Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 85
This is Canadian Music Week so to mark the occasion, three records from bands who are not playing Canadian Music Week. Huzzah!
|The D’Urbervilles / We Are The Hunters (Out Of This Spark)
The debut full-length from Guelph’s D’Urbervilles crackles with the anticipation of some bad shit going down. The tension of the band straining to bust loose is tangible but singer/guitarist John O’Regen keeps everything barely in check with his almost preternaturally calm vocals – even when he’s shouting he sounds calm. It’s as though he knows that this musical knife fight is just the prelude to something even bigger coming around the corner. If there’s a complaint, it’s that that something bigger never quite manages to arrive – there’s post-punk border skirmishes and disco-rock commando strikes, but each only seems to be pointing to something bigger just over the next ridge and it’s that epic, battle of Mordor finale that never quite arrives. But maybe it’s for the best because the build up is tremendous and if was to actually deliver a worthy climax, heads might quite literally explode. A rather stunning record from a band that I didn’t know had it in them. I salute them.
The D’Urbervilles play a CD release show with labelmates Forest City Lovers at the Tranzac on Friday, March 14 and tour across Canada through late March and most of April.
|Kara Keith / Kara Keith (Saved By Radio)
Kara Keith, former frontwoman for Calgary’s Falconhawk, drives her piano like a runaway car. She careens from the theatricality of “Gorgeous Gets The Gold” through the crashing power pop of “Kick This City” before skidding into the baroque tension of finale “Knosses”, and of course she gets up and walks away without a scratch on her. She’s obviously well trained on the keys but that doesn’t stop her from delivering the goods with irreverence, genuine punk rock zeal and enough stylistic ADD (know what goes great with angelic choral vocals? Massive fuzz bass!) to make the record’s 13-minute running time feel like even more of a whirlwind experience – but one that merits hitting the “repeat” button over and over again.
|The Paper Cranes / Halcyon Days (Unfamiliar)
I’d almost forgotten that I reviewed the Paper Cranes’ debut EP Veins a couple years ago, though re-reading that piece doesn’t do much to remind me what I thought of it. I seemed rather fixated on singer Ryan McCullagh’s yelping and while yes, his vocals on the full-length will be a comfort for those who seek no cure for clapping hands, saying yeah or shouting out loud, they’re no longer the object of fixation for me. Maybe I’ve grown, maybe he’s grown, but either way it’s the songs and not the singing that stuck in my head this time around. They’re no longer easily pigeonholed as new wave or post-punk or whatever label jaggy guitars and, um, yelpy vocals usually garner – they’re still obviously children of the ’80s but there’s a melodic sophistication that mines a more timeless vein of pop songcraft.
The Paper Cranes play the Wrong Bar this Thursday night, March 6. Yes, it’s during Canadian Music Week. No, it’s not a Canadian Music Week show. And no, this is not the same band that’s opening for R.E.M. at SxSW next week – that’s a different Papercranes. Oh the difference a space makes.