Back in May, we celebrated our five-year anniversary with a couple of shows at The Record Centre. That was a whole lot of fun, but we’re not quite done yet. Because why stop there?
Over the past five years we’ve had the opportunity to meet countless musicians in Ottawa, go to hundreds of shows, and really dig deep into the music landscape here. These artists continue to impress us, inspire us, and keep us doing what we do. It’s been our mission and raison d’être to support these musicians through coverage of new album releases, interviews, live reviews, and much more.
We’ve put together a compilation called Five Years – Ottawa 2012-2017 which contains music that has impacted us since Showbox started in 2012. This span of five years, in our mind, was a crucial period in the Ottawa music scene. More DIY musicians than ever before came out of the woodwork and made albums, and many were released independently without labels. Some music was underground, some wasn’t.
Different types of music pervaded throughout this period, demonstrating Ottawa’s potential hub in the Canadian landscape. Our hope is that this compilation will act as a snapshot of a strong and robust local music scene in Ottawa between 2012-2017, and allow folks to have a view into the music that came out during this period. It goes between garage, punk, hip hop, folk, and
While we could have double or tripled the size of this compilation with all the incredible artists out there, we kept it modest and capped it at 51. So while this list is encompassing, it’s certainly not meant to be comprehensive by any stretch. Please enjoy a free stream and download of the Five Years – Ottawa 2012-2017 compilation below.
A huge thank you to all the artists who contribute their music to this compilation, and to Pascale Arpin for designing such a good album cover. Enjoy!
The compilation is PWYC, and any proceeds will be donated to Girls+ Rock Ottawa in memory of Jean Sebastien Belleau. A special fund in his name has been established for the maintenance, repair and preservation of their growing instrument library, made in the spirit of honouring JS’ much deserved legacy as a passionate supporter of the Ottawa music scene.
Ottawa’s beloved son The Acorn, aka Rolf Klausener, just released a mesmerizing video for the song “Rapids” off his 2015 Polaris nominated album Vieux Loup.
The video, made by Klaus energy himself, begins with drops of india ink falling into water and subsequently dispersing into beautiful dark creations, many resembling pieces from a Rorschach test or the sped-up full life-cycle of flowers. As the video progresses, there is a moment that transported me back to the live launch of The Acorn’s first album The Pink Ghosts. The video glances up at what looks backlit trees, reminiscent of the scene playing behind the band during that memorable release show at Club SAW many moons ago.
As the vocals kick in the video takes its next step. A paint brush weaves the lyrical script on the screen between more droplets of ink disperse into ever more impressive creations. One of the most picturesque elements of the video is when Klausener plays with negatives and flips the black and white of a spiraling dispersion.
Watch the video below and go see The Acorn perform on January 14th with Gianna Lauren at Pressed in Ottawa, more info here.
Ottawa three-piece BB Cream called it quits last week in front of their friends at a jam packed Pressed.
“In the words of Sleater Kinney – ‘why do good things never want to stay” is the first thing lead singer and guitarist Alanna Why said to the crowd. I am pretty sure they played their first show at Pressed and came back their for their send off.
BB Cream’s pop-punk and emo style is a lot of fun and is infectious. Alanna has been a staple of the scene for quite some time now but had always been looking up at the stage not on it. BB Cream was that opportunity for Alanna to create and really immerse into the scene on the other side. “I always wanted to be in a band as a teenager and it took some time but I’m so happy it finally happened,” said Alanna. “Thanks for being here.”
BB Cream rocking their goodbye show at Pressed in Ottawa
As expected, they wowed us all with their set. When it seemed as though they were done, the riled up crowd would have nothing of it and demanded an encore. The band huddled up, discussed, and delivered. The band switched up instruments, moving the drummer Kurt Grunsky to guitar and vocals, and Alanna to drums. They then played the song “Shit Hole” about how much music sucks. The crowd continued to chant for more after every song. Alanna said they would trade water for another song and once the water arrived the instrument musical chairs continued. Alanna jumped on the bass and Jon Brownlee jumped on the drums to rock out one more track. The crowd was insatiable and kept asking for more even after two encores. Safe to say Ottawa will miss BB Cream and I hope the members who are sticking around town to continue to make music.
The other very interesting part of the show is how two Ottawa “super groups,” Cheap Whine and Telecomo who opened up the night could also have headlined. This made for quite an awesome week night show.
Cheap Whine playing Pressed in Ottawa.
First up was Cheap Whine, which is made up of Eric Neurotic from Feral Trash, Steve Adamyk of Steve Adamyk Band, and Jordy Bell of The Creeps and Crusades. The band obviously really rips considering the combined experience of its members. Early on, they dedicated the track “Little Change” to BB Cream. After the song Eric said “sucks you’re breaking up glad we got to play one show together.” A few songs later he broke his B string on his guitar. Following the song Eric laughingly said “don’t worry it’s not one if the punk strings.” I’ve now seen Cheap Whine play a few times and I think I speak for everyone who has seen them play, we need some recorded music stat.
Adam Saikaley of Telecomo shredding much to the crowd’s delight at Pressed.
Between Cheap Wine and BB Cream, was Telecomo. They features members The Acorn, Silkken Lauman and Bondar. Lead singer and guitarist is Adam Saikaley, a man who seemingly plays in every style of band around. Case in point, he was playing piano in a jazz trio the next night. Adam also took the time to pay tribute to BB Cream, but focused on lead singer Alanna. “My favourite memory of BB Cream was on Alanna’s birthday when we invited her on stage to play a guitar solo and she looked me right in the eyes and said go fuck yourself Adam,” he said. Oh, Ottawa love.
I don’t know how this was the first time I saw Telecomo, but glad I finally did. I loved the EP they released earlier this year and was blown away live, especially watching Adam during is frenetic shredding moments. Is there anything the man can’t do? Also very entertaining was watching bass player Gary Franks strut around and play about half the set from in the crowd watching Adam. He never stopped moving around. They promised us that a full length is coming out in the winter time. They also played the first track off that upcoming album, and let me tell you – we’re in for a treat.
Ottawa’s soulful, enduring wordsmith and frontman of The Acorn, Rolf Klausener, doesn’t play as many shows as he used to in town. But once in a while a gem pops up out of nowhere and takes us by surprise. This Thursday’s show at Babylon presented by Spectrasonic is no exception, and it features talented guests Taylor Knox and Trails.
Last year’s release of Vieux Loup illustrated that Klausener is as in touch with his music as ever, bringing together the new and the old to craft an album that was on our Top Ten releases of 2015. Those of us who have lived in Ottawa for a long time know how intimate and electric The Acorn are live, and newbies still have a chance to find out.
We’re giving away a bunch of tickets to this show (in pairs), and if you aren’t doing anything on Thursday night, Babylon is the place to be.
How To Enter
Answer the question below.
Q: Klausener’s other project Silkken Laumann is the adapted name of a Canadian Olympian. Which sport did Silken Laumann win Silver Medal in at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games?
Choose the correct answer and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to the show on Thursday. The draw will happen at noon on Thursday, Nov. 10. Good luck!
This year’s CityFolk festival has arrived, and we’re happy to bring you our picks for the 2016 edition. In this one, we’re exploring a variety of artists – some more established and in their prime, some that have been around for ages and still conquering the big stage, and others that are emerging and creating jaw-dropping new music ready to explode onto the scene.
We implore you to have a listen to the artists we’ve carefully chosen, however it is also important to do a little exploring. Sometimes the best part of a big music festival is seeing an intimate performance on a smaller stage, discovering hidden gems on your own. So here they are, our picks for CityFolk 2016.
CityFolk takes place at Lansdowne Park September 15–18, and artists play on multiple stages around the grounds. See the full schedule and purchase your passes here.
City Stage Thu, September 15, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
There’s no way that we were going to make this list without giving some love to The Acorn. The brainchild of Ottawa’s Rolf Klausener, The Acorn is easily one of the greatest musical exports the nation’s capital has to offer. Although Klausener began this project as a series of home recordings in 2002, he has shown no sign of slowing down having just released the acclaimed album Vieux Loup last year. While dabbling in other ventures, Klausener has always stayed true to The Acorn and its intimate, textural, and poetic underpinnings.
Guided By Voices
RavenLaw Stage Fri, September 16, 10:00 PM – 11:15 PM
If there’s one band that has been relentlessly putting out music since the 1980s, it’s Guided By Voices. Mind you, the lineup has changed a lot over that time – however principal songwriter Robert Pollard has been the rock that has kept GBV’s creativity flowing. These guys are influenced by a lot of the British invasion garage rock (our kind of shit), psych, prog, and even post-punk, but no matter what you have to appreciate their gritty, DIY approach to music. This band is as genuine as it gets, and a breath of fresh air in today’s current mainstream music industry climate.
City Stage Fri, September 16, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
At just 19 years of age, Illinois’ Kwenku Collins has made a big name for himself not only as a songwriter, but as an MC and producer as well. His unique style and approach to making music have garnered him praise from major music critics around the globe – and he’s just getting started. 2016’s Nat Love LP has launched Collins into the big leagues, with ear-melting tracks like “Ghost”, “Vanilla Skies”, and “Stupid Rose” capturing listeners and never letting them go.
The New Pornographers
City Stage Sat, September 17, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
When you think of the Canadian indie rock renaissance over the last decade and a half, there’s one band that everyone agrees is a staple – The New Pornographers. Forming in 1999, this band is on an esteemed list of bands like Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, The Weakerthans, The Constantines that poured a tank of gas on a national music scene that was largely barely smouldering embers as the millennium came to a close. In 2009, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the band’s second studio album, Electric Version, No. 79 in the “100 Best Albums of the Decade.”
City Stage Sat, September 17, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Basia Bulat has become a household name in Canadian music, proving over the years that she is as talented with her lyricism and songwriting as she is versatile in her sound. Cutting her teeth in the Ontario indie folk scene, she has separated herself from the pack as an artist that consistently outdoes herself. She’s shared the stage with Arcade Fire, The National, Nick Cave, Daniel Lanois, St Vincent, and her Juno/Polaris-nominated LP TallTall Shadow achieved national recognition and regular airplay on CBC. Her 2016 album of sorrow and redemption called Good Advice is shortlisted for the Polaris Prize this year.
BMO Stage Sat, September 17, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Julia Jacklin in an emerging artist that you should definitely keep your eye on. Her debut album Don’t Let the Kids Win is an introspective examination of life in your 20’s, and the minimalism in instrumentation contrasts beautifully with the lyrical depth that Jacklin explores so eloquently. At 25, she is sure to make some big waves, following the footsteps of musicians such as Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen in her honest and intimate style.
RavenLaw Stage Sat, September 17, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
We love Northcote. Why, you ask? Matt Goud a.k.a. Northcote is a hard working and relentless guy with a tough exterior, but on the inside he’s got a spectrum of emotions that spill out through his music and into our ears. This small-town Saskatchewan songwriter brings a wealth of life experience to the table, and tapping into his influences which range from country to hardcore and punk rock. Whether they are anthems or lullabies, his songs of loss, love, small-town living and growing up are themes most of us can connect with. Springsteen and Gaslight Anthem fans are sure to fall in love with this guy.
BMO Stage Sun, September 18, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
At 20 years old, don’t think that youth makes Julien Baker naive. Growing up in the Memphis DIY scene, Baker has faced the challenges of coming of age as a queer person in the South. Moreover, she unapologetically discusses topics such as drug abuse and depression on her debut album Sprained Ankle. Through the bigotry and hate that swells in that part of the US against marginalized LGBTQ communities, Baker’s beautiful, powerful voice and songwriting shines through as a ray of hope. She’s the kind of artist that makes writing such emotional, intricate songs look easy. Although short in stature, she is without a doubt one of the most inspirational artists to hit the stage at this year’s CityFolk festival, standing tall amongst the rest in our mind.
The evening of February 2nd saw the launch of Ottawa’s greatest mid-winter festival, Megaphono. Following an opening keynote speech from Jessica Hopper earlier in the afternoon, St. Alban’s Church hosted the fest’s inaugural musical performances, featuring Pipahauntas, Emile & Ogden, and The Acorn.
First on stage was Pipahauntas, who delivered an earnest set of vocals over jazzy, schizophrenic beats constructed from eerie samples, and hints of what sounded like R2-D2 [sorry, Star Wars fixation].
The vocalist donned a twinkling top, her hair a lunar-purple in the dim glow of the blue lighting; fittingly, this bedroom R&B sounded like the future. Dreamy melodies transported the audience to the outer reaches of our solar system, drawing us through the Oort Cloud and into the Milky Way. Powerful bass grooves pounded from underneath St. Alban’s large gothic arch, which pointed like the nose of a NASA rocket heading to the moon, blasting off with resonant vibrations in the bulky wooden pews beneath our bodies.
Pipahauntas @ St. Alban’s Church. Photo by Ming Wu/Photogmusic
Pipahauntas closed her performance with a new song, which conveyed a solemn vocal hook delivered over a beat like something from an atmospheric Snoop Dogg album. This performance is what I imagine Chris Hadfield listened to on SpacePop Radio -101.7 AM while he secretly re-populated Mars.
It was strangely satisfying to be pulled back to planet earth so swiftly by Emilie and her beautiful, wooden bandmate Ogden, who filled the great stone building with angelic music. That’s right, Ogden is the harp.
Emilie & Ogden’s set was seemingly flawless; its magnificence augmented by the natural reverberation in the high-roofed church. Her playing was robotic, as bass notes rang confidently like the stomping of your dominant foot, while plucked melodies twinkled and swirled like stars in the night sky, except they were right here, fifteen feet from some of our noses, dancing just like they do twelve thousand light-years away.
Part-way through her set, Emilie jumped into a melancholy rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Style”, turning the pulsating pop-song into a pensive folk tune. Later, her song “10,000” was blissfully mournful, as the singer’s voice tumbled and cascaded over sparkling harp crescendos.
Lastly, hometown heroes The Acorn took the stage, lead by frontman Rolf Klausener. Their performance consisted of many songs from their sleepily-euphoric album Vieux Loup, which translated extremely well into live performance.
This set opened calmly, but quickly escalated into a wonderfully-roaring entity, like a burning fire — full and warm and lighting our faces. At this point, fragments of light danced across the chapel ceiling like shooting stars, adding to this cosmic evening. The Acorn’s music was thick and mellow, with luxuriant keys and steadfast vocals echoing above an unobtrusive rhythm section. A highlight of their set was the rather upbeat song “Misplaced”, which caught the attention of the seated audience and caused heads to nod.
Listening to The Acorn in the vast, wood-adorned St. Alban’s Church paralleled being in a log cabin, in the dead of winter, with a lover/with a broken heart. Meanwhile, in the dead of this winter, music-lovers in Ottawa rejoiced for the kick-off of Megaphono, and this astral Tuesday evening’s performances were well worth rejoicing for.
Alas, the year has come to an end. It’s hard to believe another 365 days have passed and that we’re now closer to 2020 than 2010. 2015 was as impressive – if not more so – than other years passed. We saw Ottawa music veterans release brand new, fresh sounding tunes that demonstrate their lasting power and presence in the community. We also saw exciting new bands come out of nowhere and surprise us with great albums, showing that the city is cultivating talented artists who are overflowing with creativity.
Once again we kept our ear to the ground about all the music being released in Ottawa, and we have come up with what we think is a pretty good representation of the best music being made in our little corner of Canada (in no particular order). We’ve also included essential tracks for your listening pleasure. Without further ado, we encourage you to sit back, relax, and dive into the best of the best in Ottawa.
Kalle Mattson – Avalanche
Avalanche is the fifth release and follow-up to Mattson‘s 2014 Polaris-nominated album Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold, and serves as a step in brand new direction for the Ottawa-via-Sault Ste. Marie artist. Mattson approached the six-track EP with a pop sensibility, infusing the album with more upbeat and aesthetic that stray from traditional folk that we heard on Someday. However, Avalanche still delivers us Kalle Mattson at the core – raw, intimate, and heart bursting at the seams. Mattson is already a seasoned artist, but is clearly still evolving and developing his talents as a musician. With each album, he draws listeners in closer and shows us just what he’s made of.
Essential Track: ‘A Long Time Ago’
By Matías Muñoz
The Acorn – Vieux Loup
It’s been five years since Rolf Klausener released his acclaimed album No Ghost, and almost a decade since his seminal Glory Hope Mountain. Although he’s been busy curating Arboretum Festival in Ottawa and releasing music with his other project Silkken Laumann since then, Vieux Loup has been in the works for several years – even if only in Klausener’s mind. His ability to convey imagery and emotion in his music has not diminished. Delicate guitar melodies are intertwined with groove-laden synth beats, signifying Klausener’s movement forward as a musician while staying true to his past.
Although Ottawa’s music scene is small, there are plenty of musicians from the nation’s capital that are creating some really incredible music. Take Veldbrand by Bosveld. The album is the brainchild of Théan Slabbert of Ottawa-via-South Africa, one of many talents to emerge out of a brilliant and dynamic class of musicians in the city. He has teamed up with some of the best in Ottawa to make this highly-anticipated debut full-length LP. Slabbert’s vocals are reminiscent of a deeper, more brooding style similar to Jonsi, which melds flawlessly with the intricate and flowing guitar melodies. Veldbrand is woven with dramatic and moving soundscapes, and could very well represent the future sound of folk music.
HILOTRONS released their sixth album To Trip With Terpsichore (pron: tûrp-sĭk′ə-rē or terp-sick-ree) in February 2015 in digital format, and on vinyl two months later. Since Mike Dubue is now working with the new band, he wanted to keep things as fresh as possible.
“We recorded it live off the floor in about a day and mixed it in about a week. It’s pretty short and that’s how we wanted it. It’s sort of like Black Market Clash where the A-side is like an EP and the B-side has three remixes. It’s raw, dirty, off the floor, and nothing polished. (Mike Dubue)”.
Foreign Life opens like a newspaper, words and images materialize before the eyes and vanish instantly, leaving you with a trace of their meaning. Distant voices fade in, thoughts like wisps of smoke curl off of a buoyant electronic pulse, compelling you to let the paper fall and dream deep in your armchair. But Pony Girl (So Sorry Recs) know about your attention span, and they will make sure you listen. The motorik beat that occurs around the halfway mark of album opener “Foreign Life I”feels like a logical extension of the dreamy waves that precede it. Right away one is introduced to the painterly aesthetic of Pony Girl and the palette they will use on this album.
Foreign Life, the sophomore album from the Ottawa band, is a collage of emotion and style, well lit and finely mounted. Each song a small canvas with a dramatic point of focus, be it rolling acoustic guitar, electronic beat or voice. Sugary pop tunes leap out of synthscapes and run naked through your ears. Pony Girl appear to have passed through the recent New Folk movement carrying a pastel distillation of its crucial elements. The elegant arrangement of acoustic and electronic, the sighing winds and the seething synths, it harks familiar yet is presented in a uniquely stream-lined form.
[Hedera] itself is minimalistic, meditative, yet so full of brilliant moments that they are difficult to keep track of. There is a comfort/discomfort contrast that arises and disappears at various points throughout the album. The dissonant and distorted secondary vocals in “Garden I (You Own To Fight)”, for example, contrasts with beautiful and tranquil vocal and instrumental melodies.
[…] After spending the last two years focused on the music of others, the self-taught musician experienced a surge of writing and creativity his first time outside of the country. His initial 72 hours in San Juan he said nothing and wrote most of what would become Hedera. […] Vallentin utilizes a variety of instruments, from a heavenly-sounding hollow body guitar to electronic elements. Ultimately, the record is a smattering of beautifully crafted notes, melodies, and sounds.
It’s been a long time coming for fans of Scattered Clouds, an experimental noise & psychedelic pop trio led by Philippe Charbonneau, with Jamie Kronick and Pierre-Luc Clément. The band’s beginnings are closely intertwined with the E-Tron’s genesis, as are all the musicians who collaborated on this album. The music is simultaneously quiet and chaotic, patient and peculiar. It’s aptly described as post-apocalyptic but we could drop that prefix and it would still make sense.
The First Empire is a six-song concept album that seems to have more singles than not, starting off strong with the doom-laden “Fallen” and their most recent release “Enchanteresse”, which came out with a twisted music video pieced together by Mike Dubue.
My favourite track however, which I relish even more because of its brief length, is the wordless “Floating Underwater” which immerses us with a marimba. It transitions catastrophically yet pleasantly into “Deepest Night”, an anthem of darkness that uses Charbonneau’s baritone voice to its greatest ability. It ends with the sunken lyrics “at the strangest hour…” and crashes into the most unhinged and experimental of the songs, the title track. The album almost passes in the blink of an eye but it is complex, what obviously took years to perfect.
One name in Ottawa’s hip hop community that stands out as one of the most hard-working is Yusso. Some of you may have heard of him just through collabs he’s done around town with some of the city’s best MC’s and producers, including the electrifying project CrooKid Bass with KING (now known by the name DRAE). Yusso’s new 6-track mixtape, dubbed Don’t Know Yusso, is a quick onslaught of tracks that clocks in at just over 15 minutes. Don’t Know Yusso is everything one could want out of a mixtape. It has a dash of funky tracks with irresistible rhythm like “Late Nights” and “To Whom It May Concern” that throw us back to Golden Era hip hop, impressive flow the whole way through, and lyrics that aren’t only intelligent, but also tell a story.
On top of being a very strong singer and songwriter, Sturton has become well-known for her proficiency playing the harmonica. She derives her style straight from the Mississippi of old, cutting her chops at local blues establishments and learning from harmonica masters such as Larry “The Bird” Mootham and Carlos del Junco.
Bumble Bee explores the full spectrum of emotion, as Sturton delivers songs that hit hard and leave the listener feeling like they just experienced a performance in a run-down whiskey bar in the heart of the Delta. She opens the album with the truly badass songs “Mongoose Moan” and “Heavy Weather,” setting the tone for the entire record.
[…] There are moments where she breaks from the blues, such as “Tea for Two” and “Wheel of Fortune,” which offer a nice change of pace at those particular junctures. One of the other turning points is her harrowing cover of “Black is the Colour,” a traditional Appalachian folk song. Like a lot of the songs on the album, don’t be surprised if you experience goosebumps. What better way to finish off the album than by giving a little shout out to Ian Manhire and The White Wires in “Wheel of Fortune”?
It actually feels like it’s been years since their Steammates EPcame out. However, it was only last September. Steamers‘ debut LP, Years, is a tight album, with a few flourishes that prudes would call “mistakes”. The combined efforts of the six teammates overlap like a sonic sandwich, particularly the mandolin of Francis-Julien Thibaudeau contrasting beautifully well with Greg Fitzpatrick’s banjo. The eight songs are great and call for foot stomping and as many sing along they could fit in. Whether you listen to the CD, hear them on stage or see them busking, be careful. Once you hear it you will play it again and again.
These long-time friends from Eastern Ontario have a few releases under their belt now and are really showing that they have found their sound, particularly on We’ll Always HaveMilhouse. The album is a bit of a departure from 2014’s Fish – they’ve slowed things down a bit without losing any of the actual energy which makes their music so enthralling. Songs like “Friends”, “Yard Sale(s)”, and “Break” begin with a reverb-laden clean guitar intro, which eventually break out into the chaos we know and love. Lead singer Sheehan Jordan’s gravelly vocals fit just right, and are a little more intelligible to the listener than on Fish. This is a all-out fun record with moments of restraint balanced with just a little bit of chaos.
Ottawa’s Elementals released a doozie of a first album with I’m Not Here, I’m Not Real.
The new album has heavy grunge influences throughout the album that can teleport you back to 90s plaid-filled dimly lit clubs. Songs like “Debase” and “Messiah Complex” feature that great softer/louder/softer formula and it works very well. From soft signing to guttural yelling fading back into soft almost talking style lyrics. Something special went on during the 90s and these guys want everyone to relive a slice of it and never forget.
I listened to the entirety of Tölt, the long-awaited debut LP by Ottawa’s Flying Hórses, approximately six times before finally understanding that I would hear a different narrative on each pass. First I walked through Gormenghast, then through Cirith Ungol, but also through large meadows that could have been Hyrule. The music called “post-chamber” by two of the city’s most interesting musicians have created a bestiary of dark and beautiful creatures, deadset on being released August 15.
Cellist and composer Raphael Weinroth-Browne is part of several prolific bands that play a range of neo folk, classical and experimental chamber music. He said that Tölt would surprise most people who were familiar with Jáde Bergeron’s original compositions that she’s often played live over the past few years. I have to concede he wasn’t just hyping me up–this isn’t the same trip to the “Dollhouse” or ride around the “Carousel” that we’ve heard before.
[…] There are sonatas for cello accompanied by Bergeron’s piano, and what sound like piano/celesta duets. Sometimes the pairing of cello to piano is replaced with bells or chimes that Bergeron plays in what she credits as “sacred places” in Montreal and Reykjavík.
How many artists can you name that have dropped 50 records? Probably not too many, especially ones with the same quality and flavour as the highly anticipated Soul Spins, by talented local producer and two-time Ottawa Beat League champ Jeepz. Within the last 3 years, Jeepz has created a rich discography with Soul Spins adding a well-deserved celebratory vibe to this true milestone in his career. Sharing the album’s stage with 25 artists from Canada and beyond, there’s plenty of familiar and fresh voices to hear on the soulful tracks found on Soul Spins, with plenty of love for the frozen tundra’s hip-hop scene.
The 10-track album is a huge step in a very different direction then what we have grown accustomed to with Page’s work with his bands. Volume Vs. Voice is a slowed-down, finger-picking-laden, emotionally-charged acoustic album — not exactly what many would expect from the punk rocker. The album is beautiful, a reflection of the scenery in which it was recorded.
“For a long time now,” said Page, “I’ve toyed with that cliched artist dream of isolating myself in a secluded cabin surrounded by bottles, pens, guitars, paper, Christmas lights doing summer duty. I could feel the river beach sand in my old Vans. I could hear the welcoming cricket chorus. There would be no Internet, TV or phone, though there would be a radio to keep some loose tabs on the outside world. There would be a recording device hooked up to a microphone or two.”
All of This and Everything Else is the much-anticipated release from Loon Choir, whose fans had been patiently waiting since the 2012 release of “Fire Poems”. The song “Always Golden” starts out with a monologue that may seem all too familiar to many: “To whom it may concern: please consider this my formal letter of resignation, for I have served day in and day out 40+ hours a week. The 9-to-5 just ain’t cuttin’ it any more. My life is more than a career, more than a wage…”. This is just one of the many examples of growth and maturity that is shining through in All of This and Everything Else.
Remember the days when you’d go to HMV and stroll through the aisles looking at CDs? Or to the record store shuffling through some LPs? Sometimes you’d come across an album cover that was so beautiful, so arresting, that you had to stop and check it out. Album covers are to the listening experience as concert posters are to the live experience. Experiencing music is also partly visual, and album art can help us conceptualize the music in a more physical, concrete sense. Think of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon, The Clash’s London Calling, or Radiohead’s OK Computer. What is the first thing that comes to mind? The album cover.
Before checking out our gallery of Ottawa’s best album covers of 2015, have a look at Kalle Mattson‘s video for “Avalanche” where he recreates some of the most iconic album covers of all time. Enjoy!
The I Can’t Believe It’s Not team really out did themselves with their rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s classic Rumours. It was a treat to see them perform the album from start to finish within the beautiful acoustics of St. Albans Church in Ottawa.
The night began with the screening of the iconic 1984 film Stop Making Sense. One of the best live concert movies of all time, featuring Talking Heads. I have seen it well over ten times and still can never get enough of the opening song, with David Byrne all alone on stage with a tape deck and his acoustic guitar performing “Psycho Killer.” Check it out for yourself here.
Congrats to the raffle winner Rowan T. Went home with a free copy of Rumours thanks to Vertigo Records. – Photo by: Ming Wu
Following the screening one lucky fan one a free copy of the 30th anniversary reissue of Rumours, courtesy of our good friends at Vertigo Records (the Record Centre provided a free copy for the second show the following night). It was a honour for Showbox to be involved, drawing and handing out the record and then introducing the band.
The stage was now set for the soldout crowd to take a trip back to 1977 and rock out with Caylie Runciman (Boyhood), Rolf Klausener (The Acorn), Martin Charbonneau (Fevers), Mike Dubue (Hilotrons), Pascal Delaquis (Hilotrons) and Jon Hynes doing their best impersonation of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. The crowd was full of people from all walks of life – from the fresh-faced 19-year-olds who grew up listening to Rumours thanks to their rocking parents, to an older crowd (some of them rocking vintage Fleetwood Mac tour t-shirts), and everyone in between.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fleetwood Mac live at St. Albans Church
The wonderful thing about Rumours is that it every song allowed for a different member to shine. For example John Hynes kicked things off leading “Second Hand News,” while Caylie really showed her vocal chops go far beyond what we have heard from her in Boyhood when she delivered on “Dreams.” Rolf then took lead on “Never Going Back” and teleported us all to a different time. Mike passionately blew everyone away when he sang “Songbird,” showing why many people think he has one of the most special voices in town. And then there was when they performed “Chain”….WOW! All together they really impressed. Not to be outdone, Martin and Pascale, on the bass and drums respectively showed that they drive that song when they really kick in.
When the last chords of “Gold Dust Woman” rang through the church everyone began to wonder what the band would do for an encore. It was clear the crowd wanted more as they erupted clapping and cheering loudly. The band asked the crowd to pick a song and they would play it again as they were not well-versed in other Fleetwood tracks at the time. “The Chain” won in overwhelming fashion and they played it even better the second time. What an amazing night. I hope this is just another link on the chain of the never ending I Can’t Believe It’s Not series.
One of Ottawa’s best known indie music acts, The Acorn, have released a brand new video for the single “Dominion” off the their latest LP Vieux Loup. The Acorn first released Pink Ghosts in 2004, and with an ever-expanding catalogue of albums, Rolf Klausener and his band are showing no signs of slowing down.
The video is directed by the omnipresent and multitalented Lesley Marshall, who seems to do a million things and does them really well. She’s also in the band Bonnie Doon, and her unique aesthetic is evident in the music video.
“I shot part on SAW videos New black magic 4k camera and the footage with Caylie on a point and shoot I found in the garbage,” Lesley explains. “I love mixing media and am more moved for collage than anything right now.”
“I built a room of mirrors around Caylie. I wanted to create a dystopic feeling where the sky is made of beautiful water And a permanent sunset where there is love but we are all poisoned. I also love messing with people’s perception of video – of the music video and cinema. That’s why the video should make you feel uneasy.”
The song is reminiscent of The Acorn’s older work, with hollowed, reverb-laden sounds and delicate vocals. One special thing about this track is the appearance of Boyhood’s Caylie Runciman. Her vocals come in intermittently in response to Klausener’s, adding something special to the track and to the album.
Watch the psychedelic new video a listen to a crazy good remix by the one and only CABAAL below.