Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Louise Burns continues to be Louise Burns despite not sounding as much like Louise Burns as you might expect
Renata RakshaLouise Burns must not have gotten the memo. You know, the one that stated that any Canadian artist who sought to change up their sound by trading guitars for synths had to adopt a new stage persona to go with it. Or maybe it’s just a Toronto thing? In any case, anyone expecting The Midnight Mass – the follow-up to her 2011 Polaris long-listed debut Mellow Drama – to stick to the same template on account of her name appearing on both records might be a touch surprised.
On the surface, Mellow Drama sounded like a slice of throwback country-pop, but to pigeonhole it as such was to ignore the lead guitar lines which sounded as though they’d been lifted from an early Pretenders session, all jangle and chorus and belying an affection and affinity for ’80s New Wave. If the first sample from Midnight Mass, due out July 9, is any indication, album number two will flip that equation on its head, bringing those ’80s Brit-accented sounds and textures to the fore and running any residual twang through layers of period-correct reverb. What should remain unchanged, though, is Burns’ stellar vocals and songwriting, and her continued ascension as one of the country’s most exciting new talents, whatever name she chooses to operate under.
Of course, it’s possible Burns was able to check off “new band name” on her Can-indie Bingo card when she became a full member of Vancouver’s Gold & Youth between releasing her debut and recording the new record. And it’s not unreasonable to think that her time touring and recording their debut full-length Beyond Wilderness, coming May 14, influenced the direction of Midnight Mass. It also proudly displays its ’80s roots, equally sleek and gloomy and danceable if your preferred dance move is a downcast shuffle or some varient thereof. Anticipation for this full-length has been building for some time – their “Time To Kill / City of Quartz” came out back in November but The Guardian was singing their praises almost a year ago. If both Beyond Wilderness and Midnight Mass take off this Summer, Burns won’t need a new identity as much as clones to help promote them both to the extent they deserve. Not a bad problem to have.
That music runs through The Sadies’ veins goes without saying, and anyone who’s seen them live knows not to be surprised if either of Dallas and Travis’ parents or uncle from The Good Brothers joined them on stage. But it is a bit of a surprise that it’s taken this long to officially make a record together. That day has come, however, and on April 30 The Good Family will release The Good Family Album and beyond that, they’ll be playing a couple of shows on May 9 and 10 at The Dakota Tavern. And if you’re thinking that the room is small enough capacity-wise before having to factor in their family-heavy guest list, then you also know not to dawdle on tickets – $15 in advance and on sale now.
The last time The Besnard Lakes were in town, it was for CMF and they were previewing their new record Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO, which was still a couple weeks away from release. The next time they’re in town will again be for a festival – though the date was redacted from the Canadian tour itinerary announced by Exclaim – presumably to allow the festival to make the announcement themselves – the band should be playing NXNE on June 13 with Toronto’s July Talk before hitting the road together. And tangentially, Spinner gets head Besnard Jace Lasek to talk about how he came to host an Arcade Fire secret show at his studio last December while The 405 solicits his thoughts on why the Canadian music industry is turning out so much interesting work (The 405 are British so they’re curious).