Still trying to catch up this week — so much music coming down. Here’s a rootsy, country folk album from Ontario’s Dinner Belles. Sounds very traditional at first, but they have their own new millennium indie lens on the whole thing.
by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Label: Fiddlehead Records
They are an indie folk-rock outfit from the West Coast. You think you’ve got them pegged already, don’t you? Think again. For one thing they have more rootsy instruments in their arsenal than you’d normally expect from Canadian pacific music (banjos, fiddles, etc.). The thing that really sets them apart, however, is their arrangements. That’s not to say that F&B take you on weird free-form trips or baffle you with dissonant change-ups, but the song structures are never disappointingly predictable. It’s not heavy-handed by any means, but they throw you off just enough to pique your interest.
by Mark Anthony Brennan
Valery Gore offers up a simple but effective video to the song “S.O.” from the album that is gearing up to rank high on my list of best albums of the year, ‘Idols in teh Dark Heart’.
by Mark Anthony Brennan
It’s nice to see some artistry in video production (sorry, but DIY efforts are getting tiresome). There are lot of deft touches in this one set to the song “I Want to See the Light” by Sarah MacDougall. It portrays a story of what it is like to be walking home knowing that there is a sniper out there.
Last night, Lee’s Palace was infused with Icelandic musical flavours courtesy of Asgeir. Seemed like an ideal companion for many on a chilly night in early October.
Low Roar captivated the usually restless crowd during openers. There was absolute silence for the entire set, with no banter until the last song. Project of singer-songwriter Ryan Karazija (ex- Audrey Sessions), there was a certain cinematic and grandiose element to the songs ideal for listens during dark foggy nights. Karazija’s wailing falsettos never hit a false note, as the haunting melodies helped by eccentric synth patterns and electronic percussion all pieced together to establish a serene ambience. The set didn’t have the expected pauses. This was a bit puzzling for the crowd, unaware when to howl in appreciation. But, with such enthralling music, pausing for talk is more of an unnecessary interruption. Karazija and crew exited to encore chants. Not too shabby for a Toronto debut.
The evening of subdued melodies continued as Asgeir cozied the nippy venue with lush falsettos supported by a stellar crew of musicians collectively part of Asgeir Trausti band. Gaining initial fame for his Icelandic debut, the 22-year-old bearded songster announced his bilingual intentions at the start, much to the roaring delight of those wanting to hear from both Dýrð í dauðaþögn and the English translated In The Silence. After all, Asgeir’s gentle serenade is the real star. Voice that has the maturity of Justin Vernon or JVM, the fairly reserved Nordic star excelled both during acoustic gems ‘Summer Guest’ and the viral cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ or louder jams ‘Torrent’ and the hit single ‘King and Cross’.
Impressive live performances can only further Asgeir’s widespread acclaim. If last night’s rowdy reception is any indication, the Icelandic star is all set to be the next successful musical export
Toronto is a resilient city. Instead of sulking in the disappointment that was Nuit Blanche on Saturday, hordes came out to the ‘Shoe for an evening of crunchy west-coast rock courtesy of Current Swell.
Theatre Crisp had an admirable consistent peppy energy as the venue was gradually filling up. Bringing their brand of ‘funk-hop’, the Niagara-based band played their unique cross genre of ska, funk and hip-hop. Fedora-adorning frontman humbleHAB was equally stellar as emcee and singer, impressing during A Tribe Called Quest and Jack Johnson covers. David Cox, tap dancer extraordinaire, was put to good use for percussion elements during brief ballad moments. Other times, Cox’ tapping sounds were understandably masked by instruments, appearing more to be a distraction. The band’s honest energy was particularly charming, as they ended the set with groovilicious ‘Suzie’.
Packed house on a Sunday night was apparently not the expectation from lads of Current Swell. Thankful for the roaring crowded reception, Scott Stanton and his buds from Victoria jumped right into their catalogue full of radio-friendly alt-rock tunes. What sets them apart is the varied mix of genres catering to your every music need. You have the funky & acoustic ‘Young and Able’ or nostalgic & folky ‘Long Time Ago’ or slide-guitar party jam ‘Rollin’, off the new release Ulysses. Newer material resonated even more with gems like ‘One Day I’ll Be Rich’ (move over, BNL!) or reflective ‘Man of Maps’. The hits never stopped comin, and there was barely a soul in the audience that wasn’t sweating along. Even Ghosty Boy shared his sentimental bliss. “Looked into the crowd during the song, and just the amount of beaming smiles back at me”, said the bassist, “made me realize it’s all worth it’. A true ‘awe shucks’ moment!
Humble and organic talent. That is word association for Current Swell. Doubt anybody would disagree with that. When you get to see them live, you would mostly like add ‘effing awesome’ to that list as well.