Monday, December 1, 2008

Reviews:: (weewerk) is 6!

(weewerk) website

Over the last few years, we've talked nonstop about the great releases coming out on (weewerk). After covering artists like The Burning Hell, Great Lake Swimmers, Two Minute Miracles, The FemBots, The UnSettlers, The United Steel Workers of Montreal and Don Brownrigg, you might assume we've covered all of the acts you need to know in the (weework) family. In all honesty, I did, and that's why I waited so long to review this terrific collection of songs.

The new birthday sampler - (weewerk) is 6! - is not only filled with unreleased tracks from the big name artists on the label, but it's also chock o block full of talent we've yet to hear like Ox, Julie Fader and H-Burns. So instead of going on and on (to the break of dawn), I'm going to kind of do a track by track talking points style summation.

Great Lake Swimmers - Song for the Angels. This was originally put out on a nice slab of vinyl. Tony Dekker's voice and style is so recognizable that you feel like it's a track you've heard 100s of times halfway through the first listen, but the gentle acoustic mixes with the subtle distortion and noise in the back to create another gem from the bound. His voice pierces through the muted sounds like a siren and warms the spare effort nicely.

Two-Minute Miracles - The First Thing I Hear Upon Waking. Andy is the king. The childlike whimsy of the loose strung acoustic chords make it hard not to love this song. "God made the octopus, with arms enough for both of us."

The United Steel Workers of Montreal - For Love and Your Mothers Sake. I love the way they give bluegrass an urban like sprawl and grit, and honestly, Felicity's vocals are always welcome.

Don Brownrigg - These AM Times. The moody tones that Don delivers on this track are a perfect example as to why he seems to be a weekly topic on the hill. I've actually never seen him live, but with the cancellation of the Olympic Symphonium CD release show, I'm hoping the new date gives me the chance. These AM Times comes from his (weekwerk) release, Wander Songs (that Shane reviewed here).

The Burning Hell - I Love the Things That People Make. I love the things Mathius Kom makes. Enough said.

Jenny Omnichord - Buildings. Really, it's hard to describe Ms. Omnichord. She was able to rock out a set here @ Gus' Pub when she was about 16 months pregnant and still hit the crowd with simple, fun beats and catchy vocals. Buildings is an album track, but chances are you've probably never heard it or her. Take a listen, please.

The Travelling Band - Sweet City. This band is new to me, and based in Manchester, England. Right away, I want to hear more from the band. Sweet City starts as a slow burning acoustic track, but they add the perfect amount of electric jangle to thicken it up. The beautiful harmonies don't hurt the melancholy that runs through the sad break up track and when the drums kick in and spike the pace... well, you are left with a track that you can't stop listening too. I started singing along before I even knew the words.

Proof of Ghosts - Wandering Stars. This Toronto band seems to have been unearthed from a time capsule. That is meant in an extremely good way.

The FemBots - In the Red. This song debuted on a really cool blog.

Audiotransparent - You are a Movie (ft. Tony Dekker). This band was new to me, as I'm not really up to speed on my Netherland alt-country, post rock style rock acts. That being said, I wish I was. This track hits like a beautiful ton of bricks.

Great Lake Swimmers - Hands in the Dirty Ground. See above description of Great Lake Swimmers, but add even more energy.

Julie Fader - 723 (ft. Tony Dekker). Julie was one of the acts I was super upset to miss at HPX. She played in the tiny confines of the Music Room which is a perfect setting for her dark, wintery tunes. Her voice is crystalline, like ice forming on the corners of your windows, and just as intricate and appealing as the resulting patterns. Amazingly, she gets vocal help from Dekker, but is still able to stand out in front.

H-Burns - Horses With No Medals. Is there anything better than a song that is so great it makes you want to pick up your guitar and learn the chords immediately? I'm not sure if this France based band makes it over to Canada often, but I hope they do.

Ox - Burn Out. A down and out roots anthem. Depressing enough to drive you drink, but delicate enough to make you wish you could express your thoughts like this Sudbury artist.

Canteen Knockout - We Work. Country fused track from the bands (weewerk) debut, Navajo Steel. Not only is that name an awesome moniker for an adult film star, the harmonica they toss in halfway through this track fits like a glove.

The UnSettlers - No No No Yes. We've gushed about this track and this band enough already I think.

The Barmitzvah Brothers - Trailblazer. I used to have a shirt that said, "I Got Schlitzed at Susie's Batmitzvah." It was awesome, but still falls short of this band.

Wow... 23 tracks. This post is getting long.

Harmonica - Friday Night. Shane once got pulled into the drug room at a Norweigan airport thanks to all the second hand smoke his Otto-like jacket sucked in at a Gorillaz show in Toronto before he went n a business trip. Up until hearing this track, that was the only Norweigan talking point I had. So kudos Harmonica, oh, and kudos on the catchy acoustic riff and sensational female vocals you wrote as well.

Two-Minute Miracles - Cojoined. This actually might be my favorite track on the sampler.

Susie Asado - This is My Address. I know nothing about this Berlin outfit, but the spare, female led track seems very German to me. I'm not 100% sure what that even means, but I'm running out of creative things to say. The compilation has far too many ups and no downs so the constant praise gets repetitive.

The United Steel Workers of Montreal - Imaginary Bars (ft. Tony Dekker). This is a real treat. The Steel Workers completely transform the Great Lake Swimmers track into something completely different, but equally beautiful. A couple of well placed oohs from Tony are all that accompany the bluegrass picking, but for some reason I can't get enough of this little ditty. This sampler would be worth your cash for this song alone.

Vincent - The Wind. Would you expect an Irish sounding bar room number to come from a Quebec based artist? Well, now you do. Side note, I was sort of hoping this was a cover of my favorite Cat Stevens track, but that's just me.

Great Lake Swimmers - Gonna Make it Through This Year. The band gave this track to a Toys for Tots record. Seems right to talk about that as people trample themselves to get a good deal at Walmart and forget what the holidays are actually about (watching Muppets Christmas Carol or Christmas Vacation with a couple of beverages - I keed I keed).

Posted at 8:30 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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