Sunday, November 27th, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 16
This week’s edition covers a bundle of stuff I recently got from the good people at Boompa out in sunny Vancouver.
|The Ladies & Gentlemen / Small Sins (Boompa)
On this record, The Ladies & Gentlemen are actually just one gentleman, Mr Thom D’Arcy, formerly of Toronto’s Carnations. After the dissolution of his former outfit, D’arcy holed up in his basement and recorded these ten songs all by his lonesome. The warm, burbling keyboards and hushed, intimate vocals create a mellow, late-night vibe, but that laid back-ness is a bit of a rope-a-dope because when the chorus’ swell in “Stay” and “Threw It All Away”, it’s pure pop joy. Since recording the album, D’Arcy has assembled a proper band to bring his bedroom symphonies to the stage as well as kicked off an apparent trend of bands donning all-white stage garb (hello, Dragonette and Islands). Assuming the band enters the studio to record the follow-up as a band, it will be interesting to see how it sounds having more than one cook in the kitchen. The Ladies & Gentlemen are currently on a good old fashioned cross-country tour with Sylvie and Wintersleep.
|Catlow / Kiss The World (Boompa)
Natasha Thirsk used to lead Vancouver’s Dirtmitts but has since struck out on her own under the nom the plume of Catlow. Her debut album will sound pretty familar to anyone who lived through the alterna-girl rock heyday of the early- to mid-nineties, as the combination of Thirsk’s sweet vocals and fuzzed guitars wouldn’t have been out of place alongside Juliana Hatfield, Veruca Salt or Letters To Cleo. There’s snarling rockers, gentle ballads and some electronic-y bits thrown in for good measure. Some of the numbers feel a overly synthetic in the production and the gamut of styles are maybe a little too eclectic for the album’s own good, but Thirsk’s voice is fantastic and a treat to listen to, even if it does make me feel old to realize that it’s been over twelve years since I bought Become What You Are on cassette.
|My Project: Blue / My Project: Blue (Boompa)
It’s kind of fortunate for Vancouver trio My Project: Blue that I’ve been going through a Bowie phase, because it gives me a positive frame of reference for listening to their debut EP. Their mix of glammy/new-wave sounds is built on a bed of acoustic and electric guitars and fat analog synth lines and reminds me a little of a Coles Notes version of Changesbowie. Chad Blue’s warble sounds not unlike Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, though his melodic sense isn’t nearly as twisted. I’m tempted to suggest Jill Southern’s vocals be used to greater effect to offset the eccentricity of Blue’s delivery, but MP:B is probably more interesting if you don’t smooth out the edges. I think it’d be even more interesting if they headed further into left field, creatively, and introduce some more sonic chaos into their sound. The production on the EP is pretty clean and could use a healthier dose of weird… But that’s just me.
np – Wheat / Per Second Per Second Per Second Every Second