Bringing a little Northern Air to the winter that wasn't in Michigan, death country trio Elliott BROOD (Hamilton/Toronto) return to Detroit for the first time since 2009. We saw them three times last year (New Year's Eve at Lee's Palace in Toronto, Windsor's Capitol Theatre and Phog Phest III), and already braved one of the season's only snowstorms last month to catch them in Sarnia; they never bring anything but their all to a show. Celebrating 10 years as a band in 2012, their latest album, Days Into Years, chips away at the gritty death country label with a mellower vibe, but you can be sure of a foot-stomping, pan-clanging close to the show.
During last year's CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, one of the most hotly debated categories was Best Live Act. We'd seen three of the nominees: Rich Aucoin, Library Voices and Fucked Up. (We'll see the winners, Arkells, on Mar. 2 in Detroit.) There was a lot of fervent love for Rich Aucoin, and with good reason. A Fucked Up show is an intense punk communion. But the majority of our votes went to Library Voices, for their gimmick-free performances built on the strength of sheer personality, musical and lyrical talent, enthusiasm and some of the most fun we've ever had at a show.
Summer of Lust, a second alt-pop gem featuring Mike Dawson's erudite lyrics (and on stage, his amusingly, sometimes alarmingly, tipsy keyboard stand), was still going strong when after a long 18-month wait, Library Voices returned to Windsor's Phog Lounge on Oct. 30, 2011 (read our first show review here). We've been fortunate to enjoy the band in this intimate setting when they're selling out much larger venues, which makes their traditional closing singalong, this time to Lennon's "Oh Yoko!", all the more like a house show. Already known for resilience-- they lost their instruments not once, but twice in one year due to theft and flood-- singer Carl Johnson more than embodied it that evening. He sang the entire set after pulling out a molar he'd broken the night before when he hit himself in the mouth with a mic.
Waterloo's Will Currie & The Country French opened, and what a difference a year made since we saw them in Sept. 2010. Certainly their previous show was good, but this performance was much
heartier. Currie seemed shy before; this time he was clearly confident and at ease. Their first full-length album, Awake, You Sleepers!, is a familiar friend now, released in October 2011 after a long delay. The band is a bit hard to pin down genre-wise. Even their own artist page on Radio 3 uses five different adjectives: alt pop, retro pop, dancehall, indie rock and piano beat. Identity crisis? No, they're all accurate.
Congratulations to the 2012 JUNO nominees. While we're more attuned to the Polaris Prize and the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards (wink wink), we appreciate all the nominations the artists and musicians we know from CBC Radio 3 received. A JUNO nod will allow these wonderful people to be seen and heard by a much larger audience and hopefully get them the recognition they have earned and deserve.
Arcade Fire, City and Colour, Deadmau5, The Sheepdogs, Feist, Arkells, Sam Roberts Band, Dan Mangan, Diamond Rings, Lindi Ortega, Braids, Hey Rosetta!, Mother Mother, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Dallas Green, Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith, Cuff The Duke, Jenn Grant, Destroyer, Fucked Up, Timber Timbre, Lights, Sloan, Matthew Good, Colin Stetson, Coeur de Pirate, Malajube, Classified, D-Sisive, Kardinal Offishall, Swollen Members, Duck Sauce, Good Lovelies, The Deep Dark Woods, The Wailin’ Jennys, Twilight Hotel, Socalled, Jannie McInnes (Art Director), Robyn Kotyk, Graydon Sheppard, Sammy Rawal, Petra Cuschieri
(Designers), Heather Goodchild (Illustrator), Taylor Kirk (Art Director/Photographer), Robyn Kotyk (Designer), Nina Nielsen (Photographer), John JP Poliquin, Jon Busby, Jose Lourenco, Michael Maxxis, Mike Roberts, Anthony Seck, Chip Sutherland, Elinor Svobodo/Salazar, Tegan Quin, Sara Quin, Piers Henwood, Nick Blasko, Austra, Junior Boys, Tim Hecker, Anvil, Cauldron, Devin Townsend Project, Fuck The Facts, KEN mode.
But the piano is, after all, as much a percussion as a stringed instrument. Currie admits he'd "fiddled around" with keyboard instruments for a long time, so no wonder it proved the perfect medium.You can also hear Currie and Mariash discuss the inspirations behind the band's great debut full-length album, Awake, You Sleepers!; hear it live in both London and Windsor this weekend. We've seen them twice before, and we think you'll find it a Whale of a good time.
Ever heard a song by a band that seems as if it was written just for you? That perfectly captures a time and place in your life, emotionally, literally?
For us, that song is "This Is It" by The Wheat Pool. It came along at a time of endings and beginnings, of uncertainty and leaps of faith. And hearing it performed live-- and other songs we love-- in an almost private setting, made that evening one of our top shows, and most treasured moments, of last year.
So we were saddened to learn that The Wheat Pool has announced that it no longer exists as a band. You'll get no hand-wringing from us; we wouldn't be where we are today if we didn't change and grow. They left us with two beautiful albums. We're just disappointed there won't be any more. We know we haven't heard the last from them. Mike Angus has already released a fine solo album, and Glen Erickson launched a music video company, Heavy Grain. We wish them all well in their new endeavors, as we offer a fare thee well.
“No one knows how to begin to say something they don’t want to say. And we are men, it is especially difficult. This March 23, 2012, it will be the seven year anniversary of the first show the four of us played as The Wheat Pool. It will also be the last show we play together as The Wheat Pool.
It is hard to name the exact reason why, although we know we are going to be asked a fair bit. From the beginning The Wheat Pool was a relationship; it was the convergence of two brothers, and the uniting of four guys who cared as much about each other as they did the music. It was a really really good thing. So who can explain how a relationship changes? When it began it was compelling and sweet; it was four guys coming together to find something special. In seven years we have had the best times and the worst times of our lives, on and off the road. That particular “something special” which bound us together and moved us forward appears to be gone, and we aren’t the types to try and force it, manufacture it, or fake it. We would rather burn bright and burn out. We have admitted that we aren’t four guys in the same place anymore, and that makes it really hard to be a great band. So we are moving on.
We of course have an impossible amount of people we could thank, because of the incredible gratitude we feel for the opportunities we have had over these years. We worked our ass off for those opportunities, very little was handed to us, but we shared all of them with as much grace and love as we could for the people we shared them with, the people who opened their doors, venues, stations and homes to us. If you have known us, hosted us, played with us, watched us or bought our music, please know how deeply grateful we are for the opportunity. The memories are so rich.”