In The Know...The Art of Carrying On - Interview w/ Rod Slaughter

>> Sunday, 29 May 2011

Novillero (Slaughter second from left)
Photo: Jason Halstead

If you live in Winnipeg, the chances are you’ve seen indie-pop purveyors Novillero perform at least a few times.

Whether it was their opening set back in 2004 for Stars, a gig that earned the quintet lavish praise from Torquil Campbell, or their packed cd release show in 2008 at the Pyramid Cabaret, Novillero firmly established themselves over the years as one of the city’s most dynamic, memorable, and consistently entertaining live acts.

But since 2009, however, the pop-loving five-piece have faded from the local consciousness with Novillero opting for an extended hiatus.

Two years later, Novillero founder and frontman Rod Slaughter is back, having put together a nascent band with erstwhile bandmate, Dave Berthiaume, called The Shallow End. Fleshed out by the remaining ex-Novillero members, the new act will take part in the bands vs. filmmakers fundraising event for Cinematheque, going down at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, June 2nd.

I recently caught up with Slaughter and asked him about his new band, The Shallow End; his connection with Cinematheque and the event; and the current status of Novillero.

Painting over Silence: So the new band is The Shallow End. When did the band form and who plays in it?

Rod Slaughter: It’s kinda still in formation. Novillero stopped playing quite awhile ago, but we still did a couple shows for whatever reason. John Samson asked if we’d do this benefit and I said, “Well to be honest, I don’t want to do another Novillero show, at least for a little while.” But I had new songs, so I asked Dave (B) if we could flesh out the songs and see how it goes and we would agree to do the show. Then we made up the name. *laughs* Then we ended up asking the other guys in Novillero to help up out for the show anyway.

It kind of all formed just because of the show and if we end up being happy with it, we’ll continue.

PoS: How would you classify the new sound? 

RS: Anything we’re involved in seems to have the same sort of sound, so it sounds a lot like Novillero. But it’s also very minimal. I was in a band before called Duo-Tang that was just bass and drums, and it almost sounded more like a cross between the two but done with piano or guitar instead of bass. But as the guys from Novillero came in, it ended up sounded closer to Novillero.

PoS: Any plans for a Shallow End EP or an early sampler?

RS: Actually, we recorded three songs, just as a demo. It was very, very rough – just Dave and I did it. I don’t know if it’s able to be released or not, but we may consider building upon that and adding more songs and maybe releasing an EP. Everything’s kind of up in the air right now – we don’t even know what will happened after the show. I think Dave and I will continue in some form, but I don’t know who with.

PoS: Do you have a special connection with Cinematheque, perhaps you saw certain films there in the past?

RS: Oh, yeah. The whole time I’ve been in Winnipeg I’ve always loved Cinematheque. There are all sorts of films I’ve seen there. And when I found out they were have difficulties, I thought, “Wow this is definitely a cause I’d like to help out with.”

PoS: The event features a series of bands performing music while a local film or short plays behind you, in the background. Do you know which film you’ll be providing the soundtrack for?

RS: No, I know nothing at this point. *laughs* I was away for sometime, so I’m quite behind.

PoS: And finally, we sort of touched on this earlier, but what’s the current status of Novillero? 

RS: One of the guys, Grant, left back in the summer of 2008. When he left, it was right before we were putting out second album, so we made a commitment to Mint that we would still continue and our friend Reg joined in. Then we did a whole bunch of touring, we were over in Europe and did some show in the States and across Canada. It was great. That was through the fall of 2008 and in 2009 we knew we had to take a break since Shawn, the guitar player in the band, became a father. So he was the second guy in the band to become a dad and at this point we started thinking “wow, we keep taking breaks then just get going before taking another break.” We kind of figured let’s just put this aside for now, and it never really developed again.

Catch The Shallow End this Thursday at the West End Cutlural Centre for the Bands vs. Filmmakers Concert in Support of Cinematheque. Also on the bill is John K Samson, Nathan, The Jaxon 3 with visual by Mike Maryniuk, Heidi Phillips, Aaron Zegers, and Clint Enns. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. 


In Winnipeg Music News...Born Ruffians To Play Free Show, Dam-Funk @ Pyramid, And More!

>> Thursday, 26 May 2011

First off, some major changes to the Jazz Festival: Appleseed Cast (June 18th, Old Market Square) and Quintron & Miss Pussycat (June 21st, Pyramid) are out. Born Ruffians (June 18th, OMS) and Dãm-Funk (June 21st, Pyramid) are in.

And, yes, you read that right: Born Ruffians playing for FREE at Old Market Square.

Speaking of festivals…a reminder: Early bird ticket pricing for the Folk Fest ends on Tuesday, May 31st. Also, add Funky Meters to the Saturday Main Stage Lineup as the evening’s sonic night cap.

Fill in the blanks: Peter Frampton C_____ A_____ at the Pantages Playhouse on September 28th. He’ll be performing said iconic, 70s chart-topping album front to back as well as some new material.

Montreal-based indie-folk artist Charlotte Cornfield plays Times Change(d) on July 28th.

And finally, Vancouver metal act Titans Eve rock Crescent Fort Rogue Church on July 7th.


In Giveaways...Enter To Win A Pair Of Tickets To The Details' CD Release Show

Courtesy of our awesome pals over at the West End Cultural Centre, I've got a pair of physical tickets to giveaway for The Details' CD Release soiree, going down there on Saturday, June 11th with special guests Royal Canoe.

To enter, shoot me an email (address on the right) by Monday, June 6th @ noon with the subject line "The Details' Ticket Giveaway" and your name in the body. I'll draw the winning name just past noon and contact shortly thereafter. One entry per person please.

Look for The Details' much anticipated second release, Lost Art, in stores this Tuesday, May 31st.


In The Know...11 Questions w/ Jenny Berkel

>> Sunday, 22 May 2011

Since she first started performing three years ago, resident singer-songwriter Jenny Berkel has been winning over audiences, thanks to her earnest, sincere song craftsmanship, deeply affecting voice, and sharp, poetic lyrics.

This Wednesday night (the 25th) at the Lo Pub, Berkel is holding an album fundraiser and tour kickoff show. Joining her on the bill are local musical acts The Crooked Brothers, Fire & Smoke, and The Empty Standards with proceeds from the event will go toward her debut full-length, due out this fall.

I recently caught up with Berkel and asked her 11 questions. Here’s what she had to say.

11 Questions…

1. Where are you right now?

Sitting at the table with my first cup of coffee, looking out the window at downtown Winnipeg.

Let’s talk Winnipeg…

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

I just heard Bobby Desjarlais (Attica Riots and the Bokononists) for the first time and was completely captivated by his voice and performance.

3. What is your favourite local venue?

Photo Credit: Bryan Scott 
You can always count on a good show at the Times Change(d). But I love the sound at the Park Theatre.

4. Where do you shop for music?

I have the unfortunate habit of moving around too much, so I don't collect anything. Right now I buy music online - not my preference, but it's all I've got. I'm looking forward to the day I can get a record player and fill my rooms with tangible music.

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

Deseo - it's in the sun room attached to the front of the Albert, and has the most perfect atmosphere. The food is delicious and the coffee is extra strong. They also feature live music during Saturday's brunch, from noon until two o'clock.

6. What’s the worst bus route in the city?

Any bus route off of Portage seems daunting. And that number 29 is very elusive. I can never catch it.

7. What are some albums that completely changed your life?

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon
Years ago, I found a scratched up copy of this at work and brought it home. I was living alone for the first time, and must have listened to it hundreds of times - she filled my apartment just right.

Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
I can remember the exact moment I first heard anything from this album. It was "Landlocked Blues," a duet with Emmylou Harris - I was working at a summer camp (as a nurse, strangely), and my boss showed this to me. I went out and bought the album immediately.

8. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

Wooden Arms by Patrick Watson. The whole package is beautiful.

9. What TV shows are you currently following?

I haven't owned a television since departing the family home. But if I did have one, I'd probably still be watching episodes of Road to Avonlea...

10. What is your current ringtone?

I think it's called "classic."

11. And finally, would you rather have the ability to fly or turn invisible?

Fly - I'd feel creepy being invisible.


In Winnipeg Music News...Jenny Berkel CD Fundraiser Show; The Details To Open For Jimmy Eat World

>> Friday, 20 May 2011

Local songstress Jenny Berkel is holding an album fundraiser and tour kickoff show at the Lo Pub on May 25th. Joining her on the bill is resident folk acts The Crooked Brother, Fire & Smoke, and The Empty Standards. Look for her full length album sometime this fall. Check back this weekend for "11 Questions..." with the up-and-coming singer-songwriter. 

Winnipeg's  The Details have officially landed the prime opening spot for Jimmy Eat World, next Thursday the 26th at the Garrick. 

Toronto act Dearly Beloved open for Sloan, May 28th @ The Pyramid.

Vancouver’s Unleash The Archers rock the Albert on June 1st alongside Laika, Alphakill, and Pathogenic.

Triple bill going down at the Albert on June 6th: Man Your Horse, The Roots in Fluents and Morlords.

The Provincial Archive - fresh off just playing, well, the Manitoba Provincial Archives - make a return trip to Winnipeg for a gig at the Lo Pub on June 6th. 

Spend an evening with Viking Metal band Amon Amarth on August 9th at the Garrick. 

And finally, The Warped 45s play Times Change(d) on June 30th.


In Winnipeg Music News...Pearl Jam @ MTS Centre

>> Monday, 16 May 2011

90s Grunge demi-gods Pearl Jam are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ten with a Canadian tour, a ten-city trek that sees Eddie Vedder & the boys rock the MTS Centre on Saturday, September 17th. Tickets are reasonably priced (relatively) at 69.50 for all sections ($81.50 inc. fees & taxes) and are slated to go on sale next Friday, the 27th of May.

And according to the official press release, $2 from every ticket "will be donated to Vitalogy Foundation, which grants funds to non-profit organizations chosen personally by the members of Pearl Jam."


In Winnipeg Music News...An Horse @ Park Theatre; Miri @ The Albert

>> Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Brisbane indie exports An Horse return to Winnipeg for a date at the Park Theatre on June 27th w/ Enjoy Your Pumas. The duo are touring in support of their sophomore release, Walls, which dropped on April 26th.

Icelandic alt-rockers Miri make their debut at the Albert in two days (May 13th) as part of this year's Nuna Festival.

And finally, Southern arena rockers Kings of Leon play the MTS Centre on October 4th. Band of Horses to open? Stay tuned.


In Photos...Library Voices, The Liptonians @ The Lo Pub

>> Friday, 6 May 2011

Library Voices w/ The Liptonians
The Lo Pub
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Winnipeg, MB

The Liptonians

Library Voices

All photos by Sarah Gofflot


In Winnipeg Music News...Ms. Lauryn Hill @ Centennial Concert Hall; Kjartan (of Sigur Ros) to play with WSO

>> Sunday, 1 May 2011

Couple of exciting shows to pass along...

Ex-Fugees leader Ms. Lauryn Hill is playing a solo set at the Centennial Concert Hall on May 30th. Public sales gets underway on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Way, way, way into the future news... On February 3rd, 2012 Kjartan Sveinsson (Sigur Ros's keyboardist) will be performing an original piece, Credo (Latin for "I Believe"), with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Concert Hall. According to the WSO's site, the piece "is an exquisite work that conjures luminous intensity within a contemplative bliss that verges on the mystical" which pretty much describes Sigur Ros's catalogue too.

Distinguished Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson will also be showcasing a new work on the same night, alongside the WSO.


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