Monday, February 1, 2010

Reviews:: Woodhands Remorsecapade

When it comes to electronic beats, keytar licks and spasmatic drumming I'm kind of like the Philadelphia Eagles of blogging; even in when the situation deems otherwise, I tend to pass. I'm not really trying to get amped up for the clubs and freaking the funk to the early light these days, so it's no surprise that pedal steel, acoustic and the banjo tend to dominate my listening patterns more than beats.

But when it comes to Toronto's Woodhands, they might just be the proselytizers that open up my ears (and my closed mind) to different sounds. Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt have the unique ability to write a love song, one that runs you over with sadness and could uncovered on a dive bar jukebox, but hide the message in frantic shout/screamed vocals, an almost punk rock like anger and drums that never give up.

You could dance all night to the Cansecos-inspired hook and vocals of Talk, the Maylee Todd/Dan Werb duet Dissembler or Sluts (especially when the breakdown gives the track a spacey like vibe), but you can also listen to the record in almost any situation. When the duo is operating at top speed, Werb delivers his message with the energy of one of the crazy Kensington Market preachers or a hardcore front man (just listen to I should have gone with my friends) and Banwatt's intricate drums dance around your headphones nicely. It's almost impossible to disregard the bank of synths that fill up the stage when they play, but I've always felt Woodhands was a band that played electro jams, not just another electro act rehashing the overused sounds and repetitive beats. If Remorsecapade can change my mind, I'm sure it can change yours too.

Update - how about a Woodhands vs Pitchfork unreleased track? Ok! Download P'iss right here, right now.

MP3:: Woodhands - Pockets

MP3:: Woodhands - Dancer ft. Maylee Todd

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Posted at 7:21 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Paperbag Pickups:: Little Girls & Rock Central Plaza

For some reason – well, probably because we don’t automatically get their promo discs in our inbox (and our effort on keeping herohill running is only trumped by our general laziness and sense of entitlement) – I usually forget how much I like Paperbag’s roster. Luckily a promo email triggered my memory.

Bottom line? June is going to be a big month for the Toronto label.

Little Girls Music
First up, today marks the release of the Little Girls Tambourine EP. The songs – originally just the vision of front man Josh McIntyre – are a blissful mix of textures and fuzz, but Josh also tosses around surf rock guitar to build the melody.

I know right now being a lo-fi noise outfit is like shopping at American Apparel or quoting Dane Cook a few years ago, but honestly I don't care too much. Little Girls is perfect to kick start my summer (oddly, I think the same about Jim Ford) .

I have no problem admitting I'm pretty new to the band, but at the end of the day, every song I've heard is pretty fucking good. I find myself letting the tracks loop over and over again. How's that for a concise review!

MP3:: Little Girls - Tambourine

And now for something completely different. June 23rd marks the release of Rock Central Plaza’s follow up to the critically acclaimed Are We Not Horse?, …At The Moment Of Our Most Needing Or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren't Alone and this is anything but lo-fi noise.

Not only does this release qualify the band for the longest titles of the year, it also might be one of the heaviest in terms of digesting everything that is going on (and keep in mind this is coming after a concept record about robot horses). Much like Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin, Chris Eaton’s story telling feels like it was pulled from the pages of a gripping novel and the band knows how to surround the emotions with note perfect tones. Even when he retreats to the shadows (like the instrumentals - Country C and The Long Dead March), the band has the talent and confidence to grab the spotlight.

This band isn’t for those looking to grab onto pithy, repetitive synth riffs or mindless pop drivel and even a quick hitting review like this sells the depth of the listen short. Listening to …At The Moment Of Our Most Needing Or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren't Alone is an investment, but one with countless rewards. Energy (The Wrong Side Of The Right), tension (Them That Are Good And Them That Are Bad), chaos (A Mule on Fire) – the scope and ambition of the band is large, but handled with ease.

Side note – my mom and dad absolutely hate this band, which is funny as neither listen to anything recorded after 1975 but heard the edition of Fuse where the band shared the stage with Tafelmusik and apparently it was enough to sour them on the whole experience.

MP3:: Rock Central Plaza - Handsome Men

MP3:: Rock Central Plaza - My Children By Joyful

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Posted at 12:56 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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