Sunday, October 22nd, 2006
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 53
|The Awkward Stage / Heaven Is For Easy Girls (Mint)
For Vancouverites The Awkward Stage, their name is a much a mission statement as an identity. Main man Shane Nelken has crafted a dozen lush, lightly orchestral pop songs that live in that wonderfully awful period of life known as adolescence. You can just picture the adult Nelken, dapper in his funeral home finery (he works as a cremationist), strolling through a high school dance tossing off deliciously barbed and insightful observations about the horrors of the attendees’ existance and informing them in his slightly arch voice all that it doesn’t actually get better when they grow up. And then they cry. And we laugh. And then cry ourselves because it’s true. The Awkward Stage in Toronto to play a free show at the Horseshoe on Tuesday night – on at 9:45PM – and an in-store at 6 Shooter Records out in Leslieville (1118 Queen St. E) at 7PM.
|The Yoko Casionos / These Are The New Old Times (Universal)
Also from Vancouver and with a name that I can’t decide if it’s great or awful (but definitely memorable) are the Yoko Casionos – no concepts here except loud, punchy guitar pop. This band has been around for some time in various incarnations and were based for a time in Toronto, so while this is their first full-length, it’s got the polish and confidence of a veteran act. The tight boy-girl vocals come genetically, courtesy of twin frontpersons Misty and Chad Reid, and the music is loud, brash and hooky with the right balance of sweet and snotty. That it manages to stay uptempo throughout without becoming exhausting is a pretty impressive feat. They’re almost done with a massive 28-date, cross-Canada tour supporting Sloan though the Toronto date earlier this month was cancelled and has been rescheduled for November 30 at the Kool Haus. And check out the Ride cover streaming on their MySpace page!
|The Submarines / Declare A New State! (Nettwerk)
The backstory for The Submarines is essential for understanding and appreciating this record. Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti were a couple of solo artists in Boston who began working together and then got involved romantically. The relationship eventually dissolved but the fallout provided the inspiration to write the material that would eventually become Declare A New State!, which the pair improbably and possibly ill-advisedly decided to work together on. But over the course of making the record, the couple reconciled and eventually got married. Awwwwwwww. But putting aside the happy ending for a moment, remember that the record itself is actually a breakup record and as such, is full of sad and forlorn but most importantly beautiful pop songs. The vocals are split almost equally between Dragonetti and Hazard and considering the context of its creation, the resulting he-said, she-said gives it a tremendous emotional depth and resonance and the final result is quite possibly the most real and sincere record you’ll hear this year.
np – Ohbijou / Swift Feet For Troubling Times