While we don’t run a whole lot of album reviews on Showbox, once in a while we like to mix things up. Cold Capital is a band that has been around for almost three years, having released the short, rough-around-the-edges Raw EP in the winter of 2012 and, more recently, a five-track album called The Cold Capital EP in August 2013. They were a featured band for Canadian Music Fest 2013 and have fine-tuned their sound as a no-fluff, no-BS blues rock ensemble.
After the release of three singles, two videos, and an arduous two-year wait, Ottawa’s Silkken Laumann are getting ready to put out their full-length album Not Forever Enough on New Year’s Eve (which falls on December 31 this year, if I’m not mistaken).
All you really need to know is that this is going to be the biggest, sexiest, loudest party in town. Our buds over at Babylon know how to host a mean NYE bash, and this year it will be pretty special. We were given some details of what we can expect at the event, including really tasty gourmet munchies and hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, limited edition album art for sale, and all kinds of danceable jams to carry us into the new year.
“How do you like your winter so far?” asked Fiftymen frontman Jeff Hardill to the dancing crowd before him. A sea of blouses & dresses screamed approval and continued to sway. Yes, the entirety of the stage crowders were women. It was full winter in Wakefield last night, light flurries & a solidified Gatineau River below the front steps of the Black Sheep Inn. It was some cold but with the steamed up windows and the arching backs it was also really hot.
Fiftymen performed for a boisterous crowd at the Black Sheep Inn on Nov. 30, 2013.
Toronto’s Grounders played their inaugural album tour show in Ottawa at Cafe Dekcuf with D.C.’s Deleted Scenes & Ottawa’s Ashleys on Nov. 9, 2013
When bands play Ottawa for their first time above Mavericks‘s folk metal night, they assume Ottawa is mostly comprised of metalheads. Who are we to say otherwise, when the downstairs tremors of frenzied bass is encroaching on their tunes? Luckily the three bands that played last night at Cafe Dekcuf were made to rage in their own experimental rock way.
Ottawa-based Ashleys warmed up the early crowd. Four lads from New Brunswick who grew up within 20 km of each other ended up in Ottawa on a fluke and decided to form their band. They insist they are all boys but their name is suspect. Their album is but a year old but I think its quirky indie rock will carry them far. They wrote a song about a couple fighting called “Terry & Tory,” and if Mike the frontman hadn’t let me know if was an obvious pun on “territory” I wouldn’t be writing about it. Funny dudes with three toques, three mics, a wild drummer, and a lot of basement party rock started us up just as their lead guitarist broke two strings at once and had to borrow one from Deleted Scenes’s frontman Daniel Scheuerman.
Ashleys: four lads from NB who formed a band in Ottawa, and are almost definitely not girls.
The helpful Deleted Scenes band was formed in the District of Columbia in 2005, a long time coming for four friends who met in grade school. They are a prolific band, as you can see in the description of their Bedbedbedbedbed EP and from their recording history. I mean two albums & two EPs, the second of which was released just this week, is a good ratio for an eight-year-old band. Their next album Lithium Bird is due to come out in 2014 and will feature the songs from their Stutter 7″.
Dan pointed out that besides a distinct difference in the graphic design of our road signage, the US & Canada are not that dissimilar. And he spread the word that D.C. has also seen its mayor Marion Barry caught in a video smoking crack back in ’89 during a sting operation. He did his time and ran again for mayor in 1994 and won… Since declared “mayor for life” (in hearts & minds, not in office) his example is something Canadian mayors can look up to. Cause when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. A reputable journalist said that once, when he was really fucking high.
A band after my own heart, they’d love to get postcards from you. Their first LP, Birdseed Shirt, came out in 2009 and they’ve have since made their way around the continent with a mess of organ-like keyboard sounds, a drummer with a wicked double bass drum & a fantastic machine called the monome. Dan’s style of screaming & wrapping the mic cable around his neck made me cringe in delight, also I thought he was going to throw up. Lively! In the states they work under Park The Van Records, north of the 49th they are with Nevado Records along with their colleagues Grounders.
Deleted Scenes from Washington, D.C. on the move.
So Groundersjust released their first EP, Wreck of a Smile. This has been something many people have been waiting for, from a band that regularly plays POP Montreal every year and tours extensively. I have to hand it to an independent band trekking across Canada & the States with not just CDs and vinyl, but audio cassette of their sound with their own art on the cover. And then you listen to them. There’s hints of dance music coupled to catchy guitar riffs and Andrew Davis’s lyrics. I heard them on All in a Day on CBC Radio 1 this Thursday, “Along the Line” got me excited for the show and you listen to it below. I got to sit down with bassist Mike Searle to ask him about it, among other things, just before the show. Check that out here, if you’d like.
When they hit the stage the Cafe had filled up to a warm buzz, drowning out the bass below. After their first song Andrew suggested, “If you could all just take five huge steps forward that would be great.” And everything fell into place. “This song is called Duncan,” he continued. “It’s about my roommate. His name is Duncan.” Enjoyable in person and in sound. For a first show in Ottawa they played their avant-pop rock matched to their synth-surrounded instrumentalist belting out electronic joy. It was a great way to announce that Toronto has spit out a feel-good group of five who are ready to take to the streets with their newly recorded material. Let there be more music, we’re ready.
Just before the doors opened at Cafe Dekcuf last night, I sat down with Mike Searle, bassist for Toronto’s Grounders. The band has been touring with Deleted Scenes in Canada recently and will follow them into the American eastern seaboard for a quick US tour. Being on the road and promoting their new music is what the travelling band is all about, as I discovered chatting with Mike.
Tell me a little bit about Grounders.
We started in 2010, an amalgamation of a few other bands that folded. We came together and started practicing lead guitarist Andrew’s songs. He had a lot of ideas which he brought to Dan, Rob and I, and we just hashed them out together. About a year later Evan joined the band and we’ve playing ever since.
It seems like fans have been waiting for you to come out with an album for a while. Did you feel that way too?
Yeah, we put out our EP last March and we’ve been touring that during spring and summer with Yukon Blonde & Zeus. Then we went out again with The Besnard Lakes to end the summer, but since then we’ve just been writing. We’re going to start recording in January. So, it’s coming. Please be patient guys, it’s on its way! We’re just finishing all the writing right now and we’re rehearsing in December. It’s definitely been on our minds quite a bit.
When did you sign on with Nevado Records?
That happened about a year ago. We met Nick Bernal when we played a show with one of his bands, Great Bloomers. He liked it, so we met a few times and worked something out. The record is coming out with them here and with Park the Van in the states. That worked out well, we have a good relationship with Nick & Nevado. He’s given us lots of great opportunities from the EP.
Whose idea was it to have every medium of music available for Wreck of a Smile? You’ve got digital download, CD, vinyl & audio cassette available on your bandcamp.
We just wanted to get it out on as much as possible. We obviously really wanted the 10″ vinyl, and CD of course, but before we signed with Nevado we did a run of cassettes on our own. We made like 50 and they all sold out at our release show. When we were talking to Nick about it he said we should do another run of them. So we did, and lots of dudes in trucks who live out in the country like ’em, cause they don’t have CD players. We like that it’s on as many mediums as possible to give more people a chance to listen to it, no matter what they use.
Do you have a large audience in the country? Are you from rural backgrounds?
Well Andrew is from Hamilton and Rob is from Bolton, which is out there. Dan & I are originally from Calgary and we really like playing out there. The biggest place for the cassettes are placed likes Saskatoon, Winnipeg & Calgary.
So what’s the best part about being in a travelling band?
The drugs & the drinking. No! I’m just kidding. Probably the coolest thing is just playing in front of as many people as we can, and hanging out with as many of them as we can. Hopefully connecting with them, cause we’re pretty chill guys, anyone can just come over and talk to us. And seeing as many cities as possible. We’ve been all over the place the last year and we’ve seen some cool places none of us have never been to.
Tell me a little about POP Montreal.
We’ve played there the last four years and it’s great. It’s one of my favourite festival to play, it’s just really fun and well organized. The guys over there do a really great job and we’ve always been treated well and on good bills. And obviously Montreal is hilarious and the food is amazing. We always have fun in Montreal, and we’re going there tomorrow!
So what’s next for Grounders?
After this mini-tour with Deleted Scenes we’re going to finish writing and get the recording, mixing and mastering all done. That’s the next big thing. After these shows we probably won’t play for a bit I guess. The next shows are in March, so now just grinding it out for the record.
Ottawa’s folk extraordinaire Kalle Mattson have just released a video for their new song ”Darkness.” I really like the eerie video for this great track. It has a lo-fi DIY feel that is complimented by the fact that the video is in black and white. “Darkness” will appear on the band’s 7-inch coming out October 1st on Parliament of Trees record. Check out the video below.
WARNING: This video may be offensive to people with a fear of clowns.
Ottawa art-rock band, Pony Girl, are poised to release their debut album, Show Me Your Fears, on September 28th. Ottawa Showbox is very proud to stream it for you 10 days before the release!
As I mentioned in a previous post, Pony Girl is anchored by guy-girl pop harmonies, while songs flow from calm to chaotic thanks to excellent musicianship. Members of the band are veterans of Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa Rock Lottery, various global jazz festivals, have taught classrooms and earned university degrees in music before coming together as Pony Girl in 2012.
Take a listen to Show Me Your Fears below. I hope you like it as much as we do over here at Showbox.
Now that you have gotten a taste of the record, why not see them play it live. The Show Me Your Fearsalbum release show is on September 28 at La Petite Mort Gallery, at 306 Cumberland Street in Ottawa. Click on the poster below for more information.
Ottawa band Pony Girl are poised to release their debut album, Show Me Your Fears, on September 28th. Ottawa Showbox is proud to present you with the premiere of the first single, “Sun of the Morning.”
Pony Girl is anchored by guy-girl pop harmonies, while songs flow from calm to chaotic thanks to excellent musicianship. Members of the band are veterans of Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa Rock Lottery, various global jazz festivals, have taught classrooms and earned university degrees in music before coming together as Pony Girl in 2012.
If you are digging the single, you should go hear more at their album release on September 28 at La Petite Mort Gallery, at 306 Cumberland Street in Ottawa. I know what you are thinking, the 28th is just so far away! Come back and visit us on the 18th and be the first to hear the entire album, which we here at Ottawa Showbox will be exclusively streaming live!
In the meantime, here is some more Pony Girl. This is a live video of them performing their song “Please Do” at The Daily Grind.
This year, we here at Ottawa Showbox are proud to be media partners with the best new up-and-coming boutique arts festival in Canada, Arboretum. Before we deliver full coverage of the festivities, we’re also really happy to collaborate with Jackpine, a new digital media agency chock-full incredibly talented and inspirational individuals, to bring a series of short video features. The first instalment features the co-owner of N-Product, Dominic Coballe, co-owner of Victoire Boutique, Regine Paquette, and artist Drew Mosely. If you’re wondering what that really great song is in the video, it’s called “Thailand” by Ottawa’s own Boyhood.
There will be more videos to come, and the festival is coming up very, very soon. So get ready! Watch the first video below.