Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Light You Up
Review of Forest City Lovers’ Carriage
Ryan MarrToronto’s Forest City Lovers began essentially as a pseudonym for singer-songwriter Kat Burns, and while ably assisted by members of Toronto’s burgeoning music community her debut The Sun & The Wind was accordingly spare, but still gave hints to her broader pop ambitions. 2008’s Haunting Moon Sinking found Forest City Lovers no longer a pseudonym but a proper band and accordingly, it was a much fuller and rangier affair with a few moments of pure pop bounce amidst the more contemplative numbers. It made clear that talent-wise, Forest City Lovers had the potential to be one of the city, if not the country’s, finer pop bands though to make the grab for that brass ring seemed at odds with the understated charm that seemed to be such a fundamental part of their appeal. How would they reconcile that, if at all?
The answer comes in the form of Carriage. Their third album, released this week, is the sort of record that you always hope that a band you believe in will make, but don’t really expect for fear of being disappointed. Somehow Forest City Lovers have managed to make a game-changer of an album without actually changing their game – the core of their sound, Burns’ insightful and evocative lyrics delivered with her gentle, hint-of-smoke vocals, are intact and front and centre but this time out they’re cast against type in some big pop arrangements and damn if they don’t more than rise to the challenge.
Bookended by different versions of both sides of last year’s Phodilus and Tyto 7″, Carriage comes with a wealth of fresh ideas and it seems the more unexpected the turn, the more rewarding the outcome. Perhaps the best example of this is the confidently off-kilter “Minneapolis”, whose two minutes and forty seconds boasts one of the most infectious choruses you’re likely to hear anywhere this year. It’s pretty much the sort of song that you’d have thought Forest City Lovers would be great at but never would have expected them to write, and that feeling of both surprise and satisfaction permeates the record. The presence of new drummer Christian Ingelevics is surely a big part of the album’s heightened energy – he’s certainly brought such to their live show – and perhaps the decision to work with an outside producer for the first time is also part of it, though the record still maintains much of the of intimate, unvarnished vibe of the earlier recordings. But I think that most of the growth on Carriage can be attributed to a band that was simply ready to take that next step and decided to make it a huge leap forward. So very, very rewarding.
I Heart Music also has a review of the album and is offering a download of “Minneapolis”, also his pick as the key song on the record. Exclaim couples their review with a quick interview and Soundproof, The National Post and Chart have features on the band. Forest City Lovers start a three-week North American tour this weekend and will play a hometown record release show at the Great Hall on August 12, preceded by an in-store at Soundscapes on August 10, before heading back out on the road in September.
Left-field Vancouver art-poppers Apollo Ghosts are touring their Polaris Prize-nominated album Mount Benson right across Canada and are making two stops in Toronto – on July 27 for an in-store performance at Criminal Records at 7PM and then after hitting the east coast, will double back and wrap things up on August 6 at Sneaky Dee’s with Dog Day.
Video: Black Mountain – “Old Fangs”
Pornographer going solo Kathryn Calder has released another MP3 from her forthcoming debut Are You My Mother?, out August 10.
The Hidden Cameras will play two intimate shows at the Lower Ossington Theatre on August 5 and 6 as part of the Summerworks theatre and film festival. According to Chart, they will be taking the opportunity to reimagine their last album Origin: Orphan as a theatrical work. Tickets for the shows are just $10.
Half of this Take-Away Show with Land Of Talk was posted a couple weeks ago but the second video posted at Le Blogotheque, presumably a track from Cloak & Cipher, is the real jaw-dropper. So very excited for this record, which will be out August 24.
Harbourfront Centre’s Love Saskatchewan festival will feature free performances from Rah Rah and Library Voices on July 23 and July 25, respectively. And with lots of Saskatchewan-related goodness in between.
Wired interviews Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright and star Michael Cera. Hilarity ensues. Pitchfork also talks to Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning about their contributions to the film soundtrack.
The National Post examines the state of the Summer concert season.
Happy Canada Day, everyone. I am marking this auspicious occasion by leaving the country. I’m off to New York City for an extended long weekend – I think these are called vacations. We’ll see how it goes.
Tags: Apollo Ghosts, Balconies, Basia Bulat, Black Mountain, Broken Social Scene, Diamond Rings, Forest City Lovers, Fucked Up, Great Lake Swimmers, Hidden Cameras, Holy Fuck, Kathryn Calder, Land Of Talk, Library Voices, Metric, New Pornographers, Rae Spoon, Rah Rah, Sadies, Shad, Stars, Woodpigeon