Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Stand Where A Fruit Tree Drops The Things It Doesn't Need
Review of Snowblink’s Long Live and giveaway
Out Of This SparkFor an infinite number of reasons, debuts can take a long time to come together. In the case of Snowblink, those reasons included a cross-continent/international move for Daniela Gesundheit from California to Toronto in 2008 and subsequent partnering with Dan Goodman as the core of the band, the commitments that came with being a touring member of Bruce Peninsula and the fact that said record was being recorded in various locales around the continent with a wide array of collaborators, all with their own packed schedules.
But after who knows how long – I first saw them over two years ago, already impressive and fully-formed – the first Snowblink record arrived last week and if any of the above sounds like it’d be a recipe for a record that’s overcooked, overworked or overthought, fear not – Long Live is none of these things. In fact, it’s very much the opposite of over-anything, with the prevailing characteristic of the folk-pop contained within is effortless airiness; Gesundheit’s voice is clean, pure and feels the epitome of carefree as it loops and lilts through the laid-back melodies, clearly a formidable instrument but never showing off.
The musical accompaniment is similarly lush yet spacious, with a wide variety of sounds and textures – acoustic, electric, orchestral, percussive, what have you – coming into play over the course of the record. But clearly conscious of maintaining the necessary sonic negative space, the instrumentation only steps forward enough to make its presence felt, never overstaying or seeking to define the proceedings. Everything has and knows its place. While this doesn’t necessarily make for a wealth of dynamicism over the course of the record’s 15 tracks, within the margins of Long Live‘s cloudwatching from a grassy hillside aesthetic lies a whole world of musical detail, finally ready to be explored, pondered and appreciated.
It’s worth noting that there’s already not one, not two, but three sessions in the Daytrotter archives – the first two date from 2008 and feature songs that would eventually make their way onto Long Live, the third is all Michael Jackson covers.
The record’s release will be celebrated locally with an in-store at Soundscapes on March 3 at 7PM and a proper show at The Music Gallery on March 5, a happening that will feature: “Tasseomancy reading tea leaves, Thom Gill playing New Age style music, a lecture by Owen Pallett, Ryan Driver and Jennifer Castle, and set design/ projections by Sean Frey”. Following that unique performance, they’ll be opening up for Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on his solo North American tour including two nights at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on March 22 and 23.
Tickets for the Music Gallery show are $10 in advance but courtesy of Out Of This Spark, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away along with a copy of Long Live on CD. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to Snowblink” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, March 1.
Spin has got an interview with Amy Cole of The Rural Alberta Advantage and offers a new track from their forthcoming Departing to download, while Exclaim talks to Nils Edenloff and has the whole of album number two streaming this week leading up to its March 1 release. They will be at The Phoenix on April 29.
Sloan have announced the May 10 release of their new record The Double Cross, named in honour of the band’s 20th anniversary. They’ve also made a track from the record available to download.
With their date supporting Plants & Animals at Lee’s on March 5 sold out, reigning Polaris winners Karkwa have confirmed their Canadian Musicfest showcase as being at Wrongbar on March 11 at 10PM, sandwiched between Brit buzz acts Anna Calvi and Esben & The Witch. Early iterations of the schedule had Memoryhouse in that slot but they’re now down the road at The Great Hall with Yukon Blonde the night before, on at 10:30.
And in reality-altering news, this past weekend Neko Case’s Twitter feed turned into a round table discussion about how female band members never get any groupies and aren’t happy about it. Salon rounds up the discussion and Metafilter hosts the resulting disbelief/incredulity.