Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Tamara Lindeman was 31 years old when she recorded her latest album as the Weather Station, which is significant. “Thirty” is a song about surviving that milestone birthday, about the small moments that define that time of life: “You put your hand on the small of my back, I was surprised that you’d touch me like that.” The song builds speed and momentum, getting faster and faster with each new memory, much like life itself. And Lindeman stands in the middle of the storm, trying to make sense of one moment before the next moment hits. “That was that year, now here is another one.”

On astonishing artistic statement The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman homes in on her rebellious core to express some of the finest musical sentiments Canada has conjured. A mood and scene-setter, Lindeman delves into the complexity of interpersonal relationships and, in particular, the tricks and treachery of soul mate communication. It’s not always easy, and neither is the Weather Station.

Often citing the writing of Steven Lambke, like he’s a mentor, Lindeman approaches language like a dancing partner but also like a foe. Often, as on the flurry of imagery that propels “Thirty” or “Kept it All to Myself,” she lets loose emotive lyrical torrents that haunt the listener.

Beyond her gift for phrasing and alluring voice, Lindeman also shows off an ear for arrangements and production here. The musicality is uniquely orchestral and sophisticated; the back-up vocalists are utilized with subtle strength. This is the Weather Station, ascending with the grace of a heron to full flight.

The Weather Station’s S/T album was released October 6th, 2017 on Paradise of Bachelors (worldwide), http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/po… as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date, a work of profound urgency and artistic generosity.

The palpable freedom emanating from Tamara Lindeman’s fourth long-playing album as The Weather Station is unmistakable, and completely intentional. Stepping aside from a successful acting career, and taking the reigns in the recording studio, the Toronto-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has crafted her most intrepid, stirring, and successful work to date. All it took was a load of gumption.

She cracks that the new album is her rock and roll record. There’s of course a grain of truth in every joke. “There was this excitement around what would happen if I blended my sensibility with that spirit,” she says. “That devil-may-care attitude.” By that she means that she had to actively work against most of her natural instincts in the studio—to be less careful, less cautious, and totally unselfconscious in her decision to stand up to male assertion. “I knew exactly what I wanted, and I just realized that it was actually better if I didn’t listen to anyone else,” she adds.

It’s an environmental reality most women have had to face. The overcoming of this quiet oppression, this subtle misogyny, becomes an unwanted career milestone—the product of a deep-rooted, male-centric ideology that remains a de facto force in creative and corporate settings. “Lord, Give Me the Confidence of a Mediocre White Man” is an oft-memed phrase for a reason.

Lindeman explains that she’s never worked with a female producer, and in her experience men in that role exude finality in their point of view, often ignoring the artist’s input altogether. As a self-proclaimed introvert and someone to whom leadership does not come naturally, she adds that she had to tap into her acting chops to construct a reality where her opinions of her own work negated outside input. She adds that men have a keen ability to make their opinion seem like the truth. “But in the end, that’s just one opinion, that’s how it sounds to you,” she says. “I just had to pretend to myself that my opinions were the Word of God.”

The new, self-titled album’s eleven songs unfold and build upon one another like chapters in a captivating memoir. They’re moving yet unsentimental, welcoming listeners aboard a passenger train between heart, brain, and larynx.

“I just had to pretend to myself that my opinions were the Word of God.”

“All these years I have followed you / It never occurred to you to follow me,” she sings on album opener “Free.” The song acts as a mission statement, the trailhead of a path through introspection and liberation, surrounded by swaying guitar, stringed breezes, and chirping piano. It’s familiar and yet deeply personal, merging universal truth and individual experience. It describes the making of the record, and the feeling throughout the end result. It’s a painful realization—and a battle cry.

Like any great book, the LP’s effortless quality comes from a mastery of craft. Each song has a stream-of-consciousness quality, but in fact endures rounds of re-imagining and revision. Lindeman begins with a germ, a seed of a song, and incubates it by recording different, largely spontaneous versions on the theme with just guitar and voice. She plays them back, transcribes them, and then fuses together her favorite parts for a finished song.

Album standout “Impossible” began with what became its apex: the line “I guess I got the hang of it, the impossible.” She knew immediately that the very loaded observation deserved a wider exploration. Despite the universality of the song’s crux, she sought a very personal narrative to surround it. An early version didn’t tap far enough into any specific place in time, and ended up on the cutting room floor. “It doesn’t feel right if I write a song that’s too vague,” she says. “All the lyricists I admire have moments where it’s universal and moments where it’s specific. There’s a perfect balance that I’m always striving for.”

Like any red-blooded Canadian, Lindeman cites Leonard Cohen as a lyrical hero, but with a caveat. “Bob Dylan is also the best,” she says. “Leonard is better in a lot of ways, and I think he’s the best, but you need Bob, too.” She also mentions Canadian compatriots of the contemporary music scene in the same breath. Artists like Jennifer Castle have inspired her own free-form approach to songcraft, which emphasizes lyrical narrative, rhythmic phrasing, and organic instrumentation over traditional verse-chorus formatting. It’s a signature mark of artists like Joni Mitchell and Mary Margaret O’Hara, and one increasingly present in the new age of singer/songwriters like Lindeman, who deftly manages to work a multitude of cohesive feelings, ideas, and actual words into her songs.

When asked about her approach to phrasing, her voice piques with excitement. “People don’t talk about phrasing, but it’s so key,” she explains. She adds that while she doesn’t have a deep knowledge of the canon, rap music has influenced the quality of her sung words. “You can’t help but notice the ingenuity pouring out of that genre right now,” she says. “What people are doing in rap is much more distinctive than what people are doing in folk music… Having rap permeate the culture has really affected me.”

For an album with a remarkable series of firsts, from self-producing to string arranging, The Weather Station spins like a classic work from a storied professional, steeped in equal parts confidence, grace, and duende—that intangible spirit of passion. And all this despite disapproving forces in the studio. “There were people around me who didn’t like the record,” Lindeman says. “I was like, ‘OK, I gotta see this through.’” The result is a triumph of character and expression. A singular vision swimming upstream in a sea of know-better.

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Austra is a JUNO nominated electronic pop project from Toronto, created by Katie Stelmanis in 2009 and includes three other players. Future Politics is album number three. It offers a tighter, punchier sound than the previous two with addictive beats and instant likeability. Lyrically, the songs are smart in not offering specific political ideas in a world where a cacophony of entrenched opinions and opposing interests is flourishing fiercely, scattering humanity into different antagonistic camps. Universal themes are touched upon, for example that both exploitation and mendicancy are undeserving of praise.

Katie also re-introduces the subject of alienation by technology, certainly truer in today’s world with ubiquitous cell phone finger tapping. She does this, however, with a warmer presentation than grim visions presented by say Ultravox in “Dislocation”. As such, the album has more of a hopeful vision of the future and inspires us to be creative in conjuring up new and better systems of society than the worn-out models of today. And amidst the chaos and the hostile arguments, it reminds us too, via the cover, that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Austra’s Future Politics offers a refreshing cleanse for wearied minds.

Whitby, Ontario’s Tom Meikle, through Paper Bag Records, presented his debut album “A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone” under moniker Mappe Of. Lyrically, he populates the disc with an interesting gang of characters: a disturbed boy setting fire to his family’s home, a vagabond in Australia who’s disavowed all family ties, a Canadian youth figuring life out overseas, and an elder dying from Alzheimer’s who can’t recognize his family. Musically, the album is a dreamy, meta-dimensional sequence of alternative folk masterpieces. Mappe Of blends synthesizers with organic instruments including guitars (both acoustic and electric), trumpets, violins, kalimba, and autoharp. Where you allow this album to take you is entirely up to you; it’s filled with sonic magic.

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Darlene Shrugg is the point where loads of great artists meet. The Toronto-based outfit originally came together four years ago, but their live shows and recorded output has been sporadic. They also have little to no presence online, so keeping tabs on their movements has involved some extra leg work. Nothing on record, nothing streaming, nothing on YouTube.

The project was put together by Maximilian Turnbull (used to be Slim Twig) and Simone TB, who for a decade, played in the band TropicsU.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy joined up, along with Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist from electro-pop band Ice Cream.

Now, Fucked Up guitarist Young Guv convinced them to get in the studio and record some material. The result is an album, self-titled, coming out on Upset The Rhythm due out on 27th October. For its first three quarters, the song is an intoxicating ambient symphony, atop which Remy’s angelic vocal floats as if awaiting a lakeside baptism. But in its final minute, the swirling strings and choral harmonies are rudely upended by a frenetic, fuzz-rockin’ finale ‘Strawberry Milk’ is the first track they’ve shared from it. Don’t let the ambient beginnings fool you.

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The Band: DARLENE SHRUGG is:
Carlyn Bezic
Amanda Crist
Meg Remy
Simone TB
Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull

Life After Youth is the first Land of Talk album since 2010’s Cloak and Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak and Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a followup. Instead, a series of mishaps – post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father’s stroke in 2013 – turned “a few months” into “a few years”.

While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops.
Life After Youth’s centerpiece track, “Inner Lover,” presents the most radical results of those experiments. It’s an audio Rorschach test of a song: key in on the incessant synth pulse underpinning Elizabeth’s pleading vocal (“take care of me!”) and the track assumes an ominous intensity. But when you surrender to the relaxed drum counter-rhythm and subliminal harmonies, “Inner Lover” projects a graceful serenity.

Even the songs built atop more traditional rock foundations exist in that liminal space between dreaming and waking life, confidence and doubt, raw feelings and soothing sounds. “Yes You Were” opens the record with a cold-start surge that’s overwhelming in its immediacy, with Elizabeth’s furiously strummed guitar jangle and wistful lyricism bearing all the adrenalized excitement and nervous energy of seeing old friends (or, in her case, fans) for the first time in ages. And as its title suggests, “Heartcore” is a collision of soft-focus sonics and emotional intensity, with Elizabeth’s crystalline vocals hovering above a taut, relentless backbeat and disorienting synth squiggles. Even the turn-a-new-leaf optimism of “This Time” is presented less as a triumphant comeback statement than a warm reassuring embrace—its beautifully dazed ‘n’ confused psych-pop swirl acts as a calming force as you hurtle toward life’s great unknown. 

Fitting for a song about reconnecting with the world, “This Time” was the product of another fortuitous reunion—between Elizabeth and her old friend Sharon Van Etten, who lent her songwriting smarts and heavenly harmonies to that track, as well as “Heartcore” and the Fleetwood Mac-worthy “Loving.” And Van Etten is just one member of a veritable indie-rock dream team Elizabeth recruited to complete the album: the moonlit ballad “In Florida” was recorded by producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) in his New Jersey studio, with Elizabeth backed by former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Roxy Music/Sparks bassist Sal Maida.  To paraphrase the late David Bowie, it’s been seven years, and Elizabeth’s brain hurt a lot. But she stands today as the patient-zero case study for Life After Youth’s therapeutic powers. These are the songs that got her through the tough times. And now, they can do the same for you.
released May 19th2017

This Time – from Land Of Talk’s album ‘Life After Youth’ OUT NOW

SHY KIDS – ” The Middle “

Posted: December 1, 2017 in MUSIC
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This is a cheeky sort of track illustrating the current division in American politics. The Canadian rockers croon out and turn up the catchy lyrics like a male version of Haim“Some like it hot / some like it cold / I like it right in the middle” describes the band’s apathy toward the current climate on the exciting track. The band has created a slew of viral videos that have amassed an impressive 10 million views and gained the attention from the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and SnapchatThey have a multimedia approach to their craft that is indicative of the stage of musical artistry we currently live in. Sometimes you simply need a straightforward rock tune to escape the stress of this modern life. Shy Kids have you covered.

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Toronto trio shy kids released their new song, “The Middle,” taken from their forthcoming sophomore album, In A State.

On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date, a work of profound urgency and artistic generosity. “Timeless… Measured, perceptive storytelling. A singer with an unmistakable & communicative voice, able to convey hope & hurt with equal clarity.” – Pitchfork

“She writes literate songs with unusual precision & sings them in an understated, open-hearted way that lends good poetry the directness of conversation.” – Uncut

“Bob Dylan aside, the singer-songwriter I’ve listened to most over the past year, & to whom I expect to be paying attention for many more to come, is Tamara Lindeman, who, under the name the Weather Station, performs songs notable for a conversational fluency, a diarist’s powers of observation, & a quiet refusal of emotional simplicities.” – Richard Williams, The Guardian

The Weather Station’s S/T album is out October 6th, 2017 on Paradise of Bachelors (worldwide), Outside Music (Canada), & Spunk Records (AU/NZ).

The Weather Station is the fourth—and most forthright—album by The Weather Station, the project of Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Her most fully realized statement to date, it is a work of profound urgency, artistic generosity, and joy. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence.

“I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The result is a spirited, frequently topical tour de force that declares its understated feminist politics, and its ambitious new sonic directions, from its first moments. On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories.

Her previous album Loyalty was recorded at La Frette Studios in France in the winter of 2014 with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist). Nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, it earned praise from The Guardian, Pitchfork, NPR Music, Uncut, and MOJO, among many others, who celebrated its delicate, carefully worded verse, filled with double meanings, ambiguities, complex metaphors, and rich details of the everyday.

The Weather Station’s S/T album is out October 6th, 2017 on Paradise of Bachelors (worldwide), Outside Music (Canada), & Spunk Records (AU/NZ).

METZ – ” Cellophane “

Posted: September 24, 2017 in MUSIC
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From their just released, Steve Albini-produced album Strange Peace’ (September 22nd via SubPop Records), Toronto noise punks Metz reveal the video to the record’s first single cut ‘Cellophane’.

Directed by Shayn Ehman, who describes the clip as a venture where “consciousness is split, and a world of contrast unfolds.” All customers who pre-order the LP version of ‘Strange Peace’ from the Sub Pop Mega Mart will receive the album on Loser Edition colored vinyl,

The band head to the UK later this year.
Live dates in November
22 London The Garage
23 Bristol The Fleece
24 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
25 Brighton The Haunt

Weaves

Weaves “Wide Open,” the follow up to the Polaris Shortlisted, self-titled debut, will be out October 6th! 

You can pre-order vinyl and cd above. First 100 US vinyl pre-orders are blue haze colored vinyl. Limited edition . Buzz Records is releasing the album in Canada and Memphis Industries rest of world. Weaves have said

“We debuted a new song at last night’s Polaris Music Prize gala alongside Tanya Tagaq – it’s called Scream”.

We don’t want to say featuring Tanya Tagaq because she is a force! A friend! And a mentor! This song was written out of necessity in a way. Feeling lost in the world and just releasing negative energy and Tanya just made the experience of creating Scream so special. She is such a beautiful, raw artist. So happy to have collaborated with her on this one.

The lineup: Jasmyn Burke (vocals), Morgan Waters (guitar), Zach Bines (bass), Spencer Cole (drums).