New Music: Self-Titled by Saint Clare
Ottawa’s Saint Clare just released their much anticipated debut self-titled EP. The album features great psychedelic and garage rock with jiving keys and absolutely exceptional performance by the horns in the band, some of the best I have heard outside of ska in some time.
The first song sets the tone for the whole album with its rocking flares and blazing beat right out of the gate. That did not slow into the next two songs, including their first single “Cheatin.” My favourite track from has to be the second song “Goodbye to the Ghost” which has everything I look for in a song. It makes me reminisce, makes me feel, it transports me into his shoes, the music makes me want to dance, the chorus makes me want to sign-a-long and the song has an “oh oh ohs” breakdown. I mean, what more can you ask for?
There is a vocal dispare to lead singer Matt Saint Clare’s voice which channels The Cure’s Robert Smith. I say this as a compliment since Matthew Saint Clare’s voice has me hooked and makes me want to adorn a little more black. But don’t be fooled – this is no copy. Saint Clare’s voice is still uniquely his own and one can certainly feel everything he is going through in every song as his voice fluctuates ever so slightly driving home real emotions. All of this is topped with perfectly executed brass which I just can’t praise enough as the perfect complement to the song writing.
For those who didn’t know, Saint Clare is Matthew Saint Clare (Guitar and Vocals), Richard Jeffrey (Guitar and Vocals), Casey Comeau (Piano, Organ, and Vocals), Morgan Grant (Saxophone), Nick Di Saverio (Trombone), Ryan Shannon (Bass), and Daniel DeVries (Drums).
All songs on the new self-titled full length were recorded and mixed at Little Bullhorn Studio in Ottawa, Canada by Jarrett Bartlett, and mastered at The House of Miracles in Cambridge, Canada by Andy Magoffin.
Check out Saint Clare’s most excellent self-titled album below and go see them live this Friday, November 4 at Bar Robo for the release party (info here) or November 5 at Bistro de Paris in Montreal.
Thirsty Thursday: Lumbersexual by Covered Bridge Brewing
Beer: Lumbersexual by Covered Bridge Brewing
Pairing: Lumbersexual with a woodsy playlist
About the Beer: In the beginning of my beer crusade, breweries were going for strong drinkable beers. The trend in the last few years is to bring down the ABV so that we can enjoy a bit more beer and still be able to walk without compromising flavour. Lumbersexual is a prime example. At 3.5%, they were able to get the iconic IPA bitterness with only 23.6 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units).
If you are reading this, or know of Ottawa Showbox, you most likely know what a Lumbersexual stands for. We all have noticed that beards are the facial hair trend du jour. And dressing up like a lumberjack without having picked up an axe is bleeding into our urban landscape. I’m enjoying this movement as I fall in this category. I finally fit in! But I do swing an axe. I also stream Netflix nightly and have a 7.5 hour a day sit-down job.
Like its namesake, the session IPA is not what it appears to be. At first glance, you’ll be drawn by its scent – a pleasant hop flavour and aroma, mimicking that of a big, bold IPA. On closer inspection, you’ll find that the hops provide approachable bitterness. It has a refreshing, low alcohol content while maintaining a certain calculated ruggedness. This urban woodsman is a very palatable, easy drinking summer beer.
The Yips “Wytch Elm”
The wych elm or Scots elm, has the widest range of the European elm species. Spanning from Ireland, the Arctic Circle, to the mountains of Greece. #OttBand
Termites’ usually feed on dead wood or other dead plant material. They are considered very important in the ecological life of a tree. #OttBand
The Love Machine “We Are Squirrels and This Is Nuts”
Squirrels are my favourite tree dwellers. Seeing them climb and evading capture from my dog is quite impressive. #OttBand
The Cure “A Forest”
When watching to video for this song, Youtube put an ad for sunscreen for men. Is there a difference? Real lumberjacks have sun damage on their faces only. Sunscreen need not apply.
Silkken Laumann “The River”
Nothing like the feeling of arriving to a river or lake when in the forest. The primal need of water might be a reason why it’s so satisfying. #OttBand
The Verve “Weeping Willow”
The weeping willow is my favorite “hangout” tree. Sit, drink, smoke, read… be lumbersexually active…
Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees”
Fake lumberjacks… Fake trees…
Alt-J “Hunger of the Pine”
The pine is my favourite campfire wood. It sparks, it burn well, and best of all…it smells divine. Lumbersexual cologne idea… Eau de Pine…
The Noisy Locomotive “In The Pines”
Let the pine train continue… #OttBand
Cory Levesque “Gravel Roads”
Cory sings about the simplicity of living in the country, off a gravel road, four walls, a bed, a home… Warming your house with the wood you chopped. #OttBand
Contact me on twitter @danielbordage or at email@example.com for suggestions, comments or just to say hi.
Riot Fest Day 1: The Cure, The Flaming Lips, Death From Above 1979 & More
The Cure had the right melodies and remedies to pick us all up on the damp and muddy first night of Riot Fest at Downsview Park in Toronto.
The crowd knew we were in for a treat when during the intro of the first song, “Shake Dog Shake,” a smiling Robert Smith treated us to some shoulder shakes of his own. The absolute wonder of The Cure is that they sound exactly as they always have, even after nearly 40 years as a band. The set was stacked with great songs spanning their many decades but focused on songs from “Disintegration” and “Head on The Door,” much to my glee. They played including “Fascination Street,” “Pictures of You,” the haunting “Lullaby,” “Push,” “Min Car,” “Wrong Numbers,” the ever-popular “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday I’m in Love,” as well as many other tracks. The crowd was so locked in I did not see a single crowd surfer, just over 40, 000 people enthralled with The Cure.
Smith kept the talking to a minimum, mostly just thank yous, saving the time for music. The Cure usually play for approximately three hours at a time, but were given just under two on this night. He did however speak up as they returned for their encore. “Apparently I signed a piece of paper that said if I broke the curfew I retire tonight… we’ll see,” he said cheekily. The masters of goth-rock could not have closed it out any better delivering “Close to Me,” “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Boys Don’t Cry.” Boys may not have been crying on this night, but I am sure they brought many men and women to tears, mostly joy, with their incredible set.
Before The Cure, there was the spectacle known as The Flaming Lips. Where to begin? Well, lead singer and guitarist Wayne Coyne walked on the stage wearing a skin-tight green man suit, but instead of being green, it was showed all the human muscles and veins as if his skin had been removed. Joining him on stage where two people wearing inflatable mushroom suits and two more people being each end of an inflatable rainbow. As the set began with “The Abandoned Hospital Ship,” confetti cannons littered the crowd endlessly while the video screen behind the band was not epilepsy friendly. (See the video above at your own risk.) The set also featured people dancing in inflatable queen bee outfits, a sun-man, aliens, a smiley face sun and much more chaos & confetti.
The Flaming Lips are not all show, really, they do actually play some pretty sweet songs. They played crowd favourite “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and Coyne was underwhelmed by the participation in the karate chop portion, so he had the band stop. “Come on guys, the karate chop is the gauge for the whole show. It sets the tone, you gotta get into it!” The crowd did not disappoint and neither did the Lips the rest of the way, including Coyne singing from his signature human hamster ball, while standing on the crowd. They closed with “Do You Realize” and a cover of the Beatles’ classic “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” as LSD, I mean confetti, showered the crowd through colourful flashing lights.
Rock duo Death From Above 1979 gave the festival main stage some local flavour. Unfortunately, the set sound at the beginning of the set was really off, but they powered through. Fresh off their first release in ten years, the boys were on a mission. They played a bunch of songs off their new album Physical World and seamlessly worked in their older material. Drummer Sebastian Grainger spoke up before they played on of those new songs, “Gemini.” “Gemini is about my wife and today is our five-year wedding anniversary. I know it might not be punk rock to talk about anniversaries… love her, she’s the best yo.” They capped off the energetic and noisy set by having everyone put their arms in the air and playing “Romantic Rights.”
Brand New did what they always do: play a super solid set and take care of business. Flowers covered the mic stands and they were ripped apart as the show went on. What blows me away about this band is the occasional use of dual drummers during the set. This was on perfect display during their smash hit “Sic Transit Gloria” which featured perfectly in-sync drumming to the point of passing drum sticks while lead-singer Jesse Lacey wowed the crowd by yelling into his guitar making it sing the final chorus. They played songs off all four albums including the moving “Showing Session,” “Jesus Christ,” “Sink,” and “Seventy Times 7.” The band may not have released an album in five years, but with performance like this they almost don’t need new material, although there is talk that it’s in the works. As Lacey walked off the stage he thanked the crowd and said “start your own band.”
The adult in me didn’t want to watch New Found Glory, but the teen in me, said give them a chance. The bubble-gum pop-punk rockers from Florida do still put on a very action packed show. The crowd was in a frenzy with non-stop circle pits and crowdsurfing. Lead-singer Jordan Pundik sprinted and stomped around the stage the entire time and bass player Ian Grushka still made gumba-like grimaces. Whatever they had, they still have it and fans sang and clapped along all set. The treat for me was hearing their hit from my high school days “Better Off Dead.”
Rubblebucket get down and funky at Riot Fest in Toronto.
Riot Fest provided me with three excellent discorveries, which is why you should always try to show up early. Kicking off the festival was Laura Stevenson. I never got the chance to see Bomb The Music Industry! so watching their former keyboard player now turned singer-songwriter play guitar and sing with a full band backing her was a lot of fun. It was happy, up-beat music with hints of accordion and xylophone. Definetly worth checking out. Another very entertaining performance, maybe one of the most entertaining for reasons other than music other than the Flaming Lips, was Mounties. Mounties are somewhat of a Canadian super group, with Hawkley Workman on drums and Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat on keys, and other musicians rounding it out. They played kick drum driven synth pop and it was fun and dancy. But what caught my attention was when Workman appeared to possessed during a song as he stood up from his drums and started screaming about “oh the sun, I just want to drink it straight,” during one of the songs. The last of the discoveries was the best of them all, Rubblebucket from Brooklyn. The seven-piece was absolutely hypnotizing with their funky get-off-your-feet-and-dance music. Their two-man horn section were spot on and also nailed all their coordinated dance moves, while lead singer Annakalmia Traver sometimes plays sax and always dances around like no one is watching. The band had played a gig about ten hours before they took to the stage and showed no signs of fatigue. Go see them if you ever have a chance, I know I will.
Lastly, through out the day I checked out a smattering of punk and hardcore thanks to Circa Survive, Glassjaw and Title Fight. I had forgot how much I enjoyed Circa Survive, and how much they sometimes sound like what would happen if Mars Volta played punk rock. Glassjaw and Title Fight both played great high energy, loud thrashing sets, perfect on the muddy gross afternoon.