Katie’s NXNE Picks – Thursday June 18th

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If you didn’t catch my picks for NXNE for Wed June 17th, I posted them yesterday.

☯ THURSDAY JUNE 18th ☯

6pm – Moss Lime (Montreal) – minimalist, postpunk

Love this three-piece so very much. Their short EP July First contains a cover of what I previously believed to be the most obnoxious sports anthem, morphed into something I really enjoy. Somehow, I’ve missed every other chance to see them over the last few months. They release music under Fixture Records, one of my favourite labels in Canada, so big ups.

They’re playing at The Garrison, and if you show up at 12pm for the NXNE Print & Comics Fair, there’s also a FREE PIZZA PARTY at 3pm, so just make a day of it, jeez.

Later on at the Garrison, come back for Jacco Gardner (11pm) + US GIRLS (Toronto,12am). Meg Remy’s new single, released under 4AD, is a pressure cooker of emotion, positioning herself as a grieving war widow crying out against the sociopolitical impacts of war. Also, dat hair.


7pm – Jessica Pratt (LA) – lovesick, folk

If you missed Jessica Pratt’s show on Wednesday, check her out at Berkeley Church on the Pitchfork stage. Her set is a bit of an outlier on the bill, so you should really try to catch her on Wednesday.


7pm – The WAYO (Toronto) – slow key soul / 8pm – Glory Glory (Halifax) – pop / 9pm – Walrus (Halifax) – psych pop

Go to Handlebar for Halifax Pop Explosion, stay for that really squishy couch in the front.


9pm – Sexy Merlin (Toronto) – experimental, grooves / 10pm – ZONES (Toronto) – dreamsurf / 11pm – Man Made Hill (Toronto) – experimental, disco / 12am – Tenderness (Toronto) – scattered, electrionic

Sexy Merlin ushers in psychotropic beats to Smiling Buddha to start off a very rewarding evening. ZONES is the delicious looped guitar-and-synth project of Derek McKeon, and it’s low-key and lovely. Constant Touching by Man Made Hill will get stuck in your head, no problem. Tenderness is blissfully weird, piecing together sound collages and eyebrow-quirking samples into innards-stirring rhythms.


12am – Grounders (Toronto) – indie pop

Unabashed pop fourpiece, get pierced by their hooks. Come see them at Sneeky Dees.


1am – Lucius (Brooklyn) / 2am – TEEN (Brooklyn) – indie pop

TEEN is comprised of four extremely talented musicians (who happen to be female) with excellent drumming, dance moves and vocals. Kind of early St. Vincent vibes. Catch them at Adelaide Hall after Lucius plays at 1am.


10pm – Nancy Pants (Montreal) – garage pop / 2am – Noni Wo (Montreal) –  avante, electronic, fusion

Nancy Pants makes really pleasure-driven, optimistic lo-fi pop music made for smiling and swinging your arms around. They’re playing Silver Dollar with Noni Wo. Noni Wo‘s U S B E P is very good. A mixture of jazzy guitar-driven jams and synth-driven melodies.


Pretty excited about next Thursday’s NXNE offerings. If you’re looking for something to occupy you this week, I’m running a show tonight at Ratio with Insect ArkSarah Davachi, Beard Closet and CHRISTOPHER WILLES’ MATERIAL NATURE. Doors are 8pm and it’ll be an early show, so feel free to swing by! (Facebook RSVP)

A playlist for my little sister

I’m hanging out with my little sister in our parents’ basement with our golden retriever while a fire smolders in the woodstove. A few minutes ago, she said, “Hey, show me some new music you’ve been into lately.”

So here we go.

I really like William Alexander from Long Beach, both in his solo projects and as The Meanest Boys. Hazy, faded lyrics with a gentle semi-falsetto, looped and shuffled samples, and blissed out melodies. Both of Alexander’s musical projects are my go-to for when I want to feel inspired, jittery, and calm at the same time.

 

Tonkapuma is Daniel Lee of Lee Paradise, Phedre, Hooded Fang, Daps Records, ect. This particular project allows him to flirt with bass-heavy, rhythmic surf rock. I love the slow start in Hey Lady that gradually progresses to a hair-tossing, lip-smacking, hi-hat crushing conundrum.

On that note, I also love Lee’s work as Lee Paradise. Think Tonkapuma with an eerie, silly-sinister funhouse warp in the grooves. Last weekend, I threw a distro pop-up shop at Ratio for Wyrd Distro with Marie & Aaron and one of my purchases was Lee Paradise’s Water Palace Kingdomwhich came out earlier this year in April on Pleasence. If you haven’t bought anything from Wyrd Distro yet, I highly suggest it! After browsing dozens of cassettes and records, you’ll leave with an emptier wallet and/or an updated wantlist.

I believe that Breaker made Wavelength’s Adam Bradley’s 100 Essential Canadian Songs of 2014, and I’m not surprised why.  It’s got a sick, unforgiving bassline and lyrics that seem to be squeezed out of Dan Lee’s gut. As choice as it is, it’s still not my favourite track on the album. Diner Talk is a playful call-and-response sung alone. The spiky octave jumps in the bassline really accent the sharp snare hits with a crisp sonic bookmarking.

Toronto’s Absolutely Free are such a good band. They’ve been picking up critical acclaim like fresh white socks attracting dirt in a student house. Their new ST is probably one of the best albums of 2014.

(Side note, I couldn’t be bothered to compile a Best of 2014 post; I am too busy not washing my hair and eating everything that can be brought to the couch with minimal effort).

Montreal’s Moss Lime are minimalistic and sharp. They just released their debut cassette EP on Fixture Records and I will confidently bet you a hundred dollars it will sell out. This hundred dollar bill will also be attached to a fishing line that is sewn into my jeans, so it’s a win-win scenario for me. I snagged my copy of the EP from the Wyrd pop-up!

Favourite tracks are Ice Cream Sandwiches, which is in the same key signature as their cover of Calabria 2014, but carries a pure surf rock vibe.

 

My friend Matt just texted me this afternoon that a vinyl copy of Sean Nicholas Savage’s latest album, Bermuda Waterfall, is currently on sale for $5 at Rotate This. Thanks Matt, but you know I’ve already got a copy of this! It came out in May on Arbutus and it’s dreamy, sexy, and dozy. The first time I played it, I was folding laundry in my boyfriend’s room while he was out running a show, and his roommate was reading in bed with the door open. I looked in as I was finishing up and he was fast asleep by the time I flipped to the B side. That’s how good this record is. It’s a little silly and embarrassing but I think of Naturally is my private love song that I sing whenever I’m by myself. I love how detuned it sounds (without actually being detuned) because of the minuscule pitch bends in the synth chords.

The Rat‘s lyrics are so good. Savage is a pop genius. I wish I had a physical copy of Arbutus Records’s Taste of Savage which is Savage covers done by other artists on their roster. You can still listen to it online, but I don’t think they ever pressed any copies.

Since we’re talking about videos now, here’s the Chad VanGaalen-animated video for Timber Timbre’s Beat The Drum Slowly off their molasses-dark album Hot Dreams.

I was lucky enough to be taken to see Timber Timbre on their third night at Lee Palace’s a few weeks ago, and it was a real treat. Neon signs bent into cryptic eyes, narrow palms, and blank crosses, dark smoke drifting from the left corner of the stage, and the absence of overhead lighting. Every song was milked for the most emphatic emotion and the only thing that spoiled it was the number of moderately disruptive “new” fans, some of which didn’t even face the stage during the incredibly long set (absurd!)

I had two free tickets to see Montreal’s TOPS at Tattoo last week but I didn’t go because I was too tired and got caught up making decorations for the Wyrd pop-up. She’s So Bad is one of my favourite songs from their 2012 album, Tender Opposites, released on Arbutus. I haven’t listened to all of the tracks on their new album Picture You Staring yet, but I would be awfully glad if someone picked me up a copy (hint hint) as I really like Way To Be Loved.

Last comes one of my absolute favourites, Toronto’s Omhouse (aka Steven Foster, one of the nicest & most enthusiastic people to have in your audience or playing a set right before yours) released a single in May called Have I Fooled You which does a great job sinking its teeth into your brain. I haven’t been able to stop singing the chorus (even if I don’t have the uncanny ability to loop my natural voice).

This turned into a much longer post than I intended, but my sister seemed to like these songs as I was writing about them, so my work here is done! Goodnight!

Favourite tracks from Plastic Factory Records freshly-released compilation

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Montreal label Plastic Factory just released their first compilation album today and it’s awesome.

My favourite tracks upon first listen are Nightmare by Andy Boay, Those Who Wait by Sheer Agony, OK OK OK by Hand Cream and Shopping by Special Noise.

Nightmare – Andy Boay (New York) Bandcamp |  Facebook | Twitter

I knew the compilation would be a winner the instant this track came on. It reminds me a lot of DADA by PEELERS SELLERS, the project of Belgian composer and arranger Olivier Désir. I love that wheezing echo flitting between left and right speakers combined with that triple-layered harmony separated by thirds and sixths.

 

 

Those Who Wait – Sheer Agony (Montreal) Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Montreal guitar-pop trio Sheer Agony have been recording since 2010 and caught my eye in 2012 with She’s An Artist off their first label release, a ST 7″ on Fixture Records. “Her mother, her father, they help her out but they probably shouldn’t bother.

 

Their selection for the compilation reveals how much their sound has evolved – a lot more depth/texture and dipping into psychedelic territory. The vocals in Those Who Wait almost remind me of A.C. Newman’s.

 

OK OK OK – Hand Cream (Montreal) Bandcamp | Facebook

This interview by Jesse Locke for Noisey should give you a primer on what this Montreal-based, Halifax-bred band is all about. Drummer Christian Simmons also plays with Each Other and Sheer Agony, which accounts for some overlap in musicality. All of the best music is coming out of Montreal & Halifax right now, thanks to how closely these two communities are entwined.

 

Shopping –  Special Noise (Montreal) Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

From the beginning of this track, which starts with a gross growl, and the lite shrieks of “Ready!” The swishy drums (is that a triangle?!), resolved chords, and fiercely sung vocals make this a truly endearing track.

 

You can buy the 2-LP vinyl for only $25 bucks here, which is a total steal for how amazing this comp is. If you’re living in the digital age, you can stream and/or purchase the album on Bandcamp.