Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mailbag:: Laura Borealis, The Thermals, Vince Martinez

The Thermals - Now We Can See
We normally don’t write about American bands, especially ones that get regular love on the bigger blogs, but the new record from Portland’s punk rockers The Thermals is pretty damn good. More importantly, I’m not sure if the band has started to make waves here in Nova Scotia, so it’s a great chance to let our local readers in on that goodness.

Now We Can See is unashamed 90’s influenced pop punk and is going to draw tons of comparison to Green Day, and honestly, I’m more than okay with saying it. Sure it’s a huge over simplification of the sound and an easy way to talk about the more mature direction Hutch and Kathy are moving, but there’s not a bad song on the record and with crunching tracks like Now We Can See, When I Died and I Called Out Your Name, this record could be perfect for a lot of people’s summers.

So, here are a few MP3s, legal and everything.



Laura Borealis – I Love You || Buy from Zunior

Moving from a band that seems to be saddled with the "concept record" descriptor, to a long time vet of the Canadian scene that actually wrote one. Montreal’s Laura Borealis is one of those names that have floated around the scene for the last twenty years. You hear snippets – “She recorded with Steve Albini!”, “She directed the video for French Inhale and 10 lbs!” – but most are probably pretty unfamiliar with her output.

On her last record – Laura - her warm voice emoted a sultry cool over simple guitar and flowed gently like waves pushing their way across the sand, but I Love You is a new beast. The ten-song LP is a series of duets with 9 different male vocalists, including Halifax legend Al Tuck and Jon McKiel, and the lo-fi tracks set out to tackle the highs and lows of love, without resorting to tempo shifts and crescendos to make their point.

With delicate smatterings of subtle instrumentation – violin, flute, programmed keep time beats, piano, Rhodes – the sounds never grow beyond a whisper. These are songs, ones without hooks or crescendos. These are stories, ones without comedy or obvious conclusions. These are honest, and like life itself, they seem to roll over time and time again without broaching the gripping highs or crushing lows that we all seem to obsess over.



Vince Martinez - Vince Mtz. & The Great Blue Yonder

One of my best friends in the entire world is currently driving across the US with his past, present and future shoved into every nook and cranny of his car. He’s leaving Seattle, heading back East to a place we both thought was compartmentalized as a period of time with great friends and great memories, not a place that might be his home again. I guess that’s why the songs from Seattle resident Vince Martinez hit home these days.

On his new record – Vince Martinez & The Great Blue Yonder – are more suited to the dusty trails in Nevada or New Mexico than they are the coffee house streets and rain of Seattle, but the themes Vince delivers on are pretty universal. Over straight ahead acoustic, violin and harmonica Vince (with support from Carla Brauer) sings of alienation, depression and the never ending desire to roam while constantly being called back home. The slight drawl in his voice adds some personality to the tracks and the 9-songs are easy to embrace.

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Posted at 7:47 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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