Archive for May, 2010

Alex’s Song of the Day: Fates- Paris Gun

In an industry so focused on synonymy, it is so exciting to hear an artist such as Fates, who do not conform to the masses. Their music is literally one in a million; tweaking and meshing uncommon sounds to create one of the most original electronic pieces I have heard all year. Abstract art for the ears most certainly.

Fates will be releasing their album Murky Circuits on June 8.

Fates- Paris Gun

The Paint Movement – Our Eurythmy

Ok, so I’m really, really late coming to this CD. My bad. I mean it. But I’m glad that I didn’t let this little gem slip away unnoticed. It’s rather a great little album as many of my fellow bloggers can attest. TPM got a lot of good reviews last year when this debut was released. And it’s really rather astonishing that this is a debut album rather than the third or fourth. The album is self-assured and confident. These songs have a depth and sophistication that is missing on some of the more seasoned artists material. It’s even more astonishing that the production is so mature, consistent, and clean for a basement recording – the recording was done in Kevin Kralik’s basement. And I can’t find a single clinker in the bunch, which is extremely rare even in bands that I really love. It is flawless from beginning to end and impossible to pick a favourite track. All this from a first release. What are they going to do for an encore?

TPM have wisely taken the best elements from both old and new musical genres and styles and meshed them into a gorgeous fusion of jazz/funk/soul/experimental. They sound like Broken Social Scene mixed with Chicago with a generous dollop of something that a lot of bands lack these days, charisma. The ten songs on this CD are immensely likeable. Knock Knock, the third song, is an almost soothing mix of styles and genres with a superb instrumental bridge that really showcases their considerable musical talents. These songs are lush without being overly crowded, there are layers upon layers without sounding impenetrable. Eternity Seems To Lie Here is a good example of this. It is largely an instrumental that starts off in a dreamy haze and then morphs into a musical firestorm of noise without becoming overwhelming or straying from the musical path. I say largely an instrumental because there is waay in the background the hint of a screaming vocal giving a rather spine-chilling haunt to the song. The lyrics on these tracks are above average, “If two wrongs make a right, how many rights ’til we change the world” from Are You With Me is a case in point. Although this song deals with the cliché of working together to change the world, it isn’t preachy (Bono are you listening?) or pretentious (Bono? You there?).

This brings me to Kralik’s vocals. He has a voice that reminds me of Paul Murphy from Wintersleep, Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene or Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. And Kralik has the same ability to sound ethereal such as on Cat’s Meow, which reminded me a lot of Weighty Ghost or, such as in Howl At The Moon, world weary and haunted as these three gentlemen do. I also loved the vocal support and interplay Kralik has with Lauren Casciato-Turner. Jason Haberman (bass), Glenn Candy (drums), Jason Loftman (Keys, Saxophone) and a rotating cast of a few friends round out the sound. The single best thing that I like about this album is that the people involved all sound like they are having a great time and the love for their craft and music is very evident. The attention to detail is also evident but it doesn’t inhibit the songs from being honest and true. These aren’t artsy-fartsy, pretentious drivel. The jazzier elements add interest without alienating the listener as can sometimes happen (Radiohead I’m looking at you) and I’m all for that.

According to their blog, TPM is busy writing for a new album, which is good news for people like me who love their brand of jazz fusion. You can find more info about them here, here and here. You can buy Our Eurythmy on iTunes, at Amazon or support your local bricks and mortar record store such as HMV and look for it there. Their facebook page also lists a self-titled EP but I don’t know if that is still available.

In the last few weeks, maybe even months, I’ve been lucky to have listened to some really, really great Canadian and international musicians. I can’t wait to see what else is coming. It gives me hope for the industry.

The Paint Movement – Knock Knock
The Paint Movement – Terms
The Paint Movement – Groovy Bones

M.I.A.- Haters Review

As more material releases from M.I.A.‘s upcoming album, the more indifferent and shocked I am to hear this type of work coming from her.

Haters is a slow, beaty track, and is also one of the first where M.I.A. sings. It’s more than apparent that she has a unyielding message which she is attempting to convey, and sounds very adamant about certain political and social stances, and about her words being judged incorrectly.

M.I.A. has consistently made music about set topics, but the beats and even how she rhymed over them has absolutely changed. Her flow is much more static and her beats are much less quixotic, a true portrayal that with a growing maturity comes a different eye when it comes to music. Nothing compares to a fervent woman who makes good music and knows it.

/\/\/\Y/\ will be out on July 13th.

M.I.A.- Haters

Rio (Crookers Bang Remix) – Bumblebeez

I just finished packing and I couldn’t be more excited to get out of Canada for a while. I am going down to Rio for a little while to check out the music and relax by the beach even though its going to be warmer in Toronto. Oh well thats nothing 30 cent beers and brazilian bbq can’t fix. As much as I love Toronto I must say I wont be missing it for a while.

Bumblebeez- Rio (Crookers Bang Remix)

Xavier Rudd feat. Justin Nozuka @ the QET

Last week, Xavier Rudd & Izintaba and Justin Nozuka spent two evenings at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I had the opportunity to check out their first show on May 20, 2010. With Xavier Rudd & Izintaba having just recently released their latest album Koonyum Sun, as well as Justin Nozuka just releasing his sophomore album, You I Wind Land and Sea, there could not have been a better pairing to promote both albums.

Justin opened up his set with “Gray.” Strategically, this could be seen as an introduction to his latest album, You I Wind Land and Sea, since “Gray” is the first track on the album. Concert-goers were still filing in when Justin started his set.  “My Heart is Yours” was performed next, followed by a series of songs from You I Wind Land and Sea (2010) and a couple from Holly (2007) . Besides Justin’s performance of “My Heart is Yours,” his performances of “After Tonight” and “Carried You” were my favourites of the night. My friend that accompanied me to the show had seen Justin Nozuka perform a couple of times before. She commented that out of all the times she’s seen Justin Nozuka, this set was the least impressive of them all. We concluded that it’s probably because he was limited to the time constraints of being an opening act. Personally, I would love to catch a show with him as the headliner just to see him perform his repertoire live.

Justin Nozuka – After Tonight
Justin Nozuka – Carried You

For more on Justin Nozuka, check out his official website and MySpace.

When Xavier Rudd and his band showed up on stage, people got up from their seats and gathered at the front of the stage and remained standing for the entirety of the show. Xavier Rudd fans were eclectic… ranging from tweens to adults, hippies to preps, and everything in between. To be honest, prior to being assigned to cover this show, I was unaware of Xavier Rudd and his music. I have never been to a show where I didn’t know the works of the headliner. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the music of Xavier Rudd & Izintaba. Xavier Rudd & Izintaba knows how to put on a great show. I was blown away by the band’s energy and their stage presence.

Despite having bassist Tio Moloantoa and percussionist Andile Nqubezelo just join Xavier Rudd’s musical endeavours recently — Xavier had no problem sharing the stage with his band mates. It’s hard to categorize the music of  Xavier Rudd & Izintaba. All I can say is the worldliness of Xavier Rudd & Izintaba is throughly expressed in their music…with their influences lying in Western pop/rock/folk, Caribbean, African and Aboriginal music.

Xavier Rudd – Stargaze
Xavier Rudd – Time To Smile

For more on Xavier Rudd & Izintaba, check out Xavier Rudd’s official website and MySpace.

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