Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Funbag:: Gentleman Reg, Carbon Dating Service, The SamRyan Band

The last few weeks have flown by for some reason. I guess with work kicking my ass, it seems like every time I blink, a few more days have passed. Basically, I haven’t had time to talk about all the records I wanted to (let alone focus on some other more important things), especially not to the depth that we prefer here on herohill.

So, to right some wrongs, here are some records that I really should have been on herohill already:

Gentleman Reg – Jet Black || web site

Reg’s back story is a long and interesting one (and one that's been typed out far too many times to repeat here), and his first big release – Jet Black – lives up to all expectations. The songs build off of scattered beats, crunching, college rock guitars and his unique voice, but he also takes a few big chances on his first release to escape the borders of Canada.

We're In A Thunderstorm uses some harmonics but is dominated by a dark, pulsing club beat and he pays tribute to one of his favorite bands (Valentines) with the powerful piano ballad Rewind. Basically, Reg has taken years to get to this point and be comfortable with who he is musically and as a human being and Jet Black oozes that security and confidence. He trimmed the song length for most of the tracks to about 3-minutes, received support from some of his friends (Liz Powell - who was in Valentines and Katie Sketch) and built on the experience that only comes with time.

The listeners definitely benefit from all he’s been through, and with the support of A & C, Reg might finally start getting some of the attention so often showered on the folks he runs with.

Carbon Dating Service – Reliquiae || myspace

Saskatchewan’s Carbon Dating Service is another one of those sprawling 8-piece outfits, but instead of assaulting your ears with soaring epics and builds, they prefer more intimate, warm tracks layered with the subtleties courtesy of the unique the sounds of the trombones, flugelhorn, harp, viola, synthesizers, thumb piano, and banjo.

The new record – Reliquiae –finds the band trying to blend the perfect sonic cocktail from classical, jazz, lo-fi rock and any other sound that catches their ears, but it’s the deft touch CDS uses to gently sway the melodies that draw you in. Unlike so many huge bands, they don't rely on bigger is better and prefer to control the pace off the record so when they add intensity and impact (like the chaos on Mountain Crime) it’s for point, not pleasure.

The Sam Ryan Band || myspace

With a name like The SamRyan Band, you cna't help but visualize a confident front man, leading a train of talented musicians through soulful R&B and heavy, heavy blues guitar riff. Instead the name is much more literal. The SamRyan Band is a folk duo from Halifax, consisting of Sam Lee and Ryan Laite.

The duo is still in it's nascent stages, but the harmonic Jose Gonzales influenced folk guitar (White Ceiling) is intriguing and vocals mesh together well. Throw in the fact these two tracks featured Hey Rosetta!'s Romesh Thavanathan (cello) and Josh Ward (mandolin/vox) and you have to assume the band will start popping up on show lineups really soon.

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Posted at 2:15 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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