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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quick Hitters:: La Strada

If you ever read music blogs other than this one, and unless you're married to one of us, or gave birth to one of us, I can't imagine why you wouldn't, you're likely aware that Brooklyn, NY, is kind of the mecca of indie music culture in the US of A. Not surprisingly, Halifax doesn't often see most of the buzz bands that come out of BK, as the Maritimes isn't exactly at the top of the must-play list for bands trying to establish themselves (although our casino does seem to be a must-play for has-been trying not to disappear completely, so hey, we've got that going for us). However, you can see one such band here this weekend if you are seeing Hey Rosetta! on either Friday or Saturday night at The Paragon: Brooklyn's La Strada is opening for them.

At first blush, the pairing of the St. John's superheroes with a band from Brooklyn seems like an odd one, but if you listen to both bands, it's a rather apt pairing. Both bands create sweeping, anthemic songs around the literary songwriting of their headman (James Craft in La Strada's case, Tim Baker for Hey Rosetta!), but whereas HR are naturally inclined to be inspired by the traditional sounds of their home province, which admittedly they shape and mold into a thoroughly modern folk-rock type sound, La Strada bring to mind island sounds of a different, more European bent. Like Corsica perhaps (Yeah, I just name-checked Corsica. Big deal, that's how we operate around here). Given Craft's geographically diverse past, he was born in France, and has also lived in Northern California and Romania, this assertion might actually make a bit of sense.

I'd love to say I was blown away by my first listening of La Strada's latest EP, but their songs have a more subtle charm that draw you in after a few listens. I can happily say that after spending a bit of time with the record, the songs have revealed themselves to be really quite catchy. The wistful Orphan mixes soaring strings with accordion and somber drums to create a Dickensian soundtrack with which to greet your morning. That morning would be enhanced even further by The Sun Song, with it's marching band drums and triumphant vocals, it's an unlikely peptalk of a song. While I'm not exactly sure you could really describe Flying as up-tempo, it uses some rather lovely, albeit word-free, vocal harmonies, and almost Asian-sounding strings, to send the listener on a rather enjoyable trip. Starling is an accordion-led sing-along that feels as though it should be accompanied by the synchronized thud of beer-mugs being banged on the table at your next indie-Oktoberfest gathering.

So, if you're in Halifax this weekend, make your way to the Paragon for this show (I believe Saturday is sold out, so Friday might be the move), because I think it's going to be a great one. I should also mention that a portion of that greatness will be coming from hill favorite Jon McKiel, who is also on the bill, and no less important than the other two acts - I'm just not smart enough to have worked him into the post before now. If you aren't in Halifax, check out La Strada's EP, and give it a few listens, it's worth it I think.

MP3:: La Strada - Starling
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/lastradanyc

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Posted at 1:14 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Contest:: Win 2tix to Hey Rosetta! and Jon Mckiel

That's right folks. We're still in the giving mood over here at herohill, so we are giving you the chance to spend this Friday night rocking out with the Newfoundland Polaris shortlisters, Hey Rosetta! and Halifax's own Jon Mckiel. Chances are by now you know what Hey Rosetta! brings to the table - if you are new to the game, you can read Naedoo's gushing review here - but honestly, the epic orchestral pop translates well on stage, and the crowd tends to freak the fack out around these parts.

Jon Mckiel on the other hand is someone you might not be as familiar with. His last record was an indie rock gem, but he's kind of reinvented himself for the better. Jon's exploring a more sludge filled existence, but instead of lo-fi, off kilter vocals, Mckiel lets harmonies and energy power through the sludge. His new record is slated for early next year, and it's going to be unreal. So, take this chance to get on the bandwagon while there's still room.

Throw in the fact Brooklyn's La Strada are making the trip up and we have a must see show in my humble opinion. The show is this Friday @ The Paragon. To enter, just email herohill (herohill AT gmail DOT COM) or leave your contact info in the comments section.

Hey Rosetta! - Yes! Yes! Yes!

Jon Mckiel - Fistfight (courtesy of Southern Souls)

JON MCKIEL - Fist Fight from Mitch Fillion on Vimeo.

MP3:: Hey Rosetta! - I've Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/heyrosetta

MP3:: Jon Mckiel - Fistfight (Live @ Gus')
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/jonmckiel

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Posted at 7:54 AM by ack :: 3 comments

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