the first time at the West End, and YACHT docking in Manitoba soil for the first time (@ the Pyramid), I managed to hit both on Thursday night. 

First up: Basia (pronounced Bah-sha). 

Basia’s folk-leaning, bucolic songs are clever, sophisticated, and accessible without being cloying or too poppy. She clutches a temperamental 95-year-old harp to her chest, plucking away with loving care. Between songs she’s charming and funny, and unquestionably passionate about music. And most of all, she has one of the most distinct voices around: her alto is somehow powerful, rich, deep, and inviting all wrapped in one. 

I left the West End impressed and moved, thinking about how Basia deserves all the praise she’s garned so far in her young career and how her new album is even better than the last. 

Female altos are very refreshing. 

With Basia wrapping things up by 10:30, I was able to dash home, watch some figure skating (like I said, Olympic fever), and still get to the Pyramid for midnight. The Pyramid being the Pyramid, YACHT still weren’t on. Finally, while I was stifling yawns, they materialized and entertained with earworms off 2009’s lavish dance-pop album, See Mystery Lights

If I could pick one word to describe their show, it would be playful. The frontcouple - Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans - were joined by opening act Bobby Birdman (on the bass) and a drummer (whose name I scribbled down in the dark, but am unable to decipher). Together, all four were merchants of fun, selling a bona fide good time for the low low cost of $12! Jona was even wearing a stark white suit, forever the salesman signifier. 

There was a little too much audience interaction for my liking – including an overly long impromptu “ask us anything” Q & A session – which left me begging for less talk, more rock dancey electro-pop. 

Infinite Playlist: Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me (Disc One)


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