The Love Machine will be a major addition to the ‘4in1’ Music Sessions in November. (Photo: Kronick Photography)
As we slowly move into the colder months, we have decided to keep going with the ‘4in1’ Sessions indoors at various venues throughout the city. This month’s session (Nov. 25th) will be held at Antique Skate Shop on Florence St., and will feature a mega line-up of great musicians. The Love Machine are looking forward to playing some new material and getting close with fans in this intimate atmosphere, and Peas & Carrots will play some of their new material as well. And if this wasn’t enough, Montreal’s JF Robitaille is coming into town to play for us too. His presence is always welcome here, and I’m sure all who show up will be in for a big treat from him.
We are anticipating a pretty big turnout, so be sure to get to Antique early so you get nestled into a good spot up front. We will be starting promptly at 2PM, as the shop closes around 5 and we don’t want to be inconveniencing the generous staff and overstaying our welcome. So spread the word, this will be one of the best ‘4in1’ sessions we’ve had yet! And we’ll also be announcing a HUGE December edition too, as we’ve started to get things together for that. Here’s the current line-up as it now stands:
Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon Rose & the Thorns at the ‘4in1’ October Session, and was really happy with how well they fit into the afternoon. With the imminent release of their double-CD Seasons at hand, the band has released a new video for the song “Wild Wind”. We’ll be looking forward to hearing more songs from Seasons, and maybe even a few more videos too. Take a look:
The Balconies have come out with a creepy new video for their song “Do it in the Dark” just in time for Hallowe’en. This is one of the best songs off their debut EP Kill Count and is sure to catch the attention of lovers of Canadian indie. The three-piece who are from Ottawa, now in Toronto, are well on their way to developing a solid fan base with the release of singles like this one. We sure do miss them here in Ottawa, last time I spoke with lead singer Jacquie Neville at Maverick’s she said she and the band would be up for having a conversation about their music and sudden success. Keep an eye out for that, a perhaps even a Balconies video feature. To watch the video, follow the link below.
We all know it’s voting season for our neighbours down south, but you can also exercise your right (if you so choose) by supporting some of Ottawa’s best acts for a session with CBC Bandwidth. This is great because it’s Ontario-wide and could provide one our city’s many talented artists/band with a chance to get a bit more exposure. Loon Choir, Three Little Birds and The Musettes are a few acts from Ottawa who have made it to the final round, with stiff competition. Here’s a rundown of that list from the Bandwidth blog:
On Thursday, Ottawa welcomed Delta Will with special guests Kira May and More Please! to Mercury Lounge. If anyone has been upstairs at Mercury Lounge (which I hadn’t previously), it’s high ceilings, ambient colours/lighting and ominous giant sea monster painted on the wall were a perfect setting for what would be a night of on-stage theatrics, exploration of different musical ideas, and alter egos.
The night opened with Kira May, a Toronto-based musician who seems determined to make an impression not only with superb vocals but also an intriguing way of going about her performance. She rejects the conventional approach to playing music on stage, where energy and showmanship are a big factor in what makes the experience. Instead, she captivated the audience immediately only using looping pedals and her vocals. Her music seemed to draw from Imogen Heap-style songwork, but maintained it’s own character and uniqueness throughout. She also did some beatbox loops that she used as percussion, which added a whole other element to an interesting performance. Sometimes her kneeling down to mess with the effects was distracting, since it drew the focus away from her music. But overall I think everyone in the lounge was mesmerized, and ended up wanting to hear more from her.
The next act to come on was More Please!, a folky-rock band. Band leader Scotty Mack’s songs had a definite classic-rock influence with hints of The Band and Neil Young. I found that this band was a strange addition to the bill, since their music was more standard and wasn’t as captivating as Kira May or Delta Will. I don’t mean this to say that they weren’t talented or good songwriters – just that it didn’t really fit with the tone of the night. I did find the interaction between the two of them great though, a Guild hollow-body and Fender Strat playing off each other beautifully. The sound was off-base with the theme of the night, but their performance was good and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
The headliner Charles Tilden (Toronto’s Parks & Rec) a.k.a Delta Will is billed as a “space blues” pioneer. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s not really like anything you’ve heard before. I didn’t know what it was either, which was a main reason I was excited to see what Delta Will was all about. What I discovered was a really interesting concept. We expect songs to be written from the musician’s point of view, but he takes this a step further with his debut EP Transcendental Visits and takes on the alter ego of an alien looking upon our planet from an outside perspective. And he went all-out with this concept, taking on this alter ego during the performance. When he became thirsty, he asked for “this wonderful hydrating beverage us humans refer to as H20”. Fuse this with a distinct blues influence and you have everyone’s attention. Also using loop pedals and effects, his songs create a symphony of sorts. The way he brought together an old blues sound with the technology of today and a futuristic identity was entertaining on so many levels. Songs like “Darma Blues” and “Ways to Enchant” are perfect examples of this. Sometimes the simple blues riffs are all we hear, and other times layers of instruments and great vocal harmonies take over as the intensity builds. He lets you believe you’re listening to a blues performance and then rips it away with a barrage of modern instrumentation looped through the pedal. By the end of it I was so refreshed, having heard a totally original set of songs inspired by such a bizarre concept. Transcendental Visits appeals to so many different people, whether you’re a fan of Sonny Williams (to whom he dedicated his first song), big on experimental music or just love a good melody.
Here’s Transcendental Visits for your listening pleasure:
Here’s a great new video for the opening track “Light Years”, from her new album This is How We Swim. Don’t forgot to see her play tomorrow night (Oct. 18) at Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield along with Kite Hill, Blue Hibou and Kim Barlow.
One of the main reasons music is such an important part of my life is that it can be made to reflect any number of emotions, situations or states a person may be in. Even just as a listener, you have the power to scour your music library and find that one perfect album, whether it’s a celebratory anthem or somber hymn of loss. Japandroids wrote a triumphant song that speaks to a generation in The Night of Wine and Roses, while Elliott Smith’s song I Better Be Quiet Now reaches the deepest recesses of emotional toil and loneliness. Although drastically different, I love each song for the same reason and they represent aspects of who I am and things I have experienced in different ways. And then there’s Graceland by Paul Simon, which is an album I love but have no idea what he is talking about.
On her sophomore album This is How We Swim, Lisa Bozikovic takes those emotions and experiences and transposes them to a metaphor in our natural environment: water. It can be transformed into different states, molded into beautiful sculptures or formed into violent waves that consume us. This motif of water and transformation melds beautifully with music – like the transformations we go through in life, water molds itself to its environment and is in constant flux. The way she incorporates instrumentation into her songs also makes the listener feel surrounded by it. The opening track Light Years is an example of this; dreamy undertones and soft harmonies give the sense that you’re sitting in the sand watching the waves approach your feet.
Lisa Bozikovic @ Raw Sugar Cafe (Photo: Ming Wu)
This is How We Swim is also full of references to water. Lisa completed a residency on Toronto Island, which surely influenced her decision to make H2O a central character on the album. I enjoy that she doesn’t try and secretly attempt to include the symbol of water into her songs. Rather, the theme helps define the entire thing and accentuates the emotion she is putting into song – which can be an excellent technique to translating thoughts and experiences (often painful) into music. In this sense, the album is a complete package. You are taken on a little journey from song to song (not by boat thought, you have to swim) and no track feels out of place.
Her voice is distinct, soft and dynamic. A stand-out points on the album for me are in the title track pre-chorus:
Again and again you do tell me, That this is not your time for love
You say there’s nothing inside me to give you, So run run run run run
And I just don’t know how to hear you, When you say this is not your time for love
For in these arms I find such comfort, And I’d rather swim than run
To me these lyrics solidified my thoughts that this album was a true expression of that which lies buried deep within. The second bit is a reply to the first, each sung with hopelessness in her voice. This melancholy tone that she touches upon at a few points on the album is an excellent contrast to the points when she sings beautifully. Nowhere on the album is this more evident than in the short, yet powerful song Into the Waves – one gets the sense that she’s floating away from shore and giving up on all that she used to know. The control and expression of her voice really demonstrate her incredible musicianship.
In a sea full of little singer/songwriter fishes, Lisa Bozikovic stands out as a Nemo. The way in which she tells a story using symbols is not only effective, but unique too. This is How We Swim is great accomplishment, and will fit in perfectly between Japandroids and Elliott Smith in my CD collection.
Be sure to see Lisa and Kite Hill play at The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec on October 18th alongside Kim Barlow and Blue Hibou.
In the weeks and months leading up to the Herd Mag release party, I had created an idea in my mind of what the magazine itself would be. Having contributed an article to the first issue, I knew what the spirit of this unique new mag would be: raw, provocative, with local intellectuality seething from its pages. But what does that mean? How can a few people throw together some words, photos and art and realistically expect to have a publication that captures the essence of Ottawa’s cultural nuances? Not that I was skeptical, but this was certainly no small feat.
But founders Steph Vicente and Pat Bolduc weren’t fucking around either. I had been in touch with Steph for a few months before I actually got to meet her and Pat at the Arboretum Festival in September. I immediately felt the passion they were putting into this magazine. Excitement and ideas began to unfurl as we talked, and the anticipation that I had for Herd Magazine grew into a need for it. I simply couldn’t wait any longer for what was to be the new and definitive publication for people like us – those who give a shit about Ottawa, it’s artists, it’s creative visionaries, and those who make this city an interesting and desirable place to be.
As the author of the article titled “The Unconventional Playground” in the first issue, I was originally looking forward to having my first published work included in a magazine. I felt proud about what I had written. But this began to change as the first issue of Herd started coming together, with the release date of October 12 getting closer. I can say now that my sense of pride completely revolves around the team that brought this together and the quality of work that went into making this magazine a piece of art in itself. The final product is incredible – not only for its aesthetics and articles, but because the hard work that went into it is so blatantly obvious with every turn of the page.
I have a tremendous respect for Steph and Pat, as well as the other contributors who poured some of their soul into Herd. You don’t always meet people like that. Herd Mag will become a mainstay for Ottawa and the arts community not only because it is relevant and necessary, but also because it is symbolic (and perhaps the product) of an artistic renaissance here in the nation’s capital. Things are happening here that demand to be heard, read, seen and experienced. That’s why it isn’t going anywhere.
I won’t say too much about the release party for Issue 01 held at Fall Down, just that if you weren’t there then you should have been. Lineups down the block, beats filling the gallery and drinks to celebrate the culmination of the work put into this magazine over the last 7 months. DJ INA was in charge of spinning all night, and Amos the Transparent played a great set as always (the cello always gets me). The raffles were lots of fun, although I didn’t win. I was so impressed with the turnout, it really showed how many people are in support of this kind of publication. Awesome night all-around. I still think there should be a release party for every issue… just saying.
Here are some totally unprofessional photos of the night’s events. Enjoy.
As I prepare to embark on the long journey home to London, Ontario to see family and shamelessly commit one of the seven deadly sins (TURKEY GLUTTONY), my only regret is that I have to miss out on the EP Release Party for Little Stella’s new record. Luckily, I saw them perform several of their new tracks last weekend at the ‘4in1’ September Session and they pretty much stole the show. I’ve seen them a few times now and I have to say they are only getting better, not only creating music with depth and soul, but also nailing their live performances with melodic precision – and they’re having fun too.
I am actually pissed that I can’t make it, but I know that I’ll see them play again soon. These guys are genuine to the core, and if you get the chance to meet them, you’ll probably be on the receiving end of an appreciative high-five for listening to and supporting their music. So, that being said, if you have nothing to do on a gloomy Saturday night this weekend, hit up Ritual Nightclub and help support some of Ottawa’s great young talent. Judging from the songs I’ve already heard, this EP is going to be noticed. The songs demand attention. I saw Jonathan Chandler of Amos the Transparent FIRST HAND turn his head in amazement and say “Who are these guys? They’re awesome!”… So, there you have it.