Friday, June 10, 2011

LiVE 88.5FM's Big Money Shot, May 27, 2011

Last night, for the frist time in several years I was lucky enough to attend a live music show.  The re-baptism came by way of LiVE 88.5's Big Money Shot at Live Lounge on York Street in Ottawa, ON.  The Big Money Shot is a great program for developing local musicians and artists and they've ponied up a lot of cash for a lot of bands in the past.  The rules of the contest are fairly detailed, requiring you and/or your band to be pretty well-rounded to be able to qualify for the development cash that is on the table.  These kind of things include being responsible for drawing a sizable crowd, playing several live shows, obtaining live footage of your band performaing, aving a demo cd with at least 5 songs, and (later in the process) doing a minimum 5-date tour.  Essentially, if you or your band aren't trying to be serious musicians you will be weeded out pretty fast.  You can read more about LiVE 88.5, the Big Money Shot and schedule by clicking here.

The lineup on Friday included Dave Norris & Local Ivan, Geoffrey the Giant, Loon Choir, Orchid Theives, and The Murder Plans.  Now, being out of Canada for a couple years and away from Ottawa for longer, I have not really kept up to date on the local scene.  Thus, I've never seen these bands play and have heard of only one of them before.  The lone standout being Loon Choir, and I know of them through a couple of good friends who are members.  I was lucky enough to be given their album so I'll be reviewing that a little further down.

But first let us steal into the night...

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

"arctic breath"

I know penguins don't live anywhere near the arctic.  I don't care.  Written in song form.

"arctic breath"

a cold wave: God's hushed voice
dances into places previously allocated
for reason;
an arctic breath: crispy beard etched
with snow, you know where the penguins go
don't you, oh Good King Winceslas?

"should've had a part in the war, but
the war is for younger men," you said
"i've loved a lot a long long time,
and it's time i be getting to dying."

a shiver at the mention of God's voice
is back in it's overly familiar spot, he loves
his tiny corpse;
a riverine tundra holds its arctic breath, and chokes
back to where, you know, the snow can't
get at the penguins. Continue Reading...

" midnight, we had forgotten one another..."

Iron and Wine - Around the Well
(Sub Pop: 2009)

In May 2009, Iron & Wine released Around the Well, a double-disc effort that features all kinds of intricate and intimate tunes, all of which are generally hard to come b(u)y through legal means.  In spite of that fact, there isn’t really anything here that previous Iron & Wine fans haven’t heard, myself included; out of the 23 tracks, only 2 were new to me.

I love this album and that should come as no surprise to regular readers.  In contrast to his immediately previous albums, Around the Well exudes the same cozy, exoteric feel that made his early releases like The Creek Drank the Cradle so amazing.  But that’s not to make one think that it’s all roses and sunshine with Samuel Beam; on the contrary, many of his best songs have a dark hint of the Southern Gothic tradition, made legendary (in my opinion) by artists like Johnny Cash and Will Oldham.  It is not easily tracked and traced, that “Southern Gothic” tradition: it’s just what I call it because it’s easier for me.  (And by "Southern Gothic" I mean loosely the following: the absolute detail in his songs, the distinctively southern feel of his music, the dark and mysterious lyrics, full of death and desolation…Yet with death and desolation automatically come their opposites: life and hope.)  
In this way, by using these realities he’s able to simultaneously make you cry, shiver, dance, hum along, and smile…Whither Apollo?  Whither Dionysos?

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

fey darkness, you will be subsumed

You will see an new link at the right of the screen.  It's my friend Derek Atkinson's website.  Derek plays in a cool little band called Loon Choir.  (

Derek has also begun fashioning a website called
At some point, you'll be able to view poetry, listen to music, and look at some pictures from a variety of artists and such.  Right now, Derek and Loon Choir are up in Toronto recording their first (I think) studio album, so the website is not at full working order yet, but keep checking back for updates etc...

here's a small piece i just thunk:

"the ardire"

a whisper whisped
in the fey darkness:
"i will if you will."

remember to check out the ardire website, as well as Loon Choir's myspace page for upcoming shows and free tunes. Continue Reading...

"It's Time to put God Away."

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
(Drag City: 2009)

Bill Callahan is one of my favourite artists.  It actually doesn't really matter what song he is singing, I could literally just sit and listen to him.  He's got this huge, rich baritone voice that reeks of authority and emanates a simple, pure beauty with every word.  And the lyrics he writes are amazingly introspective and probing.  I can only liken it to what it might feel like to be friends with your grandfather: him telling you stories and aphorisms of an older age for a new breed.  Does that even make sense?  You might know him as Smog or (Smog) - this is technically only his second album under his own name - but you cannot confuse the voice or music.  Altogether I think this is his thirteenth or fourteenth album (including his work as both Smog and (Smog) ).
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