Although the weather wasn’t great, yesterday’s ‘4in1’ Session was a great success. We heard some incredible performances from some great Ottawa/Montreal artists, and each one contributed to making this day one to remember. We were so pleased that Erik Lind & the Orchard stayed in Ottawa to play on a rainy Sunday afternoon – and we hope to see them back soon. Chrissy Lovingwood, Blue Blue Satellite and Cold Capital all elucidated the diverse talent that Ottawa has to offer, bringing original musicianship and creativity to a new audience (which is what 4in1 is all about).
Leading up to their new self-titled EP release next weekend, Little Stella impressed everyone with some of their new songs. Their melodic precision brightened what was a gloomy, wet day and gave us a good sample of how good their new EP should be. Keep an ear out for these guys, they will do big things and have a really bright future in music.
Amos the Transparent is always a welcome addition to any music event happening in Ottawa. They embody the character and talent that is music in Ottawa, and they relish the opportunity to play their songs acoustically. Blending strings, harmonies, lyrical depth and ridiculously catchy hooks, this is a band I’ve personally grown to love for everything they offer their listeners.
Above are some of my pictures of the event – again, I’m no photographer and I won’t pretend to be one! Think of it as documented observations.
In this second installment of our two-part interview with Polaris Prize shortlist nominee Cadence Weapon, he discusses his philosophy towards songwriting, how community has impacted and influenced his music, and some of the unique characteristics of his album Hope in Dirt City.
Along with exclusive live footage from his performance at the Arboretum Music+Arts Festival, Rollie opens up about why keeping himself free from genre confines has opened up infinite possibilities for him to continue his reign as a ‘sonic pioneer’ and also to attract new audiences to his brand of hip hop.
Anyone who has seen him perform quickly realizes that he seems to light up the stage. His performance at Arboretum was electrifying and completely in line with the spirit of the festival. Bringing enthusiasm and lyrical mazes to an already amped up audience made for a climactic set, as everyone countered the cold air of the night with beat-driven movements inspired by Cadence Weapon himself. I think that if it were possible, he would have had us all up there for an all-out stage party.
Here is Part 2 of our interview with Rollie:
SAW Video is an artist-run centre committed to supporting the ground-breaking artistic production, presentation and programming of independent video and media art. SAW Video provides many services to its members including affordable technical facilities and a wide range of programs. Its services and programs are designed to create an atmosphere that inspires production through the exchange of ideas around form, content and style.
ARBORETUM is Ottawa’s newest boutique music and arts festival. Inspired by progressive arts festivals around the world, we’re a carefully curated, intimate, community-driven festival highlighting the best in local music, food and arts.
Cadence Weapon performs at the inaugural Arboretum Music+Arts Festival 2012 in Ottawa.
These last few weeks have been very exciting. I’ve been doing this whole music writing thing since May, and that seems like a lifetime ago. The Arboretum Music+Arts Festival, which was held on September 15th at the Jail Hostel, marked a point for me when I realized that so many things were coming together in Ottawa, musically. It really hit me that there is a kickass music community here in this city, one that is humble but not afraid to break out of its shell and come together in glorious fashion (as they did at Arboretum). But enough fuzzy wuzzies.
The festival also marked the first video interview by Ottawa Showbox and Partus Films – a collaborative venture between myself and Craig Conoley that blossomed from the same passion we have for Ottawa’s music scene and a desire to find the most effective way to reach a wider audience in the city. We will be continuing the web series on a regular basis in the future – featuring artists of all kinds from Ottawa and across Canada, speaking with them candidly and honestly, or perhaps having them play an exclusive session for us. The possibilities are endless, and with the motivation shared between Craig and I, we believe that this new web series can be a platform for Ottawa’s artists to show what they are made of to the entire country.
The interview with Cadence Weapon filmed at SAW Gallery is the first step. We’re excited to be teaming up to bring these videos to you, and hope that you enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them. Well, here it is… Part 1 with Rollie Pemberton AKA Cadence Weapon.
We’ve got a great lineup for the first fall edition of 4in1, and what better place to hold this session than the Dominion Arboretum off Dow’s Lake?
Matias Munoz (me) will be at the Arboretum at about 1:30 PM to help bands settle in and set up, and signs will be put up along the path starting at the right side of the restaurants building (Guadalaharry’s/Malone’s) on Dows Lake. After a short walk along the path (there will be signs along the way too), you will see us settled in just off the path in a perfect nook.
If it rains, the tunnels beside Mill St. Brew Pub (555 Wellington St) – but we’ll make this call the day of so until then, Arboretum it is.
If you ask around, The Love Machine is one of those bands that people just seem to categorically fall in love with. Their full-length Sweater Weather debuted a couple years back, and gained a little extra notoriety for their controversial video for the album’s first single “Be A Path”. They’ve decided to put forth another video for the song “Make Believe” that was directed and produced by Luca Fiore. Once again, the video is story-based and features all the members of the band – albeit not as controversial as “Be A Path”, it’s cinematic elements fit the song perfectly. Once again, these guys show that they aren’t about to slow down. Check out the new video below!
With the recent release of their brand new EP Inferior Ghost, Toronto’s Papermapshave proven themselves as one of the city’s premier up and coming acts. Personally, the 6-track album left me wanting more and should prove to be a taste of things to come when a sophomore full-length release comes to fruition. We were treated to a couple of sample tracks on their Bandcamp leading up to the August 28th release date (which were fitting precursors to what the rest of the songs offered), but for me the EP really stood out because of the final track called ‘Reaction Formation’. Marino’s vocals bust into the chorus beautifully as the band takes us on a ride that includes intervals of soft and thunderous percussion and great instrumentation. It’s a perfect ending to a successful EP, and a song that I’ve blared many times for my wonderful neighbours to enjoy (no complaints yet). I always try and gauge how I feel after listening to an album, and with Inferior Ghost the first thing that came to mind was that this band really has an identity, a true sound. Not that they didn’t before, but this album really solidified it.
Leading up to the CD release party that happened at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on August 28th, the band embarked on a 3,000 + kilometre Canadian mini-tour that was filled with excitement and some overnight stretches of highway that probably seemed never-ending. They were also one man down, as synth/guitarist Todd Harrison stayed back (partially because of personal commitments and partially because the van rental company screwed up and gave them one that was a little bit too small). However, when Papermaps hit Zaphod’s on August 17th the rest of the band filled in nicely as they played a stellar set in front of a smaller than expected crowd. This only made things more intimate, however embarrassing it may be that Ottawa folk in the Byward Market are hard-come by to walk in off the street to see a good show.
The set included some staples from their debut album, the most recognizable being ‘Reunion’ which sounded even more catchy live as well as most of the new tracks from Inferior Ghost. Despite the smaller turnout and road weariness, the band still put on an energetic show that could have easily gotten a full house riled up. They were supposed to play with Amos the Transparent the night before but had to change plans due to scheduling conflicts, which I also attended.
At the end of the night, I stuck around with the band for drinks at Zaphod’s and got to know them. All I can say is that I made some new friends that night, a great group of people were a pleasure to see perform and get to know. I actually felt really bad that the turnout hadn’t been what was expected, and almost (inexplicably) at fault. I assured them that Ottawa has a unique music culture that, if you’re a smaller band from out of town, needs to be cultivated. Although Ottawans may not walk off the street into Zaphod’s, Papermaps is a band that so many people would love seeing live. They said they’d come back, which put my worries to rest.
After a fun-filled night that ended up being a riot, we parted ways and promised to keep in touch. I had the chance to interview lead singer Dean Marino after the fact about where the band is at right now and what the new EP means to them. Here it is:
Just when you think summer is over (typically signified by hoards of students returning), September has lots still in store for those of us who never want it to end. The ninth annual House of PainTUrban Arts and Culture Festival runs Sept. 13-16 and features a variety of artists and activities. What I think is great about this kind of festival is that it is purely community-driven and brings together several art forms including graffiti art, music, dance, film, photography, clothing & crafts, spoken word and much more. On top of that, there are workshops for young people and new professionals who want to become more engaged in Canadian urban culture, which I think brings a positive and constructive atmosphere to the whole thing. This kind of grassroots festival, which is much different from the likes of Bluesfest, is has remained just that: a local-level series of events that reinforces how diversified and talented the arts in Ottawa really are. Chances are if you’ve seen some of the street art around the city, the artist will in some way be associated with this festival. With the Sunday HoP concert happening Sunday, Sept. 16th, new school and old school are coming together with acts like Shad, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kid Koala, Flight Distance, Radio Radio and Atherton taking the stage under the bridge to finish things off. Who says summer needs to end so soon?
Some big names in Ottawa’s music scene achieved success last night at the Ottawa International Film Festival. Deservedly, Fevers, Flight Distance and Hilotrons all tied for first place in the Music Video Challenge at Babylon on the closing night of festivities. MC Devin Atherton hosted the event as it featured some of the finest artists in film and music that Ottawa has to offer. Fevers had their video for ‘Passion is Dead (Long Live Fashion)’ screened, which was directed, produced and edited by Shooter McNally. Flight Distance also used the night as a premier of their new video ‘Blanket Party’ off their sophomore album Bad Information released in 2011 and directed by Edward Fawcett. The Hilotrons (Kelp Records), who first released their self-titled album in 2003, received praise for their new video for ‘Emergency’ – a video which I have yet to find online, but will post as soon as it surfaces. Congratulations to all the participants, this years crop will leave us waiting in suspense for next year’s OIFF Music Video Challenge.
The 2012 OIFF Music Video Challenge Lineup: EYES ON YA STAR – ERUPT EMERGENCY – HILOTRONS MAKE BELIEVE – THE LOVE MACHINE BLANKET PARTY – FLIGHT DISTANCE POST-SECULAR – THEATERNIA PASSION IS DEAD (LONG LIVE FASHION) – FEVERS ON HOLD – DENE SWAN I CAN – SOPHIA RADISCH HOUSE OF COMMON PROBLEMS – SILKKEN LAUMANN L.K.U.T. – ZOO LEGACY ASIAN FETISHIST – SCARY BEAR SOUNDTRACK THE PROPOSAL – PETER JOYNT
Fevers – Passion is Dead (Long Live Fashion)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbM1K2or8pU] Credits: Shooter McNally Director + Producer + Editor
Director: Edward Fawcett Sharpe Producers: Edward Fawcett Sharpe, Joel Barnes, Steve Jones Cinematographer: Joel Barnes Editor: Edward Fawcett Sharpe AD/Colouring Grading: Steve Jones
Performed and written by: Flight Distance (Bender, Patience, DJ Calkuta) Produced by: Crack Moses With co-production from: Kaem Mixed by: James Hancock From the acclaimed Flight Distance album, “Bad Information”, 2011.
With their latest LP Goodnight My Dear…I’m Falling Apart, Amos the Transparent have sent a message that their music knows no bounds. Having received critical acclaim for their previous two albums, their most recent release is a testament to their ability to fuse diverse instrumentation and more experimental songwriting tactics with the honesty in lyrical content that has come to define the band’s music. While tracks like ‘Says the Spark’ and ‘Sure as the Weather’ have infiltrated the eardrums of indie music lovers across Canada, the album in its entirety is a journey through tame melodies, percussive onslaughts, and complex vocal patterns that never leave the listener unsatisfied. Variable instances of tranquility and vigor define the character of this album: both light and dark. These contrasting features make for an effective and balanced record.
The band is beginning its fall tour with multiple Canadian tour dates, the second of which was last night (August 16th) at Zaphod’s. Friends, family and a dependable fan base crowded into the venue in what felt like a fraternal gathering of sorts. Halifax native Ben Caplan started things off, with a voice that CBC’s Chris Norris describes as having a “rough around the edges, bar room salooney, Tom Waits vibe to it”. Caplan was sans his usual band, The Casual Smokers, but managed to rile the growing crowd up with just his acoustic guitar and pure vocal power. He is a true musician, creating unmistakably unique sounds that just happen to go well with bands like Amos. He also assured me he would be back to Ottawa in the coming months.
The night continued with Toronto’s Battle Mountain Band, a group that was formed by friends who also belong in other bands. For a side-project band that seems to be around just for the sake of a creative outlet, their opening performance of “My Weekend” gave the impression that this band had been around for years. Their set was fun, free-spirited, and laden with bits of humour as they encouraged everyone in the crowd to get closer to the party on stage. Echoes of folk rang through in many of the guitar riffs, and flowing bass lines gave many of their songs a classic feel. In the footsteps of bands like Good Old War, all the members of Battle Mountain Band are lead vocalists, trading verses and bringing a different style and sound to each song. Even in songs like Detroit, which is about one of their ex-wives, all members shared the stage equally. The only shortcoming was some missed vocal harmonies; while not a major issue, it was distracting at points. The overall performance, however, was rhythmically sound and well executed. Ottawa native Trevor James explains, “Now all engines are firing, we’re back writing lots. We just recorded three new tunes, doing lots of shows… but typically we’re always working and writing no matter what. While transitioning from Montreal to Toronto there was a bit of a lull, but yeah everything is very casual with the Battle Mountain Band since we all have our own projects outside of this one.”
Amos the Transparent came on as the headliner, opening with the song ‘Title Track’ from their debut album Everything I’ve Forgotten to Forget. Their band chemistry was apparent right away as Chandler’s vocals carried perfectly with the variety of instruments on stage. Much like their latest album, their set flowed through peaks and valleys of emotion. Eloquent cello playing by Mike Yates tempered the crowd’s liveliness, which was quickly invigorated by the triad of guitars and two-piece brass. Throughout the entire set it was obvious that the band and audience were thriving off each other. During the performance of ‘Lemons’, Chandler got the crowd singing the background melody without having to persuade them. This dynamic reached a new height when the crowd screamed the refrain “I was meant to go alone” during the song ‘Greater Than Consequence’, which I found to be surprisingly different from the album version I was familiar with.
‘We always look at it in two ways’, says lead vocalist Jonathan Chandler, ‘there’s live Amos and there’s studio Amos. Live Amos always plays the songs that we come up with in the studio, but we kind of take a no-borders approach. We can go ahead and have two drum parts going at the same time as well as a quartet of vocals and three guitar parts in the studio, it sounds cool through the speakers but how are we going to do that live? I think that’s where having seven of us up there allows us to do more, we can each add our own thing on stage.”
One aspect of the show that cannot be overstated is the presence of Kate Sargent. Being the only female on stage, Sargent’s vocals compliment Chandler’s in such a way that it adds another layer to the band’s identity. In songs like ‘Up & Out’ and ‘Sure As The Weather’, her singing is just as pervasive as Chandler’s is, bringing more depth and beauty to their performance. I was as impressed as the girl standing next to me, who happened to be screaming “You are blowing my mind” repeatedly to Sargent between songs. I don’t blame her. Her stand-alone verse in ‘The Stale Scent of Old Beer’ made the entire crowd go silent, after which drummer Chris Wilson took the opportunity to end the song with thunderously climactic percussion. Chandler explains, “We added Kate and Mike after the album was recorded, and I really wish they had been there through that process, because they really do have great ideas and a neat perspective on things”. Wilson also says that, “It’s allowing us to explore more sonic possibilities than we did as a three-piece or four-piece. It’s allowed us to reach greater heights, dynamically and in the intricacies of our songs”.
As far as indie music goes, Amos the Transparent is arguably Ottawa’s greatest export, having their music heard nationally through CBC Radio 3 and on shows like Studio Q (where Jian Ghomeshi referred to the band as “The Canadian Wilco”) and internationally at SXSW Music Festival. It isn’t hard to imagine that this is only the beginning.