Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Bring On The Waves
Photo via MySpace
When it comes to multi-day, acronym-ed, club-hopping music festivals I think that coming away with one new discovery that genuinely excites is a pretty good return for all the pavement pounding that inevitably goes into it. I’m not talking about acts that are already familiar or favoured, but ones that you take a chance on based on a single song or a couple MySpace streams. For me, this past NxNE, that honour went to London, England’s 6 Day Riot.
While I didn’t pick up any of their releases at the show – something I regretted a couple hours later when I realized I was still humming their songs – I rectified that posthaste, acquiring both a copy of their debut 2007 full-length Folie a Deux and their new EP Bring On The Waves, which is currently available in physical form from the band (not sure where else) and will be available digitally on iTunes and such as of August 11. Consequently the two records kind of blur into one in my mind and impressions are relative to either.
Building their ornate folk-pop compositions from blueprints loosely translated from Baltic and Gallic languages, the first reference points that come to mind might be the likes of Beirut or DeVotchKa (more the former than the latter) but the sprightly execution and crystalline vocals of singer/guitarist Tamara Schlesinger, often accompanied on harmony by co-conspirator Soren Bonke, set them apart as their own band. Their repertoire is divided up between boisterous clap/sing/stomp/dance-alongs and more pensive numbers, all arranged and executed beautifully and with a melodic skill and ingenuity that would be impressive from much more seasoned bands, let alone one so tender. And while the prevailing mood is jubilant, closer inspection of the lyrics reveal that even behind the widest smile there can be heartfelt sadness.
I’m reminded again of the packed Cameron House where the band played their official NxNE gig (Chart checked in when they played at Pearson Airport earlier in the fest), how most everyone in the tiny room seemed as enraptured with the band’s performance as I was – people were being turned away at the door – and am thankful that the band was apparently as taken with Canada as we with them. Besides dedicating the lead track on the new EP to us (“Go! Canada”), they’ve promised to return as soon as possible. But in the meantime, they’ve graciously offered up a copy of Bring On The Waves on CD to give away to one lucky reader. If you’d like it, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to riot for six days” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. Contest is open to anyone, anywhere, and will close in… get ready for it… six days. At midnight, August 4. Rioting in the interim is optional.
I’m sure this tour was booked before the support act went off and got herself nominated for one of them Mercury Prizes, but expect no one to miss the opener when Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling play the Rivoli on October 4 (same night at Nuit Blanche!), tickets $10.50. But even pre-nomination, Marling had been getting a steadily growing amount of buzz reaching back before SxSW whereas the first I’d heard of Flynn was this tour announcement, though a copy of his new Hong Kong Cemetry EP happened to show up in my mailbox yesterday and a little digging has revealed that he’s also played with Emmy The Great so that’s a few (thousand) points in his favour right there. His new album A Larum is getting a North American release today, no idea when Marling’s Alas, I Cannot Swim will be released domestically though I’m sure someone’s trying to make it happen (though I doubt it’ll be cheaper than the import price linked above) Update: It’ll be out August 19 via Astralwerks. Anyway, between the two of them there’s little doubt that the tiny room at the Rivoli will be packed to the gills, so if you’re thinking about going, buying tickets early – they’re on sale Thursday – is recommended. Marling is featured at The Times and The Sydney Morning Herald while NPR has a session available to stream.
Laura Marling is also associated with/a sometime member of cheery UK folk-pop outfit Noah & The Whale, whose own debut Peaceful, the World Lays me Down will get a North American release on September 16, following its UK release next month. BBC and The Times have features on the outfit.
And speaking of Emmy The Great, it seems there’s some sort-of/sort-of-not material from First Love – due out September-ish – available to stream at her MySpace. Have I mentioned lately just how much I’m looking forward to this record? Yes? Okay.
Also anticipated but out considerably sooner – as in today – is Neil Halstead’s second solo record Oh! Mighty Engine. He’s not in town anytime soon, per se, but will be at Burl’s Creek Park in Oro, Ontario on Sunday with Jack Johnson, if you really want to see him. Yeah, didn’t think so. You can stream the whole record at Spinner.com and if you didn’t already, grab the first MP3 to play over and over and over again.
MySpace: Rachel Unthank & The Winterset
NPR is streaming a Fleet Foxes session at the World Cafe with legendary producer Steve Lillywhite. If you hadn’t heard, the band had to cancel out of their show at the Phoenix a couple weeks ago, citing exhaustion though apparently the one day off did wonders for them as they met all their Pitchfork Festival-related commitments… hopefully they’ll be rescheduling that sooner rather than later.