Friday, December 15th, 2006
The Voice Within
Howe Gelb, who so dazzled at Pop Montreal in his Giant Sand guise is back in Toronto this Sunday with Ottawa’s Voices Of Praise gospel choir as The ‘Sno Angel Project, from whence his latest album ‘Sno Angel Like You got it’s name. Mixing new compositions with old ones rejigged for the format (compare the drunken roar of “Get To Leave” in it’s original form on Long Stem Rant with the hushed hymnal of that opens ‘Sno Angel), the record is bluesy and spiritual and despite its wintry title and Canadian origins, still carries a lot of Gelb’s trademark raffishness and distinctive Arizonan desert vibe throughout.
Released back in March, ‘Sno Angel is a slow, subtle and steady grower and has been a real late-year favourite for me – just in time for Sunday’s show. This one’s got my highest recommendation to check out, so if you’re free on Sunday night then I strongly urge you to head over to Lee’s – this is one of only three shows he’s doing with the ‘Sno Angel Project (they play Montreal and Ottawa tonight and tomorrow respectively) so you should go, if not for yourself than for the Gelb fans out there who’d probably give their left arm to be there. They go on at 9:15 – tickets are still available, $17.50 advance and $20 at the door.
He discusses the transcendent experience of the live performance with eye and the making of the album with NOW and The Toronto Star. Back in the Spring, he talked to Harp about discovering the Voices Of Praise choir and his long-simmering feud with former collaborators Calexico. And despite being one of the best-reviewed albums of 2006, I’ve noticed it to be conspicuously absent from many year-end lists which is really a damn shame.
Ottawa’s The Acorn are at Lee’s tonight with Elliott Brood and in regards to their new EP Tin Fist, this five-star review at eye says everything I would want to, only more articulately. It, and its short-form predecessor Blankets! are both wonderful and almost set the bar impossibly high for their full-length due out next Spring but you know what? I’m not worried. The Acorn are on at 11PM tonight.
And as long as I’m raiding this week’s eye for fodder, I’ll point out this nifty Great Lake Swimmers item – the Zunior/Great Lake Swimmers digital box set. It’s a USB drive with digital versions of the first two GLS albums, the new Hands In Dirty Ground EP, tour photos and the video for “To Leave It Behind”. Cute, eh? For those not so technologically inclined the new EP will also be available on 10″ vinyl. Tony Dekker tells The Waterloo Record to look for a new Great Lake Swimmers full-length in the Spring. And Zunior also has a free holiday mix available to download.
Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy discusses his next album, Heartland, with Pitchfork. He also talks about how he spent his Polaris winnings and his work with Arcade Fire, who are finally ready to drop their new album. It’s called Neon Bible, will be out in March and you can hear the first single, “Intervention”, at ArcadeFire.net. Update: MP3 is gone but link to BBC webcast from which it was taken is available. Expect Toronto show(s) to be announced soon-ish, as well. There are rumours flying about the where and when but I will refrain from spreading gossip until it’s confirmed.
The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers about the art of songwriting. Newman and co will be at Nathan Phillips Square on February 3 as part of the WinterCity 2007 festival. Thanks to For The Records for the link to the sked.
Looking way ahead, Edmonton’s Shout Out Out Out Out are at Lee’s Palace on March 3, tickets $13.50.