Watch Illitry perform “Kingdom Perverted” in an old textile mill in downtown Hamilton - http://www.southernsouls.ca/illitry
Review by Andrew Patterson
Truth is, you can do almost anything you want over a really good bass line. And if you get the mixture right, just right, really straightforward pop songs can reach a state of wonderfully refined fulfilment. They allow you to have fun; what’s more, they feed you. You feel seriously good listening to them, full up.
The first signs of recorded life from Toronto’s Gentlemen Of Leisure grant you this sweet freedom. The duo, featuring Drew Smith (the Bicycles) and Matt McLaren (Steamboat), make highly accessible, infectious neo-soul with no punches pulled. And while the idea of R&B appropriation in late 2013 might not seem so exciting, the duo prove to be impeccable songwriters and players as they move deftly through an entire musical history: late-sixties Jackson 5 jangle, seventies disco and quiet storm slow burners, mid-nineties R&B influence and even early-aughts top 40 touchstones. Bolstered by stellar mixes from the saintly Sandro Perri and featuring guest spots from Toronto’s own power-diva, Maylee Todd, Gentlemen Of Leisure is a resounding success.
All of the six tracks feel unique, as though each one were it’s own mini genre exercise, and flow wonderfully into the next like a well-curated mixtape. Lyrically, the songs are perfectly reuctionist: strictly sexy or sad (or some combination thereof). Their resonance depends entirely on how susceptible you are to their well-cast spell. Don’t bother resisting, listening is much more freeing.
Watch Union Duke perform 2 new tunes at Morba in Toronto
Review by Andrew Patterson
When exposed to the repetitiveness of modern Top 40 songs, with hooks that loop ad nauseum throughout their entirety, I find myself wondering in maladjusted horror, ‘Why? Why has it come to this?’
There seems to be an accepted answer to this question, which is that, due to the warp speed at which our culture moves, all music is trashed almost instantly. No one has an attention span anymore and they don’t even want to hear a pop song with four distinct sections, let alone a whole album, they just want to hear the “sweet part” of a song over and over and over.
I, too, suffer from a short attention span. Though, I find myself seeking a different remedy. Rather than one really good idea per song, I’m inclined towards one really good album with a thousand little ideas. It’s my preferred format for music: one sonic palette, many tiny songs. I’m thinking of albums like Wire’s Pink Flag, Deerhoof’s Runners Four, the Minutemen’s Double Nickels On The Dime, Madvillain’s Madvillainy. It is in this good company that I now consider Freelove Fenner’s Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner.
On their debut long-player, the Montreal three-piece offer up an embarrassment of pop riches. Each song jumps confidently from thought to thought, never resting on or returning to an idea unless it’s a total hit. What’s more, at any given moment, each instrument is carving it’s own path, resulting in plenty of subtle, multi-faceted melodies (all captured in glorious analog, natch).
All this may give the impression of a schizophrenic product, but Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner is quite the opposite. All of it’s fat has been trimmed and there are no loose ends. The relatively short pieces function much the way Willy Wonka’s three-course-meal chewing gum works: deceptively compact and wholly satisfying.
Check out this promo clip for Doug Paisley’s new record “Strong Feelings” that I shot for him last winter in Ottawa featuring Garth Hudson (The Band)
Watch Dinosaur Bones perform “Pacifist In Camouflage” at Dream House Studios just after it almost burns to the ground.
Watch The Maladies of Adam Stokes perform “Kingdom Come” at Beyond The Beat in Toronto.
Foy Vance shows off his mad pool skills and performs “You And I” upstairs at The Rivoli.
Watch Morgan Doctor perform “Live Again” with the help of Laura Barrett on vocals and kalimba!