Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
All We Grow
S. Carey and White Hinterland at The Horseshoe in Toronto
Frank YangTo the person who said they’d hoped S. Carey would play a Bon Iver cover at the Horseshoe on Sunday night – really? Though to be fair, I can understand it – without the angle of Sean Carey also being Justin Vernon’s drummer, there might well have been far fewer people in attendance, and that’d have been a shame as Carey’s solo debut All We Grow is a jewel of a record on entirely its own merits. But even if they didn’t know that in advance, by that point in Carey’s set – nearing the end – any right-thinking person would have been so taken by the performance that they shouldn’t have even been able to muster a “Bon who?”
That should probably say “performances” – plural – because opener White Hinterland was pretty terrific as well. I’d only listened to Casei Dienel’s stuff in passing before, but clearly I’ve been missing out. With Shawn Creeden alongside her, Dienel crafted a set that was earthy and organic despite hardly utilizing a single acoustic instrument. Using keys, samples and loopers, Dienel would subtly loop and layer her birdlike vocals into a swirling cloud of folktronica that had more than a hint of Lykke Li-like sultriness. She also offered up a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” (how I was able to recognize the song without ever having actually heard it, I do not know) before bringing out S. Carey to back her on a couple of songs, a favour which she would later return. I know I have a copy of her latest album Kairos kicking around somewhere… I really need to find it.
If White Hinterland’s set was an exercise in making something wholly organic-sounding out of inorganic instruments, S. Carey’s was a study in rendering a studio-crafted record entirely live. We All Grow is a record rich with layered sounds, clearly indebted to late-era Talk Talk, and I certainly wouldn’t have expected all of them to be recreated live… so I was very pleasantly surprised when they were. Fronting a five-piece band and sticking mainly to keyboards, Sean Carey led his bandmates through one of the simply prettiest hours of music I’ve experienced in recent memory. Be it the immaculate four-part harmonies or the masterful musicianship of all hands with through the gentlest atmospheric moments or the crashing crescendos, they sounded amazing and the only time the only thing greater than enjoying the moment was anticipating how they’d do the remaining pieces from the album justice. I appreciate this sounds a touch overly effusive but it really was lovely, and perfectly capped in the encore when Dienel came out contribute vocals to their cover of The Notwist’s “Consequences”. Just oh so pretty.
Photos: S. Carey, White Hinterland @ The Horseshoe – December 19, 2010
MP3: S. Carey – “In The Dirt”
MP3: S. Carey – “In The Stream”
MP3: White Hinterland – “No Logic”
MP3: White Hinterland – “Dreaming Of The Plum Trees”
MP3: White Hinterland – “Chant de Grillon”
MP3: White Hinterland – “Icarus”
Video: White Hinterland – “No Logic”
Video: White Hinterland – “Amsterdam”
Video: White Hinterland – “Icarus”
Myspace: S. Carey
Myspace: White Hinterland
Pitchfork and The Telegraph have interviews with The National while NYC Taper is sharing a recording of their set opening for Yo La Tengo during their Hannukah residency at Maxwell’s at the start of the month.
Interview talks to Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes about the rocking direction of their next record The People’s Key, out February 15 and the first MP3 from which is available in swap for an email over at Pitchfork. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 13.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was still waiting for Minnesota’s Now Now to make up their cancelled Summer 2009 date; good news is they’re finally making it here on February 13 for a show at the Mod Club, bad news is it’s part of a large bill of emo-punk-pop acts that I’d rather not have anything to do with (Hellogoodbye, Gold Motel, You Me And Everyone We Know) so yeah, maybe next time.