Search Results - "Jenn Grant, Barzin Drake Underground Toronto December 12, 2006"

Thursday, December 14th, 2006


So yeah, that was it. The streak ends at 1050 days. Mark it. Felt good. Now let’s get on with our lives.

It’s been a while since I was last at the Drake Underground, and in the interim they’ve made some changes – what looks to be a much bigger PA and this crazy riser thing in front of the stage that’s a good half foot higher than the rest of the stage. Maybe it’s useful for rock star-approved guitar solos, but that wasn’t going to much be the case on Tuesday night when Jenn Grant and Barzin performed.

Barzin caught my interest last month and I’ve been enjoying his album My Life In Rooms when I’m in the mood for really quiet folkistry. Live, Barzin Hosseini and his bandmates were somewhat less cloistered-sounding than on record though still not nearly what you’d call extroverted. They ably blended the warmth of Neil Halstead with the melancholy of Mark Kozelek, all served up on a shimmering bed of slide guitar and vibraphone. Terrifically pretty but for some reason, they played hardly anything from the record – tres odd.

It’s entirely possible I’ve seen Jenn Grant perform before as she did time as touring vocalist for The Heavy Blinkers back in the day. But that was then and this is now and the now is that Jenn has a solo career going and that’s what brought her to Toronto for a whole series of shows in and around southern Ontario. Taking the stage with a four-piece backing band The Night Painters, she treated the audience to selections from both her old EP and her forthcoming album Orchestra For The Moon and even if you were unfamiliar with her material, it was instantly welcoming and thoroughly enjoyable. Her rich voice and jazzy singing style combine for some sophisticated pop not unlike Feist’s, but trades Gallic urbanity for an appealing Maritime rootsiness. With a charming and personable stage persona, Grant seems well set to do big things in 2007, but you can still say you saw her when as she’s got another show at Supermarket in Kensington tonight and shows in London and Guelph tomorrow and Friday night, respectively – then it’s back to her old stomping grounds out east. Definitely keep an eye and ear out for this one when her album hits in the Spring, but in the meantime there’s a 2-song single available at Endearing Records. Chart talks to Grant about the making of her album.

And there was a third band on the bill – Halifax’s Down With The Butterfly – but alas I was too tired to stick it out. They’re also playing again tonight at the Rivoli.

Photos: Jenn Grant, Barzin @ The Drake Underground – December 12, 2006
MP3: Jenn Grant – “Dreamer”
MP3: Barzin – “Leaving Time”
MP3: Barzin – “Lets Go Driving”
MP3: Barzin – “Won’t You Come”
eCard: Barin / My Life In Rooms
Video: Barzin – “Leaving Time” (YouTube)
MySpace: Jenn Grant
MySpace: Barzin

Aversion reports on the state of the forthcoming third British Sea Power album. For teasing us with a cancelled-almost-as-soon-as-it-was-announced show last month, it damn well better be a good one.

The Boston Globe catches Andy Partridge in a prickly, immodest and entertaining mood (via Largehearted Boy). Maybe it’s because he saw the figurines that are being made of XTC. And contrary to what Pitchfork says, they’re not really action figures if there’s no articulation. I will wait for the XTC figures with swivel-action battle grip, thank you very much. The Pitch caught Partridge in a sunnier mood.

Joe Pernice in the latest issue of The Big Takeover on living in Toronto:

“The Kit Kat has a red wrapper up here. The Kit Kat I grew to love had an orange wrapper. When it comes to a chocolaty treat with a curiously crispy wafer center, ‘a pox on multiculturalism,’ I say”.

We love you too, Joe. And we have Coffee Crisp up here.

Battlestar Galactica vs The Simpsons.

So what did I do with my day off? Got a sweet deal on a telephoto lens and just happened to have it with me when Duarte pointed out that Toronto eatery and celeb hangout Sassafraz was on fire. Cue photos, cue Toronto Star linkage. What an afternoon. I bet if I quit blogging altogether, I could become an astronaut.

np – Matt Pond PA / Emblems

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

The Longway Home

Thanks to Skatterbrain for bringing to my attention the fact that Toronto jangle mavens The Airfields have emerged from their hiatus, somewhat, to post some new demos on their MySpace page. Their Laneways EP, released this Spring, was a real treat and certainly whetted the appetite for more.

When last I spoke to head Airfield David Lush, he said the band (in whatever configuration it was at that time) had recorded an album’s worth of material and yet the future of the band was uncertain. I’ve sent him a quick note asking if the emergence of these tracks indicates some firmer direction for The Airfields – if I get any info back, I’ll update this. But in the meantime, give the new stuff a listen. It’s good.

MP3: The Airfields – “Prisoners Of Our Love” (demo)
MP3: The Airfields – “The Longway Home” (demo)
MP3: The Airfields – “You’re So Wonderful” (demo)

And staying local, Ohbijou, Henri Faberge & The Adorables and Carmen Elle will be providing the musical component to the ALL CAPS craft show happening at the Whipper Snapper Gallery (587A College St., near Clinton) this Sunday, December 10. The craft show starts at 4, music at 7 and it’s all over by 10 – admission is $7 and it’s all-ages. It will be nice to see Ohbijou in a small venue for a change and people have been trying to get me to a Henri Faberge show for what seems like forever now – no, it’s not one of their famously rambunctious residence shows at the Embassy, but should be good regardless.

And skipping ahead a couple days, For The Records fave and Heavy Blinker Jenn Grant will be in town for a number of shows next week, though the one that I’m planning on checking out is on Tuesday night at the Drake Underground where she’ll be joined on the bill by Toronto slowcore/country act Barzin and Haligonians Down With The Butterfly. I picked up Barzin’s latest My Life In Rooms a couple weeks ago and while it’s a little over-samey start to finish, at least the sustained mood is an exceptionally pretty one and there are a few superb tracks on it. As for Grant, her other Toronto shows are at Holy Joe’s on the 10th and Supermarket on the 14th.

I Heart Music has a recent CBC Radio 3 session from Ottawa’s The Acorn. There’s selections from both of their excellent recent EPs Blankets! and Tin Fist, the latter of which they’ll be having a CD release party for next Friday night (December 15) when they open for Elliottt Brood at Lee’s Palace. Acorn singer Rolf Klausener talks a bit about the theme of the new record to Chart.

Joel Gibb complains to Washington Square News that NAFTA isn’t working for The Hidden Cameras. But having successfully navigated the border, he talks to The Portland Mercury, Minneapolis City Pages and Tuscon Weekly. And though the December 14 show in Toronto is still listed on their MySpace, there’s still no venue or ticket information. That’s next week, fellas.

Drowned In Sound talks to Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett. Via Largehearted Boy.

The Register-Guard talks to Amy Millan, PopMatters talks to Emily Haines. Haines is at the Danforth Music Hall on January 6.

Murray Lightburn of The Dears tells Harp that the album that changed his life was by… The Dears. Okay, everyone who didn’t see that coming, hands up.

np – Forget Cassettes / Salt