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Posts Tagged ‘Forest City Lovers’

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

CONTEST – Forest City Lovers @ The Great Hall – April 19, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Forest City Lovers
What: One of Toronto’s steadiest bands of the last half decade or so releasing three albums of folk-pop – each better than the last – most recently, 2010’s Carriage.
Why: Sadly, all things must come to an end and last week the band announced that they would be calling it a day with one final farewell show; this show.
When: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Where: The Great Hall in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Lisa Bozikovic and Kite Hill will open things up.
How: Tickets for the show are $12 in advance but courtesy of Out Of This Spark and the band, I’ve got a special prize pack to give away consisting of a pair of tickets to the show, copies of all three albums – Carriage, Haunting Moon Sinking, and The Sun & The Wind, as well as their “Phodilus and Tyto” 7″ single, a t-shirt and some buttons. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want a Forest City farewell” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight April 16.
What else: Even though the Forest City Lovers name is being retired, principal songwriter Kat Burns is hardly giving up her creative pursuits – she will continue to release music under the name of Kashka; there’s already a couple EPs available and a full-length collaboration with Ohbijou drummer James Bunton entitled Vichada is already set for a May 1 release.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me Cancer”

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Here It Comes

Army Girls lead charge into Canadian Musicfest 2012

Photo By Katie SadieKatie SadieSo yeah, Canadian Musicfest kind of screwed me over this year. For the past however many years, we’ve had a good arrangement: Canadian Music Week, as it was once know, runs the week before SXSW and allows me to a) get into some semblance of game shape for a club-hopping festival, b) check out some bands that I might otherwise have to find time to see in Austin, and c) allow me to build up a backlog of content to allow me to keep posting while I’m experiencing taco country. Everybody wins. But for this year, for some inexplicable reason, CMW/CMF decided to move to the week AFTER SXSW, not only invalidating all of the above points but also making next week doubly busy as I try to plough through gigs of SXSW content and still hit the clubs for CMF. And oh yeah, go back to work.

All of which would be more acceptable if the schedule shift had been to accomodate some impressive talent in the festival lineup; I don’t think I’m creating any scandals by saying that that is not so much the case. Compared to past years, there’s seems to be a real dearth of either breakout or on-the-cusp acts, be they local or international – or maybe I’m just not up on what the kids are into these days. They still like the I Mother Earth? Really? Anyways, none of this is to say there’s nothing worth seeing next week – not at all – it just might take a little more research to fill out one’s schedule. I’ve done some of that research. Let me share some of it with you.

Army Girls – It’s a bit cruel that the only showcase I could theoretically make for this duo – my pick for the best up-and-coming act in Toronto – is at the most remote venue in the city and appears to be scheduled so that the set’s no longer than 20 minutes, but even so I will bet that it’d be worth the trek. Amazingly hooky guitar pop with the right amount of abrasiveness.

Thursday, March 22, 10:30PM @ Parts & Labour
Friday, March 23, 2:00PM @ The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music

Stream: Army Girls / Close To The Bone

Lake Forest – you might think that a solo project from The Wilderness Of Manitoba’s Will Whitwham a touch redundant since he sings lead and writes most of the WOM material, but his debut album Silver Skies stands apart enough to justify itself while offering plenty to appeal to fans of his band.

Thursday, March 22, 1:00AM @ The Cameron House

MP3: Lake Forest – “Autumn Skies”

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Singer-songwriter whose debut Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm has made him something of a rising star in his native England; nothing wrong with taking the opportunity to see him in an intimate setting in case he catches on similarly over here.

Thursday, March 22, 11:00PM @ The Cameron House
Friday, March 23, 9:10PM @ Supermarket

MP3: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Ticket To Ride” (Beatles cover)
Video: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Pictures”

Neufvoin – solidly anthemic guitar rock from hailing from the fjords of Norway wilds of Finland. They’re still young – a debut album is supposed to be out this Spring – but they already sound sophisticated and assured. Was originally just looking for something to fill a time slot but now I quite want to see these guys.

Thursday, March 22, 12:30AM @ El Mocambo (upstairs)
Friday, March 23, 9:00PM @ Rancho Relaxo

MP3: Neufvoin – “Drunken Captain”
MP3: Neufvoin – “Polar Song”
MP3: Neufvoin – “Villasukka”
Video: Neufvoin – “Polar Song”

Fred – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these Cork (Ireland) natives on the lineups for past CMWs and NXNEs both, so they’re no strangers to our city. But if they’re still strangers to you, and you like big, friendly pop-rock of the sort that fills their new record Leaving My Empire, then you ought to get acquainted.

Thursday, March 22, 11:00PM @ The Rivoli

MP3: Fred – “Eleven”
Video: Fred – “Eleven”

Husky – recent signees to SubPop who fit the label’s rustic/bearded division perfectly, despite hailing from Australia rather than the Pacific Northwest. Their debut Forever So is out July 10; get on board now.

Saturday, March 24, 2:45PM @ The El Mocambo
Saturday, March 24, 9:00PM @ The Garrison
Sunday, March 25, 9:00PM @ The Velvet Underground

MP3: Husky – “The Woods”
Video: Husky – “The Woods”

Louise Burns – Vancouver artist whose debut Mellow Drama made my shortlist for the 2010 Polaris Prize; I wasn’t surprised she didn’t make the shortlist but I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had. For some reason, she’s got no official showcase – just this day show. So if you’re free, take advantage of the opportunity. Update: An official showcase has been added.

Wednesday, March 21, 10:00PM @ The Drake Underground
Thursday, March 22, 4:00PM @ The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music

MP3: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”
MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”

And this isn’t all I’d recommend at all, but I need to save some stuff for my actual festival coverage, yeah? Yeah. And the full, three-day sched for those Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music afternoon shows is over here

BlogTO gets to know The Elwins, whom they declare one of the city’s breakout bands for this year. I don’t disagree. Their next show is March 25 at Rancho Relaxo as part of the Canadian Musicfest grace note and if you ever wanted to see the band, along with Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians cover Beyonce – this is your lucky day. There’s also an interview at Exclaim where they talk about how they personalised their tour down to SXSW for each tour stop.

Video: The Elwins with Luke Lalonde – “Countdown”

Exclaim and The Georgia Straight talk to Memoryhouse; they play a record release show for The Slideshow Effect at The El Mocambo on April 13.

Forest City Lovers have made a date at The Great Hall on April 19. Tickets $12 in advance.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”

American Songwriter is hosting the second instalment of The Wooden Sky’s “Grace On A Hill” video session series. The band is at The Opera House on April 20.

Billboard talks to Patrick Watson about his new record Adventures In Your Own Backyard, out April 30. He’s at The Music Hall on May 29.

Congratulations to the newly pregnant Coeur de Pirate, who has just released a new video from Blonde.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Golden Baby”

Beatrice Martin is also featured in a fashion spread for Brixton. Which in and of itself wouldn’t necessarily be noteworthy, but it also allows me to point at this fashion shoot for The Bay featuring some familiar local musician faces belonging to Diamond Rings and Fucked Up, amongst others. Sassy!

Clash and State profile Grimes. She plays The Horseshoe March 19.

Macleans looks at the ongoing trend of ’90s Can-rock bands hopping on the reunion bandwagon, including The Inbreds and Treble Charger, both of whom are getting high billing at Canadian Musicfest next week.

The Grid salutes Exclaim on the occasion of their 20th anniversary. I am doing the same. Exclaim, I salute you!

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

CONTEST – Out Of This Spark 5th Anniversary Party – February 25, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Forest City Lovers, Snowblink, Snailhouse, Bocce, Kite Hill, Richard Laviolette, Octoberman, The Meek, Jenny Omnichord
What/Why: Local label Out Of This Spark is turning five years old in 2012, and they’re marking a half-decade of discovering, incubating and launching some of the area’s best new talent the way any good anniversary should – with family, friends and a tonne of great music. Details on the event over here.
When: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Where: The Tranzac in Toronto (19+)
Who else: What, the bands listed above aren’t enough for you? Come on.
How: Tickets for the show are $15 in advance but courtesy of Out Of This Spark, I’ve got a special prize pack to give away consisting not only of a pair of passes to the event, but a complete Out Of This Spark catalog on CD – that’s all ten albums listed here including the ones that are essentially out of print, like the first Friends In Bellwoods compilation that launched the label and the pre-Arts & Crafts reissue of Timber Timbre’s breakout self-titled album. Because you know the collector in you wants it. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to be Out Of This Spark” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, February 21.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”
MP3: Snowblink – “Ambergris”
MP3: Snailhouse – “I Never Woke Up”
MP3: Octoberman – “Thirty Reasons”

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Change The Sheets

Review of Kathleen Edwards’ Voyageur

Photo By Todd V WolfsonTodd V WolfsonI feel that I should say up front that any reservations I have about Kathleen Edwards and her work are entirely my own issues. Since her 2002 debut Failer, I’ve enjoyed her honest, roots-rock fare but always felt like I expected more from her creatively even though across her first three albums, she’d never shown any signs that she had ambitions beyond being a good singer-songwriter. That said, the fact that she spent her downtime following 2008’s Asking For Flowers songwriting with John Roderick of The Long Winters and becoming romantically/artistically involved with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver made me think that perhaps her fourth record would represent that creative hard left that for whatever reason I kept expecting her to take.

So just to get it out of the way, Voyageur, out today, is not that game-changing record. It does, however, represent a significant enough shift in Edwards’ modus operandi to be noteworthy and is arguably her best effort to date. She’s shed much of the country-rock accouterments of her earlier records and the more narrative songwriting structures for an approach that’s more sonically expansive and more thematically raw, but has balanced out that weightiness with some of her catchiest pop compositions to date in “Change The Sheets” and “Sidecar”. It’s surprising that two of the most personal and pensive numbers on the record – “Pink Champagne” and “A Soft Place To Land” – would be the Roderick co-writes; I’d have expected different lessons to be learned from one of the smartest power-pop songwriters around, but again perhaps that’s teaching me to think I know what to expect. Similarly, looking for Vernon’s overt fingerprints on the record are futile – there’s no vocoder or falsetto in effect, even though he contributes backing vocals throughout. Okay, the outro guitar solo(s) on “Going To Hell” are kind of Bon Iver-ish.

Whether it came from her collaborators of from within, what’s most remarkable about Voyageur is that Edwards is able to step away from her comfort zone just enough to establish a new creative boundaries – and I suspect that these are her boundaries as her voice sounds on the edge of strained at points – without abandoning the touchpoints that her existing fanbase would need to stick around. Maybe I’d have preferred that she went a little bit further – again, I don’t know what I mean by that it’s just how I feel – but Voyageur is pretty good proof that she knows what she’s doing better than I do.

The National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, The Ottawa Citizen and 660 News have interviews with Edwards while The Line Of Best Fit has a mini-documentary on the making of Voyageur, as well a stream of the entire album. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”
Stream: Kathleen Edwards / Voyageur

Bry Webb has finally announced a proper local show to mark the release of his excellent solo debut Provider; he’ll play two shows on Saturday, February 4 at the Music Gallery – one at 6PM, the other at 8:30PM. Tickets are $12 for each show and on sale now at Rotate and Soundscapes. Also check out his just-released video session for Southern Souls.

MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”

John K Samson’s solo debut Provincial comes out next Tuesday and Exclaim has the whole thing available to stream now. Samson plays an in-store at Soundscapes on the day of release – January 24 – at 7PM and will be back as part of Canadian Musicfest on March 22 at The Great Hall. And if that’s not enough, he’ll be doing a signing for his new book Lyrics and Poems 1997-2012 at TYPE Books on January 23 at 6:30PM.

Stream: John K Samson / Provincial

American Songwriter has premiered the new video from Canadian songwriter Louise Burns, taken from her Mellow Drama album.

Video: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”

A new, non-album Ohbijou song has been made available to download via Nylon; have at it.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Mossy Lungs”

BlogTO talks to Rae Spoon, in town at The Gladstone on January 27.

The new Woodpigeon EP For Paolo is now available to stream in whole and will be available to buy on January 23.

Stream: Woodpigeon / For Paolo

You can now watch the whole of Arcade Fire’s performance on Austin City Limits. Yeah, you have to sit through some commercials first, but it’s worth it.

Another new song to stream from Leonard Cohen’s forthcoming Old Ideas via The New Yorker. And you can also read it in poem form.

Stream: Leonard Cohen – “Going Home”

In conversation with The Chronicle Herald, director Bruce MacDonald reveals that his next film project will be based on the next Stars album and that it’s called Those Days Are Gone.

Local label Out Of This Spark have announced details of their fifth anniversary show, and as always it’s an impressive showcase of local talent. This year’s show happens February 25 at the label’s spiritual home of The Tranzac and will feature Forest City Lovers, Snowblink, Snailhouse and more.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”
MP3: Snowblink – “Ambergris”
MP3: Snailhouse – “I Never Woke Up”

Canadian Musicfest wasn’t able to follow through on their promise of more artist announcements yesterday, but the lineup for the Indie Awards did leak this weekend, and the lineup of artists performing is as random and arbitrary as the awards themselves… but solid, nonetheless. Performing at the Royal York Hotel on the evening of March 24 will be Passion Pit, Rich Aucoin, The Sheepdogs, Dan Mangan, Cœur de pirate, Treble Charger, and The Pack AD. And yes, that means that Treble Charger – or at least Greg Nori and Bill Priddle – have reunited… but you’re more likely to hear them play “American Psycho” than “10th Grade Love”. Unfortunately. Update: Treble Charger are also playing their own show on March 21 at The Phoenix.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”
MP3: The Pack A.D. – “Sirens”
Video: Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead”
Video: The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Adieu”
Video: Treble Charger – “Red”

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Turn A Light On

Kathryn Calder and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s many great things about the long-running Toronto institution of Nu Music Nites at the Horseshoe – not least of all the fact that they’re free – but the fact that they often feature such random assemblages of acts that each set can feel like its own standalone show and not part of a larger bill is certainly a big part of the fun. Such was the case on Tuesday night when rather than one headline-calibre act, as you’d normally be fortunate to have, they had two – and quite markedly different ones at that.

First you had Kathryn Calder, whom you may remember from her old band Immaculate Machine or know from her current band The New Pornographers but whom you should know for her solo work. Her 2010 debut Are You My Mother? was an unexpected gem displaying a pop acumen that was astonishing, even if she had been apprenticing with some of the country’s finest songwriters for the past half decade and this year’s follow-up Bright & Vivid proved not only that Mother was no fluke, but that Calder was still growing as a songwriter and had even better works in her. Which is to say that it’s as good, if not better, than the first record – and that’s saying quite a lot.

While Calder’s strengths as a singer, songwriter and arranger are self-evident from her records, having missed her solo debut here back in the Summer I still couldn’t comment on her skills as a frontwoman. After all, it’s one thing to do your thing with all eyes on Carl Newman, Neko Case and/or Dan Bejar, quite another to be front and centre yourself. And while she seemed perfectly comfortable in the role, switching off between electric and acoustic guitar and keyboards and offering plenty of low-key charm, you wouldn’t say she’s a riveting performer, at least not yet. But that’s a minor complaint against what she and her band brought to the table.

First off there were the songs, with selections split about evenly between the two albums and well showcasing the range and complexity of her work. It’s no mean feat to fill so many songs with both indelible melodies and emotional depth, but delivering them with her crystalline and dexterous voice – she didn’t miss a move or a note – Calder made it look easy. Points must also go to her band, who were fully equipped with both the tools and talent to recreate the many sonic nuances of the record. They could have easily made it sound good while stripping the arrangements down, but the care they took to make sure all the bits and pieces were there was appreciated.

This show kicked off a three-week North American tour for Calder and company but I almost wish that this was coming at the tail end if just because I’ve no doubt the road-testing would make them sound even better. Make no mistake, they sounded terrific already but if there’s one thing her records have shown, it’s that as good as you think Calder is or can be, she can and will be better.

But wait! There’s more!

It’s probably not fair to expect any kind of funk-soul-rock band to show up and impress when one has just seen Prince a few nights earlier, but for their first visit to Toronto, Chicagoans JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound were sure as spit going to try. Besuited and with Brooks sporting an impressinve Little Richer coif, the five-piece – accompanied by a camera crew – put on a barn-burner of a show. Having just released their second album Want More, they showed off their prowess at classically-styled yet modern-feeling soul – mostly Chicago-flavoured but with forays to Philly to show off Brooks’ ability to slow burn and kill the high notes.

They were at their best when in high gear, though, with the rest of the band being dapper, animated and showing off their impressive chops when called on, all without drawing attention away from their frontman – not that that would have really been possible. Brooks has mastered the fine art of great showmanship without going over the top, engaging the audience without pandering and just basically setting the tone for a wholly impressive show. And while their covers of “Tainted Love” and “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” were set highlights, their original compositions stood tall alongside them – not something you can always say in a genre that’s often more concerned with style and delivery than creation. It’s a shame the audience numbers had thinned from their peak during Calder’s set, but the few dozen that remained got a hell of a show.

Chart and The Calgary Herald have interviews with Kathryn Calder while The Lantern and The Phoenix New Times has features on Brooks.

Photos: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Kathryn Calder @ The Horseshoe – November 29, 2011
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
MP3: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
Video: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”
Video: JC Brooks Uptown Sound – “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”

Paste talks with Kathleen Edwards about making her latest album Voyageur, out January 17. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

The Diamond Rings b-side which saw the electro-glammer unexpectedly covering power-pop gods Teenage Fanclub is now available to download courtesy of Spinner.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Mellow Doubt”

NOW marks Feist’s show at Massey Hall tonight by putting her on this week’s cover; Today Online also has an interview. Meanwhile, Under The Radar reports that she and Mastadon will pair up for a split-7″ single wherein each covers one of the others’ songs as a Record Store Day 2012 release.

Exclaim talks to Bry Webb, who is opening up the aforementioned Feist show tonight.

The Toronto Star, Star-Observer and X-Tra have features on Austra, playing tonight at The Phoenix and have announced that a deluxe edition of Feel It Break, featuring a second CD of covers, remixes and whatnot, will be available in mid-December. One of the new tracks, a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” which has been kicking around since Katie Stelmanis was still playing as Katie Stelmanis, is available to stream below and the third and final instalment of the unplugged Paper Bag Sessions has gone up at Disco Naivete.

Stream: Austra – “Crying”
Video: Austra – “Believe Me” (Paper Bag Sessions)

Young Galaxy, who are playing with Austra tonight, are also capping their very good year with a deluxe edition of Shapeshifting, though it’ll be an iTunes-only release and feature early versions of four songs before they were sent to producer Dan Lissvik for reinventing. That’ll be available on December 13 but as of right now, a remix album called Versus is available for free.

ZIP: Young Galaxy / Versus

Bruce Peninsula have released a new video from Open Flames.

Video: Bruce Peninsula – “Pull Me Under”

The videos for some studio sessions that Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers performed for Exclaim are now available to download as well as watch.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside” (Rainy Day Version, live at Exclaim)
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me, Cancer” (live at Exclaim)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside” (Rainy Day Version, live at Exclaim)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me, Cancer” (live at Exclaim)

Weakerthans frontman John K Samson will release his first solo album in Provincial on January 24; details at Anti, who are releasing the record.

Exclaim interviews Beatrice Martin of Coeur de Pirate.

There’s a new Fucked Up song available to download courtesy of Stereogum. They play a charity gig at The Great Hall on December 20.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”

Toronto psych-poppers Heartbeat Hotel are streaming the whole of their new record Intae Woe, while Mechanical Forest Sound has a recording from their record release show for said record last week available to download.

Stream: Heartbeat Hotel / Inate Woe

Memoryhouse have announced a February 28 release date for their debut full-length, to be entitled The Slideshow Effect. Mechanical Forest Sound also has a recording of a show last week.

The Drake Hotel has announced most of the lineup for this year’s What’s In The Box holiday season music series, wherein they line up five acts for each of the five nights following Christmas with a five dollar cover. Still a few “special guest” spots to be filled but there’s at least a couple nights with some acts that I’ve been meaning to check out (Doldrums, Donlands & Mortimer) so I expect I’ll be there at least once that week. You may as well too – don’t pretend you’ve got better things to do.

And another end-of-year institution – New Year’s Eve at The Tranzac – has announced their live music lineup via Facebook and it features The Elwins, Maylee Todd and more. I went to last year’s, it was fun. Tickets are $13 in advance and believe them when they say it sells out every year.