After a restless three years of pining for a Knots follow up to the brilliant debut, The Blistering Sun, the Pale Moon, Hahahaha, Neal Moignard finally returns with an album of limitless depth. White River of White Lies is described by Moignard as “stripping the dark glaze from the lenses of your eyes, letting the river of small falsities run dry.” The descriptor folk-noir does not seem as apt to describe this record as it had the last. Perhaps folk-lumière would be in better taste. The album is infused with ambiance and noise experimentations which never once distract or detract from the strength of the songs as being exactly that. Moignard has a way of using sound experimentations to deepen the impact of his music without becoming too academic or experimental for those interested in the power of song over the complexities of sound. His chord structures and progressions are constantly surprising and welcome to the senses. His picking patterns and phrasing point in the direction of Mount Eerie without going to Mount Eerie, which can only ever be meant as a complement from this correspondent. Moignard’s poetry is a constant intertwining of self-knowing consciousness and the objectivities of the natural world. Poetry of this sort is, in this writer’s opinion, the finest sort. It could be understood by a cave man. It is primordially human, unique from nature first and foremost in its ability to look into oneself. White River could not be as good as it is if not for Knots comfort with himself and his words. I strongly recommend this record to everyone. Come see the tape release show on September 1st at Elevation Room with Jom Comyn and Emily Baschynski. More information here. The tape is available from Bart Records.
Kevin Stebner is a Calgary mover and shaker who has been active in several scenes. You may recognize him as lead man of the passionate and very loud Stalwart Sons or perhaps you remember him as 8-bit virtuoso Greyscreen. In this new incarnation K. Stebner’s Cold Water is the rambling gruff back hand of a haggard folk pilot. Stebner has also released a book of poetry in months past and that reflects here as well. His lyrics play off the music in a sombre give and take (see “Cave Not In”) and thus seem to revel in their own individual weight.
Devin Friesen, previously familiar to me as Kevin Stebner’s roomate and an all around cool dude, is now familiar to me as the guitar peddle picasso that is Bitter Fictions. The First Book Of Electricity is a sunglassed dichotomy of mental guitar noises seesawed by New York City leather jacket 90’s pop. For those of you with a short wick for noise, skip ahead to “In Absence” and “Slip Away” and dig into the deep seated spirit of invention that surely lead Bitter Fictions to title it’s debut as it did. “Slip Away”, in particular, has a marvelous taxi cab home affect that could easily place itself in a Sophia Coppola film.