Coyote tip-toes out of the candescent Prince Edward Island. I had the absolute pleasure of stumbling upon these magical boys while psuedo-stranded on the Island. Putting on a face of complete love and joy, they welcomed me with arms wider then i’ve ever known. Sometimes still, I dream of these gents, guiding me though the cozy corridors of Charlottetown, telling me stories of summer-side and east coast girls. The Release their first album, Tracks, has been a long time coming and i can honestly say i have never been more excited for them. Opening for bands like Born gold, Library Voices, TWRP has surely imbued them with the wayfaring joy of touring. Like much other East Coast musicians, I hastily await them to leave some Tracks on these prairies. The Release date is March 6th at some wunderful place on the island, far far far away from this tundra soul, however, thanks to the sub-world of the internet, it shall be available everywhere. A sneak peek of their new single “Fossils” is now stream-able, and soon, everywhere, gyrate-able.
Bolivia comes out of the great canadiana epicenter of Mount Allison University. The Sackville based pentad recently released their self titled EP, however dating these hymns seems impossible. The ageless harmonies echo old Appalachian hymns sung over fields of wet gunpowder, mourning a temporal season, feeding the earth. Capturing these hymns is surely a gift, one shared with some joyful egalitarian whim, of which I am sure, or at least hope, becomes rooted deep in the happiness of all who hear. I hope come semesters end they’ll be bringing their airy hymns to the west, ’till then ship 5$ here.
So just before the anti-climactic beginning to what supposedly is the last year of all human consciousness, Toronto shoegazers Tearjerker unveiled there newest release Rare. On a walk I recently took down the trails of Glenora, I couldn’t help but let this album play repeatedly as the more and more decrepit paths I found began to be insurmountable. Tearjerker opens the album with the pop fuzz-orgy “Down”, truly a song that is better heard in a heap of sweat in some basement bar, however its suites well a sunrise on a riverbank. The title track “Rare” is one of those quivering ballads, epic and opaque, more or less obliges you to sit and ponder. The album goes on delivering chiming fuzz folk ballads, the highlights being “Word” and “Focus”. Yet, the closer “Solid Morning” nearly had me winded after a short listen. A perfect composition of melody and patience, or maybe its the slide guitar, it always seems to get me. After the first listen I had a short (or at least it felt short) repeat session continuously playing this gemstone, possibly wrapping up around the fifth or sixth listen I think. Refined, and adequately admired, it is almost impossible to not sink into a moment, and let these waves massage your eardrums. Fortunately this album is offered in a Pay-what-you-want type deal, so for those sap suckled students incapable to purchase even a cup of coffee, you can now afford a short listen.
Ok, so it’s probably no mystery to Canadians who represent the largest portion of impoverished peoples in Canada: our nation has had a long tradition of concentrating Aboriginal peoples into places unseen by the dominant half of the Canadian populace. The effects of corralling Aboriginals has had not only socioeconomic effects, of which I am sure every Canadian has some kind of opinion about, but it’s also created a kind of aural bubble around reserves, keeping the great and holy pitchfork understandably estranged from reserve lands.
Enter A Tribe Called Red. This group coerces this bubble to pop. A Tribe Called Red are a collective of DJ’s from Ottawa who provoke this dissociation by mixing two styles of music, Traditional and Synthetic, causing a mess of aural data most people wouldn’t imagine possible. This combination might offend those listeners ardently opposed to the great wave of dub. There may be those bothered by this sonic union, yet I feel these musicians are moving in a very important direction for the prosperity of Aboriginal peoples all across Canada.
By mixing these two breeds of aural arrangement together, something primordial arises. It may be a touch too top-40, however I believe in order for this band to really provoke listeners it needs that kind of radio familiarity to draw them in. The power behind the Pow Wow rhythm is the traditional platform most of these songs are built on, and rightly so. These rhythms, as ancient as they are, connect the singers to the spirits. It is in this way A Tribe Called Red frames the reinterpretations.
The videos, created by master editor Bear Witness, portray what most of the population conjures up when presented with the Aboriginal concept. Using this medium provokes the listeners previous notions with an audio-visual juxtaposition of past and future. It might not be a style fondly received by this blog’s regular listeners but this new form is a promising musical revolution and ought to be received as such. I will admit that the general appeal to these works is lackluster, beckoning a more club friendly crowd. Most aboriginal people I’ve shared A Tribe Called Red with unapologetically say “my Kohkom would be bothered by this.” That’s alright, it’s a reinterpretation, a blend of foundation and atmosphere. It is True Canadiana, before there were Canadians. Enjoy.
Alanna Gurr walks that crooked line between folk and ancient country. With an earnest warmth encompassing her voice, accompanied by the most gentle of slide guitar melodies she whispers canadiana into the rolling hills of Ontario stretching ever northward. As her hand alights after each downward strum this weird settled feeling starts to wash over you, encouraging another listen and ultimately a soft chair in a warm room. On the uptempo folk-rock jam October Alanna plays with the cracks in her voice causing the aural temperature to drop, employing us to grab the nearest lover and begin confessing the love locked in the warmest of hearts. Through the title track Oh, Horsefeathers, she showcases her creation of pure Canadiana which ought to be heard first on a river bank, under the cool spring sun, at that unreal hour between dusk and sunset.
Alanna Gurr’s wayfaring voice is coming to Edmonton some time in the spring, ideally to Wunderbar. Until then, to the benefit of your mental health, come get rapt in the celestial aural jet stream that is Alanna Gurr.