Premiere: Even This Glow EP by Galapagos
After releasing one of Ottawa Showbox’s favourite local albums of the year in 2017, Ottawa’s Galapagos have done it again with their sophomore EP Even This Glow.
Galapagos play a style of gritty indie rock that evoke elements of 90s alternative, turn of the millennium emo and garage rock mixing vulnerable lyrics, jagged guitars and layered melodies.
Since the release of their debut EP Potential Space in June 2017, the band has finalized their lineup with the additions of Gerardo Mantecon (bass) and Jamie Orser (drums) joining up with founding members Matthew Wood and Adam Ferris, both on guitar. Orser brings technical training and a prog rock background to the band, while Mantecon has been very involved in heavy metal and punk for years. But the most important thing they brought is stability, as the band played their first show as this iteration in August 2017 and quickly got to writing new music and recording.
“It really allowed us to focus on the music including allowing Matthew to play with more textures and sounds with his guitar playing,” said Ferris about finalizing the lineup. “We also wanted to follow up the debut fairly quickly due to the fact it wasn’t a true reflection of where we are at presently as a full unit. We feel that each individual member really contributed to and influenced the sound of this new EP.”
The five-song EP shows a band that has grown and evolved in such a short time, both in members but also in song writing and prose. The songs mostly focus on the process of moving forward rather than looking back, though there are clearly sad moments and darkness on Even This Glow. “[The EP] touches on all aspects of healing including finding hope in a new light,” said Ferris.
While each song name is only one word—which I really like—they are far from simplistic and do truly convey pain and hope all at once through the honest and heartfelt lyrics, and the beautiful layering of sound achieved by the quartet. I was hooked from the very start as the guitar and Ferris’ voice seemingly dance hand in hand, strum in strum, in the lead track “Wall,” really unifying the music and the vocals.
The track that really stands out is “Jersey” with it’s catchy riffs and vocals that take me back to my yesteryears of classic pop-punk and emo breakup songs, except that as the track progresses it really shifts to a much more mature forward looking song. It also sounds like one of those songs that will be even better live, with people rushing the front to sing along beating their chests.
Don’t just take our word for it, have a listen to Even This Glow below and get out to the EP release show with Swim Team and Greathunter this Saturday, January 27 at Pressed.
Video Premiere: Merganzer – Cloud Cover
It’s been almost two years since violinist-extraordinaire Mika Posen released her debut solo record under the new moniker Merganzer. Before that, she had studied violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s David Thies-Thompson and gone on to tour with renowned acts such as Timber Timbre, as well as contribute her violin skills to the works of Forest City Lovers, Feist, Basia Bulat and Evening Hymns. Having grown up in Ottawa, Posen left the capital at 18 and lived in cities such as Toronto and Berlin until her return to her hometown after more than a decade.
These experiences, along with a Master’s degree in ethnomusicology from York, have provided Posen with disparate experiences from which to draw influences for her solo project. Merganzer is undoubtedly an extension of Posen, and the music we’ve heard so far—particularly off of the 2015 debut LP Mirror Maze—is eccentric, contemplative, and exploratory. The soundscapes are varied, as the listener is pulled between layers of mesmerizing beats, beautiful vocal melodies, enchanting string arrangements—like soaring gracefully through cavernous depths and over towering mountain peaks.
Merganzer has put out a new video of an unreleased track called “Cloud Cover,” which is exciting for those of us who have been chomping at the bit for more. It comes just in time for her upcoming performance December 1st at Mirror Mountain Film Festival (co-presented by Ottawa Showbox) along with Montreal media artist Sonya Stefan. The event is called Passé Composé, and will be a collaborative live performance based on the theme of transformation.
“The video was directed by Nick Dolinski (who lived in Ottawa up until a year or two ago) and shot by Ottawa media artist Tim Smith,” explains Posen. “We made it this past July on the roof of our Toronto apartment building right before we moved back to Ottawa. For Tim and I, it represents a final farewell to that big crazy city.”
Be sure to have an exclusive look at the video below, and don’t miss Merganzer’s incredible live performance at Mirror Mountain Film Festival on Friday, December 1st starting at 9:30 p.m. . Event tickets and full festival passes can be found on the Mirror Mountain website here.
Single Premiere: Pony Girl’s ”Sun of the Morning”
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.