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September 19th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

‘I Blame the Loyalist Ghost,’ Video and Song from Shawn Clark’s New Album

Shawn Clarke, NXNE 2014Charming video for ‘I Blame the Loyalist Ghost,’ a song from Toronto musician Shawn William Clark‘s second album due out 9/23, produced by James Bunton, longtime drummer in Ohbijou. The song begins with the sound of a plucked 4-string tenor guitar, then Clarke plays every instrument in the piece. Enjoy this—it’s like a lazy summer day with balloons and ribbons floating in the sky. I heard Clark during the first night of NXNE this past June, and enjoyed his act a lot. I look forward to hearing his whole album. Note: After putting up the video below, I found I’d encountered a glitch and it won’t play. It may be a victim of unintended geo-fencing—the situation where territorial rights restrictions come in to play—or a technical problem. I am aware of the problem and am working to restore it. Meantime, you can watch it off my site via this link: http://youtu.be/OIIhnwrzBSA

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September 18th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Music, Bands & Radio; Urban Life & New York City

Elliott BROOD Made Feet Stomp on the Lower East Side

Elliott BROOD, l-r--Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet, Steve PitkinThe Ontario trio Elliott BROOD played a great set of new songs for a 7pm set at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s lower east side last night. The early hour meant light was still pouring in the windows off Allen Street as they hit their first downbeat, but the vibe quickly turned funky for the crowd of about twenty-five, for as I wrote about this band after I first heard their live show in 2012:

“The trio’s gritty sound feels as if it’s been imported from the early days of sound recording. More raw than roots, it’s a sonic stew of acoustic guitar, banjo, reverb-ed Fender Stratocaster, harmonica, and thumping drums.”

Rockwood has excellent acoustics, whether the room is crammed or not. Last night, the mix was great and all instruments could be heard well. They played six new songs from their forthcoming album, “Work & Love” (Paperbag Records), and a couple older ones. They announced it was the first time they were playing the new songs for a live audience. Dressed all in white, Casey Laforet (electric and acoustic guitars, and an array of foot pedals he played in sock-clad feet); Mark Sasso (acoustic guitar, harmonica, banjo); and Steve Pitkin (drums and a keyboard set up next to his kit) charmed all with light banter and interesting song reveals. Casey, a still-new parent, introduced one new song, “Each Other’s Kids,” by explaining they wrote it after realizing how much people in their world universally rely on one another to take care of their young children.

I had met them in 2012, so it was good to re-visit afterward, and introduce all three to my wife Kyle Gallup, and our friend, Mike Fitzgerald. I caught up on all the news with Casey, and learned he and his wife are about to have their second child. Steve appreciated I remembered his last name correctly, something I can relate to, since people tend to spell my first name with two lls, though it only has one. I told Mark he had been in good voice, though he said he actually felt like he might be getting a cold. I gave them the card for my blog Honourary Canadian, which I began after I met them the first time. They began packing up for a show tonight at the Black Cat in D.C., then they’re moving on to Bristol, Tennessee—said to be “the birthplace of country music in the USA”—where they’ll be playing the Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival.

Last night’s only flaw was that the new album isn’t out yet–after hearing the new songs for the 1st time, I’m keen to hear them again. But it will be available Oct 21, and though it would’ve been nice to get a copy right from the hands of band member, I’ll also be glad to purchase it from the great Canadian indie music website, zunior.com, a seller I highly recommend.Elliott BROOD's Work & Love, Paperbag Records

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September 15th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

George Stroumboulopoulos’ Music Friends On Why CBC Matters

Turns out the video below is geo-fenced off from the US. Oh, well, this link to it should may work: youtu.be/6pej_w0qWb8?a

I enjoy listening to the Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2 Sunday nights from 8-11pm. Here’s a video his program put out Sept 1, as their new season began. It documents why CBC matters, even in an era when many other media platforms are available for music lovers and cultural consumers to enjoy.

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September 12th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Music, Bands & Radio; Urban Life & New York City

Elephant Stone, Making Mind-bending Music at Mercury Lounge

Rishi sitarI had a great time at the Elephant Stone show at Mercury Lounge Tuesday night. It was the third time I’ve heard the Montreal band (I earlier wrote about them here), and they were in great form, with frontman Rishi Dhir and his crew really getting down on several psychedelic and funk jams. As cool as Rishi’s sitar playing is, he’s also a really great bassist, and plays it like a solo instrument. Meantime, bandmate Gabriel Lambert is a wizard on 12-string electric guitar. The result is the band’s signature blend of soaring psychedelia, bright pop harmonies, thumping funk, and chiming guitar. If you’d like rock n’ roll that sounds like the Byrds crossed with Indian influences check them out. Frontman Dhir (shown at right) has playfully dubbed their sound ‘Hindi rock.’ I hear echoes of the Byrds and the Beatles, though more psychedelic-ized than either of those giant groups. I got a copy of their new album The Three Poisons after the show. Also in the house was Mike Renaud, aka “Parkside,” of Hidden Pony Records, which handles several of my favorite acts (like Rah Rah, Jeremy Fisher, Said the Whale, and Imaginary Cities) and Tyler Bancroft of the aforementioned Said the Whale, who was in NYC for a few days, then leaving to meet his bandmates for a StW show in Calgary. Parkside, Tyler, myself, and some new friends, Jillian Bordeaux and Michael, a colleague of hers from Caroline—a company that works with many indie music labels—went out for beers afterward.

Elephant Stone’s current US tour continues tonight in Philadelphia, and tomorrow in Asbury Park, NJ, Sept 12 and 13. Details here.

Here are more pictures from the fun night.

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September 11th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

Jill Barber’s US Tour 9/22-9/30—Stopping at NY Joe’s Pub Sept 25

Winsome Jill BarberA heads-up to music fans in Ann Arbor, Cambridge/Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, DC/Virginia, and Pittsburgh: Beginning Sept 22, Canadian chanteuse Jill Barber will embark on a mini-tour of the US with her superb band, debuting her her new album, “Fool’s Gold” for US audiences. In NYC, she’ll be playing at Joe’s Pub, the same venue where I heard her play in 2012, a fantastic show. This is a write-up of that performance, in which I wrote, “Barber exuded a winsome charm, unselfconscious glamour, and improvised with light banter between songs. She sings in a distinctive tone that is the aural equivalent of B Grade maple syrup—my favorite kind—sweet and smoky.” Her repertoire, most of which she writes herself or co-writes, sung in English and French, evokes classic torch music.  If you’re looking for a great evening of romantic music, come out and hear her one of the cities below or buy a copy of “Fool’s Gold.” See tour details below.

09/22 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
09/24 Cambridge, MA – Regattabar
09/25 New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
09/27 Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
09/28 Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java
09/30 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe Jill Barber, playing left-handed guitar

09/22 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
09/24 Cambridge, MA – Regattabar
09/25 New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
09/27 Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
09/28 Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java
09/30 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe Jill Barber, playing left-handed guitar

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September 8th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

A Most Enjoyable Rock n’ Roll Video w/the Arkells

The Arkells in ActionThe Arkells are a great power pop 5-piece band from Hamilton, Ontario that I’ve heard live and enjoy very much. I last wrote about them in 2013 with these pics from that show, a shot of the band in action, and me with lead singer Max Kerman.PT w/Max Kerman

Today, I found a video they’ve recently done that casts the five bandmates with their fathers. It’s funny and kind of sweet. I hope you enjoy it as I have.
http://youtu.be/6OduBTKZ4OA

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September 8th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Music, Bands & Radio; Urban Life & New York City

Elephant Stone, Mercury Lounge, Sept 9, 7:30 PM

The Three Poisons, Elephant StoneI’m eager to hear the great sitar-inflected psychedelic band from Montreal, Elephant Stone Tuesday nite at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. They’ll be playing songs from their new album “The Three Poisons.” I’ve heard them play before and really enjoyed their blend of psychedelic sounds and bright pop harmonies. Come hear them if you think you’d like rock music that sounds like the Byrds crossed with an Indian influence. For his part, frontman Rishi Dhir (shown here on sitar) has playfully dubbed their sound ‘Hindi rock.’ Below are the details on their tour of the US Northeast.
Rishi Dhir, Elephant Stone, Bell House Brooklyn, April 2013
MON 09/08 Burlington, VT | The Monkey House
TUE 09/09 NYC, NY | Mercury Lounge
WED 09/10 Washington, DC | Black Cat
THU 09/11 Brooklyn, NY | Rock Shop
FRI 09/12 Philadelphia, PA | Milk Boy
SAT 09/13 Asbury Park, NJ |The Saint

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September 8th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

Making Toronto a World Class Music City

As I’d documented as recently as this past June, when I posted here about my visit to Toronto for the annual NXNE festival, the city has a fabulous music scene, with many great local bands and dozens of superb venues. I’m excited to see that now a coalition of artists, promoters, and civic officials have banded together to promote the cultivation of music as an economic driver in the city. View the video here or above: http://ow.ly/Ba3kh

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