Thursday, May 19th, 2011
I Never Woke Up
Review of Snailhouse’s Sentimental Gentleman
Anneke HymmenMontrealer Mike Feuerstack isn’t anything resembling a household name but if you’ve got records from Belle Orchestre, Angela Desveaux or The Wooden Stars in your collection – and you probably should – then you’ve got his name in your liner notes. But if not, then you probably don’t have anything from his solo project Snailhouse and that’s a shame – but one you can easily rectify with his new album Sentimental Gentleman when it’s released on May 24.
In his other bands, it’s his virtuoso musicianship that’s on display but with Snailhouse, his songwriting chops take centre stage. There’s still plenty of tasty guitarwork throughout, but it’s largely of the laid back variety as it’s in support of his gently rootsy tunes. Thoughtful and introspective, it’s not the sort of record that attracts your attention with frantic arm waving, but an easy demeanour and welcoming smile. And while there’s plenty other shinier and more immediate roadside attractions on the musical landscape, those who take the time to investigate Snailhouse’s low-key charms will be rewarded with a thoughtful and understatedly witty collection of songs that won’t necessarily change your life, but will certainly make it more pleasant for a half hour or so, and moreso with each visit.
Exclaim is currently streaming the whole of Sentimental Gentleman. Snailhouse is just wrapping a tour of Europe and will kick off a North American leg next week with a date at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern on May 26.
Joel Plaskett has announced the released of a rarities compilation entitled EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations, due to hit stores on June 14 – Chart has details and as a teaser, here’s one of the tracks from it. Plaskett will play a free show June 10 at Metro Square as part of the LuminaTO festival.
The release this week of Diaper Island, the latest from Calgary’s Chad Vangaalen, has brought the media a-calling. Check out features at The Globe & Mail, NXEW, Paste, The Calgary Herald and Exclaim. Van Gaalen headlines The Great Hall on June 18 for NXNE and a new MP3 and video from the album have just been released.
Austra is getting similar attention for her just-released debut Feel It Break. There’s interviews at NOW, hour.ca, Resonancity, Clash, aux.tv and Chart. Austra has a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tonight.
Great Lake Swimmers’ Spinner about his contributions to The National Parks Project, the documentary film which pairs Canadian musicians with Canada’s national parks. A release show for the soundtrack, featuring many of the artists who contributed, happens tonight at The Royal – tickets are $15. Here’s one of the performances from the film, featuring Cadence Weapon, Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton and Laura Barrett in a teepee in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Click through to video number four. Also check out interviews with the film’s directors at NOW and Torontoist.
And similar-sounding but not at all related is The Parks Canada Experience, which is notable because a) it’s funded by our tax dollars and b) it will be throwing a party at the foot of the CN Tower this Saturday, May 21, which will feature free performances from Malajube and Apostle Of Hustle, amongst others. It runs from 11AM to 7PM. For more specifics on the what and the when… I don’t know, contact your local MP.
I’ve been waiting ages for a Kathryn Calder live date in support of her excellent solo debut Are You My Mother and when one is finally announced – it’s in conflict with not one but two other must-see shows. Which is to say that when she’s playing The Tranzac’s Southern Cross Lounge on June 10, I will be at Okkervil River at The Phoenix having already given up seeing Weeping Tile at Lee’s Palace. Life is so unfair.
Fucked Up have been added to the NXNE lineup with two shows on June 16 – one free engagement at Yonge-Dundas Square early that evening and another late-nighter at Wrongbar. They’re also opening for Foo Fighters at The Air Canada Centre on August 9. David Comes To Life is out June 7.
And in addition to his set at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 17, Diamond Rings will be at Wrongbar at midnight on June 18. This, of course, is all in addition to his set opening up (again) for Robyn on June 3 at Echo Beach.
Diamond Rings has also started up a remix series wherein he’ll release a new remix each Tuesday leading up to the June 21 US major label reissue of his album Special Affections. The first entry is a track from Miracle Fortress, whose own Was I The Wave? just came out Stateside this week – there’s a new MP3 from it available to download to mark the occasion. Spinner talks turkey with Graham Van Pelt.
Sloan’s 20th anniversary video back-pat series rolls on, now including installments for “Underwhelmed medley”, “Your Favourite Sloan Lyric”, a rendering of “People Of The Sky” by Owen Pallett and “Sloan’s influence”. Sloan play The Mod Club on June 22.
Tags: Apostle Of Hustle, Austra, Cadence Weapon, Chad Van Gaalen, Diamond Rings, Fucked Up, Great Lake Swimmers, Handsome Furs, Joel Plaskett, Kathryn Calder, Laura Barrett, Little Scream, Malajube, Miracle Fortress, Neil Young, No Joy, Owen Pallett, Sloan, Snailhouse, Timber Timbre, Wilderness Of Manitoba, Woodpigeon