Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Death By Elektro
Review of Rae Spoon’s Love Is A Hunter
JJ LevineRae Spoon’s last album, 2008’s Superioryouareinferior, may have served as the point of entry for me into the Calgary native’s works, but his fifth album was more of an exit for him in that it represented a push out of the country-folk scene with which he’d been associated and into the (relatively) broader realm of Canadian indie-pop. Maybe not the promised land, but without that bit of crossover, the record probably wouldn’t have otherwise caught my ear certainly wouldn’t have last year’s Polaris ballot.
For the follow-up record Love Is A Hunter, Spoon’s muse took him a little farther afield – Berlin, to be precise. The influence of the time spent abroad was more overt on last year’s free-to-download Alexandre Decoupigny collaboration What Are You Waiting For? (Worauf Wartest Du?), but the time spent in and around the European dance scene is still echoes quite clearly on Hunter.
But rather than try to craft a record of club bangers or electro-clash anthems, Spoon makes those influences lyrical concerns than sonic ones, opting to contemplate the experiences and interactions, diary-style, and thus sticks to his strengths. This isn’t to say that it’s all more of the same, though. Spoon’s sound is still more folk than anything else – you can take the boy out of the country and all that – but Hunter comes fairly suffused with electronic beats and textures that dance in and around the compositions, offering an interesting counterpoint to Spoon’s crystalline voice and otherwise spare arrangements. They don’t necessarily elevate them, but they do add some extra aural interest. And while the meeting of influences on Hunter doesn’t create the same stop-in-your tracks, emotional impact of Superioryouareinferior, it does further the case as Rae Spoon as one of the country’s up-and-coming songsmiths and certainly a talent to continue watching.
Details have emerged about the forthcoming Neil Young album produced by Daniel Lanois. It will be entitled Le Noise and be available on September 28 in pretty much every format imaginable (LP, CD, MP3, Blu-Ray, iPhone…). I’m not the biggest fan of Lanois’ own work, but as a producer he’s helmed some amazing records and triggered creative renaissances from some legendary artists. Really anxious to hear what he’s done with Neil.
There’s also a new video from Tokyo Police Club’s new record Champ. They’ll be showcasing it when they open up for Phoenix at the Ricoh Coliseum on October 22. Still find it weird that they haven’t done or scheduled a headlining hometown show for the new record yet.
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Bambi”
The lineup for this year’s Supercrawl, the annual arts and music free street thing in Hamilton, has been announced and offers a compelling argument for making the trek to Steeltown – on September 25, they’ll be presenting performances from Elliott Brood, Cadence Weapon and Bruce Peninsula, amongst many others. And did I mention it’s free?
And finally, if you’re all nostalgic for this past June when NXNE descended on the city like so much a plague of locusts, then check out this feature at Le Blogotheque where the duly commissioned Take-Away Show videographers captured performances from a number of artists in the streets of Toronto. Part one features The Soft Pack, Avi Buffalo, Library Voices and DM Stith and there’s more to come.