Monday, February 8th, 2010
Duck Duck Goose
Review of Woodpigeon’s Die Stadt Muzikanten
Wilkosz + WayUnder normal circumstances, it’d be logical to consider the record that followed a band’s breakthrough album through the lens of how those successes might have affected their creative process and output. You can’t quite do that in the case of Woodpigeon’s newest record Die Stadt Muzikanten, however, because even though its predecessor Treasury Library Canada was the album that brought the Calgary outfit national recognition via the Polaris Prize long list, Muzikanten was already completed and in the can before the Treasury roller coaster ride began.
That makes the growth in sound and style from one record to the next that much more natural. The basic Woodpigeon recipe hasn’t changed much – Mark Hamilton’s compositions continue to be exemplary folk-pop rendered with delicacy in a widescreen scale, but this time the songs are delivered with more confidence and verve than before and are simultaneously more musically rangy and focused. Relative to what’s come before, Muzikanten is both louder – “My Denial In Argyle” is an unqualified rocker while “The Street Noise That Gives You Away” is epic in scope – and softer, with record closer and Jamie Fooks duet “Our Love Is As Tall As The Calgary Tower” one of their loveliest moments to date. Though it’s Hamilton’s vision that defines Woodpigeon, the record wouldn’t be nearly what it is without the contributions of his ever-expanding cast of supporting players, whose ability to bring to life the sounds in his head can’t be overstated. In particular, the backing vocals of Annalea Sordi-McClure and Foon Yap are a persistent, angelic choir hovering overhead throughout. Much of the charm of Treasury came from how it felt like a perfectly-matched collection of individual, snowglobe-like vignettes – Muzikanten pulls all those vignettes together into a single wondrous diorama, alive with song.
CMJ, Log Driver’s Waltz, Spill, The Record and Xtra all have feature pieces on Woodpigeon, who kick off their tour of Ontario and Quebec this week. They play the Drake Underground this Thursday, February 11, and will do an in-store at Soundscapes on February 14 at 5PM. Die Stadt Muzikanten will be released in the US on March 9 and in Europe on April 19.
Southern Souls has posted a video session with Forest City Lovers, of which one of the songs is “If I Were A Tree” and thus continues the “wood” meme running through the first bit of this post. Hey, I make my own fun.
Beatroute and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will be performing on March 13 at the Royal York Hotel as part of the Indie Awards at Canadian Musicfest. Yeah, the Indie Awards. That’s right.
Good news for those who were still in diapers the last time Thrush Hermit were an active band – a third reunion show has been added to go along with their two sold-out gigs at Lee’s Palace – there’s now a dry, all-ages matinee show scheduled for March 28 at 4:45PM – tickets are $17.50 and go on sale Wednesday. Joel Plaskett has also just announced details of a Thrush Hermit Complete Recordings box set coming out in time to coincide with the reunion tour and consisting of all of the band’s albums and EP as well as a wealth of rare and unreelased material and a DVD. Seven discs in all, and suitable for kids of all ages.
Updates could be slim/intermittent/non-existent this week – woke up to a laptop with a DOA logic board, so until that gets fixed, I’ve got my work machine (which is for work – ahem), my iPhone and my 7-year old Windows machine which is going to be pressed back into emergency service. Sounds like fun, right? Right? Wrong.