Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Other irons in the fire...

This isn't a regular entry (though I am working on another new one, which should be up in a couple days), but just a little update to tell you about some other developments you might be interested in.


UMFM's working with the fine folks at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, producing a series of podcasts featuring interviews and selections from featured performers. While most of the time I'm behind the production board, I did interview Artistic Director Chris Frayer for the first episode, which can be found here. These podcasts will be updated regularly and one of the subsequent episodes is my interview with Mark Berube (who's a great solo artist I've talked to before for the Killbeat podcast) as his spoken-word/folk group The Fugitives will be playing the FF.


Jose Gonzalez is coming to Winnipeg, playing two shows - the first on Canada Day and the second the next night, both at the Park Theatre. I managed to catch Jose by phone today and there will be a feature on him and his live show in the next Stylus.


For those of you in the 'Peg, you're likely familiar with Uptown, the weekly magazine/newspaper. Well, I've just yesterday submitted my first batch of reviews (a couple positive, one very negative) as I will be taking over reviewing electronic releases for them. Should be on newsstands soon all throughout the city, and if you live elsewhere, you'll be able to peep it here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sadako and Victoria's Paper Cranes

Now I don't know if they're named after the famous story of Sadako and the thousand Paper Cranes, but I do know that Halcyon Days provides a good follow-up to my last entry about the Airfields' Up All Night. Though where that record was a wash of shoegazey pop-rock, this one is power-pop through and through. The rollicking piano that propels some of the Paper Cranes sugary sweet tracks would have a hard time being heard over the Airfields' wash of guitar work. (Interestingly, The Airfields are fourth among The Paper Cranes top friends and the two bands played an Unfamiliar Records/Musebox showcase together in March).

One other thing I don't know is just how new Halcyon Days actually is. The band mentions in an entry dated May 10, 2007 on their Myspace blog that they're planning their full length release for the first week of August, and a later entry dated February 26, 2008 indicates the CD is "available now," yet the album arrived just a couple weeks ago at the station. I can only presume that it was released locally and via the net in February and is only now being serviced to radio. Thank heavens they finally got around to sending it though as it's a fantastic listen and a great addition to the UMFM playlists.

Here's a live performance of "laughing sickness" from their CD Release Party, dated August 07, 2007, which leads me to believe this album's been out for a dog's age but is only now being serviced to radio. About time!

Victoria! Have you been keeping your treasures secret from the rest of the country? Take the ferry and come join the rest of Canada - we love your Chet, your Himalayan Bear, your Aaargh! Records, and now your Paper Cranes.

Don't forget to check out The Paper Cranes' Myspace page, where my favourite cut, "applecore manticore" is streaming. There are also a few tracks available on their New Music Canada artist page as well.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Flying High in the Toronto Sky...

While the Platinum Pied Pipers may have laid claim to the use of the phrase "Triple-P" or "PPP," the material on new record Up All Night makes a strong case for Toronto band The Airfields meriting a "PPP" of their own:
Pure Pop Perfection.
The band cite the Sarah and Creation Record labels as influences on their Myspace page and this is evident from the first notes of opener "Prisoners Of Our Love," which is one of the most blissful songs I've heard this year. I'm certain "Prisoners..." would make Robert Wratten jealous.

The Airfields follow up the bliss of "Prisoners..." with "Never See You Smile" at which point it becomes obvious that as influential as the twee-pop of Sarah Records was on the genesis of Up All Night, shoegaze was equally important, with the band building on My Bloody Valentine's legacy.

"Yr So Wonderful" is another one of the tracks that demonstrates the debt The Airfields owe to My Bloody Valentine, with the melodically squalling guitars that threaten to overtake the vocals of lead singer David Lush (and how's that for a descriptive last name?), without ever quite doing so. Part of that effect is achieved by the mix that keeps the guitars front-and-centre while Lush's voice dances around. Close attention to the lyrics being sung reveal a take on love that's as blissful as the music - this album is as much about swooning as it is swoon-inducing.

A complete stream of Up All Night is available at CD Baby - if I haven't convinced you to check the album out, a full listen definitely will.

Don't forget to check out The Airfields website and Myspace pages, as well as the Humblebee Recordings website as well.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...