Steak and Eggs is the latest record from Flamingo Bay, of Hamilton, Ontario. Like it’s diner-staple namesake, this record is solid, filling, and comfortingly familiar without being tedious. Here are some of the highlights: Culprit of the Tahiti Pearl, is seven minutes long, and is really two, perhaps three songs in one. It is also the first song, and sets the swamp-garage tone for the record: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay Checkout Line is the second song, and brings some stompy bluesy swagger to the proceedings: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay And finally, Righteousness, the closest thing they have to a slow jam: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay
So, as some of you may know, Canadian Music Week kicks off today in Toronto. I am not there, but, in honor of the occasion, I’ll be shining my light on some Canadian bands and musicians that I love. First up: YouYourself&i (Daniel Gélinas), of Montréal, Québec, with a new EP Heart Static which I like because a) he does actually use static as an instrument! and b) the songs are like sonic puzzles, full of unusual shapes and complicated connections. The tone is gloomy, in places, but yet also shot through with bright shimmery tones. As an example, here is Mummies, the first song on the EP: Heart Static by YouYourself&i And also Blubber, which I could perhaps describe as “a heartbroken computer muttering to itself:” Heart Static by YouYourself&i
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Lylit, of Austria, is a classically trained pianist and jazz vocalist who studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. Now she’s brought her considerable talents to bear on pop music, and is releasing her first record today, called Unknown. It’s a collaboration with producer/drummer Andreas Lettner; Unknown is the first single from that record, … Continue reading
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Catherine Feeny, indie folk solo artist has teamed up with jazz percussionist Chris Johnedis to make a record, and it’s scheduled to emerge into the world later this month. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some tracks ahead of time, and here’s what I can tell you: it’s a many-faceted folk-jazz fusion gem. These … Continue reading
And now for something that does not involve a couch: A Simple Way, by TIO, of Toronto. This song is everything I like about electronic music: hypnotic, shimmery, but with a hint of drone, sandpaper and ancient videogames. Plus some ambiguously sexy cover art. Come, let us listen and squint at that picture and wonder if it’s a dick together.
Faithful Brave & Honest is the second full-length from The Honorable South, and while a little bit more mellow than I Love My Tribe, it is no less delightful. Their funky soul vibe is very much intact; if anything the slightly slower pace gives one more space to appreciate their complex jams and Charm Taylor’s beautiful voice. Here are a few of my favorites: Overdue, which has trippy alternating tones floating over a slow, hypnotic beat: Faithful Brave & Honest by The Honorable South Champagne, which is built around a heavy, aggressive rock and roll guitar: Faithful Brave & Honest by The Honorable South And finally The Sun Dance, which is fluid and mellow and a call to try harder and shine brighter: Faithful Brave & Honest by The Honorable South
Earlier this week I was, once again, noodling around Soundcloud looking for one thing when I found something else: Dogs in the Daylight by Jeffrey Martin. Old Good Friend was the first song I heard, and I’ve been sitting with it these last few days, letting it simmer. Thinking about some of my old good friends, and olive branches, and whether I want to extend them. Whether I can extend them. I still haven’t decided. Dogs in the Daylight is the title track. It’s less of a gut punch than Old Good Friend but really that’s like saying aged whiskey is smoother than new. Most of the rest of the record is available for test-listening at Soundcloud; I say “most” because it was recently re-issued with four additional songs. It’s excellent, and all y’all should go and listen to it.
I Believe, by We Were Strangers: This one is easy to sink into and get lost in. I made it through twice before I paused to wonder what, exactly, was going on here – were the rich piano tones and lush strings disguising a dark tale of love and kidnapping? Or being kidnapped by love? The answer, as it turns out, is somewhere between “maybe” and “kind of,” depending on how you feel about settling on one person; per singer and chief lyricist Stefan Melbourne, it’s about “letting yourself commit to someone, and sustaining that.” Also appearing on this track: James Kenosha (drums and piano) and Lins Wilson (cello). Kenosha, who initially heard the songs when Melbourne posted them under the name The Works of Isaac, also acted as producer. The band is from Manchester, but their first show will be at the Bedroom Bar in London on February 25th; check it out if you’re in town.
Sundowner is the second record from HT Heartache (Mary Roth), of Los Angeles, CA. And, for a record named after a biker gang, it’s surprising mellow. It’s also awesome: there isn’t a single song that’s filler, not even one note out of place. I like to put it on in the evening and sink into it like a warm bath. Ok, a warm bath with strong noir undertones that – just to totally mix metaphors here – if it was a person, very likely wear red lipstick and would regularly be asked to surrender all of her knives. She wouldn’t, of course, she’d just hand over the ones people can see. But they’d try. The first song is Trenton, and it sets the tone for the whole record: meditative, melancholy, sharp and lovely: These next two are just my favorites. Soft Rain, for the velvety texture of the interplay of her voice and the melody: And Darkside, because it’s the most up-tempo tune on the record, and fun to sing along to:
This is the video for Breathe Your Last, by Jameson (Jameson Burt), from his new EP Carnivore. It considers, visually, the battle between artist – writer, in this case – and demons, and artist and self, and contains some weird Fight Club-style bloody violence and Blair Witch-style shaky footage of one man’s mind coming apart at the seams. There is one extended scene with words melting off a blackboard that is seriously the stuff of nightmares for anyone who keeps little piles of scribbled chunks of story and notes-to-self laying around. On the plus side: our hero does climb out of the nightmare pit at the end and presumably lives to fight (and scribble) another day. Some thoughts about Carnivore as a whole: I’ve been listening to it on loop for the last couple of days, and it is the kind of record that 1) will stand up to that kind of test – I have yet to get bored with it and 2) blooms under that kind of scrutiny. Breathe Your Last has a distinctly Americana sound, but the rest of the songs don’t really; they shimmy all over the indie rock spectrum, borrowing from a variety of genres … Continue reading