5 ON THE FLY – Five Mini Record Reviews In One Place

Tara Baswani – Quest: Origins
On her debut record Tara Baswani showcases a soulful voice that would seem to harbour a mystery – the kind of mystery you don’t ever want to unravel. She also demonstrates mature song writing skills. Moody arrangements and clever instrumentation richly enhance the listening experience. Overall, the tracks could be described as indie blues, although “Sophie” is out-and-out folk and “Breakdown” features a large dose of Indian influence.

Upshot: An impressive, richly textured debut.


Joyfultalk – Muuixx

A remarkable one-man show. Jay Crocker utilizes a set of 14 homebuilt instruments to create his own musical style and language. The 9 tracks can be generally described as post-rock with a strong sense of rhythm, but beyond that no comparisons provide any assistance. The mood expressed shifts from playful (“Butterfly 12 Komokyo”) and adventurous (“Pommel Horse”) to mysterious (“Possible Futures”) and menacing (“Buschbabies”).

Upshot: Unique sounds, some retro grooves, and dollops of neo-cool.


Fountain – Fountain 2

fountain 2

If you are going to venture into Fountain then be prepared to get soaked – soaked in math rock, that is. Frankly, it’s not for everyone. There is a strict adherence to pre-set patterns that virtually precludes any organic change or improvisation. On the other hand, the repeated passages can be mesmerizing. And these guys are good at it. Combine that with their penchant for futuristic-sounding monotonic vocals and you have yourself some pretty outré post-punk, post-rock and even (in the case of “Two Ugly Doves”) post-grunge.

Upshot: Avant-rock gone math. If that’s your thing then you are in luck.

Tigerwing – Make the Rabbits Run
make the rabbits run

Tigerwing. She’s either a quirky R&B singer with some weird-ass backing music, or she’s an electronic post-rock experimentalist on a soul kick. Doesn’t matter. Sarah Kelly cooks up some killer rhythms and croons like a gospel singer, all in aid of her off-kilter dark synth pop. At times you wanna dance. At other times you worry that she should be on medication. It’s all good.

Upshot: Finally, a full-length album of Tigerwing’s personal vision. An art-rock/dark-waver’s delight.


Crystal Eyes – No Man is an Island
no man is an island

With assistance from Mathieu Blanchard on drums and Chris Dadge (of Lab Coast) on bass, Erin Jenkins establishes a Western Canadian beach-head for shoegaze/dream-pop with her own take on the genre. She pushes out in both directions. Her guitar work is grungier than most, but her angelic voice is sublimely sweet. It’s a beautiful dichotomy. She even gives The Lad Mags a run for their garage rock money (“Keep The Faith”).

Upshot: Gritty guitar, even heavy at times, provides a nice counter-point to Jenkins’ sweet dream-pop.

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