Saskatoon, you colonial outpost, what have you here? The Moas. Extinct birds, no; shoegaze prairie prayers, yeah. Arguejob nearly missed this. The Moas have kept us waiting. But this debut full length is slow cooked to perfection. I saw their show at Wunderbar nearly three years ago and found it so compelling, so centripetal. Since then, I have always imagined Saskatoon as a place where bands like The Moas exist. Partake: Edifying sadness imbued in every jam, dragging you limply through the frozen lake waters of Sonia Dickin’s voice. The way “Blue Light” leads you into a straight forward rock and roll jam but suddenly uncovers its true face with The Moas signature dispossessed angelic motif. “Of Mice” remains a favourite, a curve ball progression with lilting bedroom tones, ripe with a gentle angst and a the twining dance of cigarette smoke. “Thinner For It” is the shadowy centrepiece of the record, diving into the bag of tricks to produce something molasses thick and solid to the senses. In 35 minutes we have a tightly bound knot of songs that find you wherever you are and plunge you into the inner recesses of your finitude. On repeat.
Zachary Lucky, prince of these prairies, has returned with his soul on the mend. The dire Ballad of Losing You is one long slow closing of the eyes. Lap steel, violin, and a timbrous guitar combine to convey a robustness of feeling this reviewer has long since heard. The execution of this record is without flaw, lulling and centripetal in its pull. If you want to feel like a leaf about to break from your summer branch and float quietly and inconsequentially to the ground, drop the needle on this new record and know you’re lucky.
Catch the man on tour for the next two months. If you are in Canada, chances are he’s coming your way. Tour dates.
The old joke: if your dog runs away in Saskatchewan, you can watch it go for days across the flat prairies. But there’s something in the water in that province that keeps producing artists who challenge the simplicity of the provincial archetypes. The Seahags come at you from deep in the groundwater, a surge of manic violin buoyed by a fuzz-laden country backbone. There is a raw honesty to the delivery of the songs. The band carries an infections energy that translates into the recordings, makes you dream of a real barn-burner. Put on your dancing shoes and join in.
Looking for those eggnog head nod yule log sounds? Let them tap on your drummerboy eardrums by way of OLD UGLY & friends’ 3rd annual xmas comp.
I’ve already said some words expressing my fervent belief in Feral Children as some new-age cult of 21st Century psychadelia–and I’m sure they’re tired of the word “psychadelia”, but I mean it sincerely and in complete disregard to any cheesy, Woodstock ’94 connotations that it may draw. The fact is that Ryan Davidson, Saskatoon’s shining star, has put out yet another amazing collection, an EP to follow up the amazing self titled full length (which I reviewed at the time). For SunSon, there seems to be less vocal effects, a bit clearer production, but maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just hearing more clearly through the amazing texture and the synesthesic colour palette that Feral Children suggests to me and appreciating Ryan’s pure talent as a great rock and roll songwriter. Also, I’ve been really appreciative of voices lately, of the unique quality inherent in a single individual’s voice, and Ryan’s voice has a remarkable tone and character, even without any reverb or delay. With every release, Feral Children solidifies their status as one of the true pillars of contemporary Canadian indie.