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Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Let's Trade Skins

While I will freely admit that I probably don’t give enough ink to worthy Toronto acts, the only one I actually feel guilty about not having written up before now is Mr Tony Dekker – he who is Great Lake Swimmers. I’d seen GLS a few times live – always opening for someone else, never on purpose – but always walked away very impressed and thinking, “I need to get some of that boy’s records”. And never got around to it until recently, when I picked up a copy of their latest release Bodies And Minds.

It’s a gorgeous record, with Dekker’s plaintive voice skipping overtop the gently fingerpicked guitar and ghostly backing band of pedal steel, organ and banjo like a pebble on a perfectly still lake. Recorded in a church, the vibe is intimate and spacious at the same time – like being curled up in a little ball on a wide open plain. And, as you can tell, it has a way of eliciting nature metaphors from those trying to describe it. Though primarly composed of slow, sad songs, tracks like “When It Flows” prove that Dekker can write more upbeat, poppier material if he chooses to. But considering the sad-eyed, sepia-toned melancholy that’s innate to Dekker’s voice and pen, there wouldn’t be a word of complaint if he stuck only to the downbeat, slowcore-ish material – he’s just so good at it.

It’s also interesting that whether playing solo or with his band, the songs always feel perfectly accompanied – truly a testament to the sensitivity the players have for the material. I expect the full band will be out this Saturday afternoon when Great Lake Swimmers performing on a Great Lake at 2:00PM as part of Indie Unlimited at Harbourfront Centre. Anyone asking the band if they’re going to go for a swim will be summarily removed. Amy Millan, whose Honey From The Tombs was just released in the US to lukewarm reviews, is on at 3:30.

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Various Stages”
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Bodies And Minds”
Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “To Leave It Behind”
MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers

Chart talks to Joel Gibb about what lays ahead for The Hidden Cameras, both with respect to new album AWOO and beyond as well as his love of Toronto. The Hidden Cameras will headline the aforementioned Indie Unlimited festival at Harbourfront on Saturday. They’re on at 9:30 PM.

And the Sunday schedule at Harbourfront ain’t too shabby either… unless you like singers. The mainstage acts will be vibraphone love-fest The Hylozoists, with whom Tandem has a brief chat, and Arcade Fire alumnus Belle Orchestre. The former are on at 3PM, the latter at 4:30.

Cokemachineglow talks to Sadies bassist Sean Dean about live album In Concert, Volume One and playing live in general, The Montreal Mirror chats up Travis Good and The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle talks to Dallas about pretty much the same. No one wanted to talk to Mike Belitsky, I guess. Pitchfork gave In Concert a 7.5.

Today’s post is kind of slight – I spent much of last night prepping for tonight’s Shoegaze cover show at the Tranzac, which I shall be DJ-ing in incredibly lazy fashion. Which is to say, I’ve burned a few mix CDs and will just be letting those spin through the night. Don’t give me that look. No one’s coming out to see me play Rob Gordon – they’re going to be there to see Fjord Rowboat, Wyrd Visions, No Dynamics, The Assistants and T.O. supergroup The Black Rabbit pay homage to the best music of the early 90s at probably excruciating volumes. Oh baby. But yeah, things get under way at 9PM so come on out. I dare you.

np – Dirty On Purpose / Hallelujah Sirens

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. uwmryan says:

    I really like the Great Lake Swimmers. I got to a show he/they were opening for Andrew Bird really early once and he did a lot of Tom Waits covers for soundcheck that were simply amazing.

  2. john says:

    I am intrigued by your post and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  3. Greg says:

    Looking forward to tonight :)

  4. juepucta says:

    Tonight the shoegazing rabbit rises!

    -G.

  5. makeda says:

    I’m almost tempted to make requests to see what kind of lies you’ll tell me. Will you smile and nod? Will you tell me you don’t have the song I’m requesting? Only one way to find out!

  6. Dan says:

    "I Will Never See The Sun" from the eponymous disc is my favourite GLS song. The local TTC content makes it good.

  7. geekent says:

    GLS are fab
    Hidden Cameras, also fab (just picked up new album… an intriguing departure)

    Other suggested toronto acts… well I have lots, but I recommend you come out to the Golden Dogs cd release party Sept 15 @ El Mo(the Dogs are great, and the 6ixty 8ights opening for them I like even more)

    Oh, and a friend from the UK is pulling me to that shoegaze thing so your presence is a happy surprise. Just trying to remember where the hell Tranzac is.

  8. Alan says:

    frank, thought you’d like to know that jambands.ca is running a contest featuring Frontier Index… If you’d like to link to it feel free, I know you’ve talked up these lads before.

    http://www.jambands.ca/sanc

  9. Brad says:

    Play Stairway….

  10. Chris says:

    Hey Frank,

    On a fairly unrelated theme, i wondered which you’d recommend out of the new Mountain Goats and Lambchop albums. i’m a fan of both bands but funds are limited at the moment. I’ve heard they’re both very low key records but i wondered which had the edge in your opinion?

  11. Frank says:

    mountain goats. lambchop is good but Mountain Goats is powerful.

    No question.

  12. Dave says:

    Great Lake Swimmers are pretty fantastic.