Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live:: The Herohill Showcase @ HPX 09

York Redoubt

Last night, the herohill showcase went down at The Seahorse tavern here in Halifax, and of course we were on the scene. Like any night during the Halifax Pop Explosion, there is always competition for crowds, as at any time there are multiple excellent options, many within walking distance of each other. However, in my humble, the folks who stuck around for the entire evening were treated to a pretty excellent show. York Redoubt, The Got To Get Got, Valleys, and Bruce Peninsula all put in great sets.

Of course I had planned to have more photos, videos & the like, to put up with this post, but of course midway through York Redoubts' set, my iPhone decided to crash, and I couldn't figure out how to get it rebooted. Well that's awesome, so we have one good photo, and a video below from YR that I took, and a Valleys one I found today. For our recap of the rest, you'll just have to make do with my bulleted memories. Enjoy!

- The Seahorse was fairly empty upon arrival, but our fears of having our name attached to an empty showcase were quickly allayed as the room started filling during York Redoubt's set (like this should bother us anyway, as we've slaved for years on this site, putting up posts on bands & songs we love that often get a reception that is the cyber-equivalent to an empty bar).

- We knew YR were some young fellas, but seeing them live made us realize they might not be able to drink legally. This makes one feel a tad old.

- Still not sure this actually happened, but it seems someone's hair lit on fire next to us, it might have been TGTGG's Eleanor King?

- YR's set was very solid - they might be young, but they can all play, and their noise-leanings certainly didn't feel forced or over the top.

- The crowd was small, yet appreciative, during YR's set, but it had built up as they played and once they played their finale (a frenzied jam-out that ended with some guitar string ripping), the crowd was pretty hyped.

- Bryan said this earlier today, but TGTGG just killed it. It was our first time seeing them live, but it won't be the last, that's for sure.

- Fun fact: York Redoubt and TGTGG share guitarist Brad Lahead.

- Another fun fact, Bruce Peninsula drummer Leon Taheny came onstage to do a song with TGTGG, and there was indeed mention of donairs, as anyone who'd read our random question preview post with Mark Mullane would have expected.

- There's a ton of musical experience in TGTGG, and that is exemplified by de-facto band leaders King and Mullane - they are just fun to watch.

- Huge turnout and really warm welcome for TGTGG - they played a new song that left the band and crowd pretty giddy about how good it sounded.

- Unfortunately, Valleys had some tech issues with the guitarists elaborate pedal board, so there was a delay that allowed some of the crowd to slip away.

- That was their loss though, as despite the bands rather morose visages, they put on a pretty hypnotizing set.

- Guitars were the talk of their set, as frontwoman Tillie Perks played a huge one, whilst the aforementioned lead played his with both a drumstick and something that was either a stappler or a laser pointer while sitting cross legged in a chair.

- Not sure how well Valleys are known in these parts just yet, but I think the won the crowd over for sure.

- I took a quick break from the Seahorse in hopes of catching a few minutes of D-Sisive up at the Coconut Grove. Unfortunately when I got there he had yet to go on, and was a DJ playing to an empty bar - there couldn't have been more than like 10 people in there in total. Man, I hope it filled up later, otherwise Halifax owes D-Sisive an apology cause that's a little lame.

- As expected, Bruce Peninsula were pretty great live. I'd never seen them live, but their mix of gospel-ish harmonies and indie sounds was a whole let of fun.

- I know they're renowned for their size, but they were down to an 8 person touring crew that was still pretty impressive (4 ladies on the vocals, with dudes manning the drums, bass, and guitars).

- Not sure if she's a regular member, but Tamara Lindeman of Entire Cities/The Weather Station played with BP.

- I'm not sure what her name is, but the young lady manning the mic to the left-most side of the stage was clearly feeling the vibes during BP's set. If you were that, you know what I mean - she caught the spirit, and so kudos to her for having such a good time on stage.

Kudos to all the acts in fact, we enjoyed the show a great deal, hopefully everyone else did too. We'll see you out and about over the next few days (well, we'll see you, but you won't see us, as apparently no one knows what we look like....muahahahaha, mysterious, just how we like it)

Video:: York Redoubt @ HPX 09

Video:: Valleys @ HPX 09

Labels: Bruce Peninsula, , , , , ,

Posted at 12:26 PM by naedoo :: 5 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Friday, October 9, 2009

Five Funky Stories:: Matilda from VALLEYS

Ah random question generator, you do make life fun. Our HPX showcase is getting close, and from a personal point of view, I'm pleased as punch to get Montreal's VALLEYS on our bill.

I have been championing these guys for a minute now, so the chance for me to see what happens when their fragile songs take on more of a shoegazing vibe when they hit the stage is thanks enough for this blog - note, if you want to send us cash, booze or cookies, well we won't say no.

Anyway. Tillie went head to head with the random question generator and we learned that sometimes pants aren't tight enough and Lou Bega has more game then we would have expected. All in all, either is good enough for a Friday.

Name: Tillie Perks

Band: Valleys


1. Would it be worth all the royalties to have to have your name attached to the 'Mambo Number 5?'

It depends, how much are we talking about?

2. Where was your first live performance?

Afro/World beat night club called Balattou in Montreal!

3. What is the worst experience you've had on the road since you started touring?

Sleeping with Lou Bega and still not getting my name in "Mambo Number 5".

4. Super tight pants on dudes: Yes! or Noooooooooooooooo!

YES! My friend Josh started exclusively wearing leggings because his tight pants weren't tight enough. It was a good move.

5. What excites you about most about making music?

The prospect of justifying an irresponsible lifestyle indefinitely.

MP3:: VALLEYS - Silent Woods

Labels: Five Funky Stories, , , ,

Posted at 11:07 AM by ack :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reviews:: Valleys Sometimes Water Kills People

Lately I’ve found myself bored by the intimate, reserved stylings of today’s folk scene and have been gravitating towards bigger bold hooks and ear shattering noise. I’m not sure what it is – the heat, the sluggishness of a lot of those records – but they have started to blend and pace has become more important to my music than to a marathon runner. So the fact the new long player from Montreal’s Valleys (formerly They Were Valleys) showed up almost scared me.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew the record would be stellar (hell, after hearing one song, we signed them up to play our HPX showcase); I just wasn’t sure if the fragile, crystalline textures and hushed vocals would transfer as perfectly from cold winter nights to warm, sun filled afternoons. I was won over by the fragile Beach House vocals of The Heavy Dreamer, and loved the energy and tension they added to the track with crashing drums and feedback, but assumed their sound would be best served for nights huddled inside for warmth.

But when you digest a full record of material you realize the emotions they channel aren't just powerful, they are diverse. The duo – Marc and Matilda – fuse noise, picked guitars and textures into a slow moving, metamorphosing sonic experience, but Sometimes Water Kills People exists in a world where aesthetic is more important than hooks and the songs packs more punch and offers more depth than you might expect from a psych-folk duo. Even when drift into more traditional folk sounds (Santiago) they fill the space with gentle hums and noises that force you to keep listening.

Sonically, it’s easy to compare them to post-rock outfits. The layers they craft and how their instruments speak to the listener - the epic 6minute CR68C is a perfect example, as they resist the temptation to pick up pace and as a result the 6+ minutes of moody guitar and textures is like a walk alone in the woods at night; on the surface, it might appear that nothing really happens, but your heart races and your emotions start to consume you – but it’s the vocal interplay between the duo that really sets them apart. Even as the opening track (Killer Legs) swirls loosely for the last 90 seconds of the song, it was the vocals they traded back and forth over the spirited guitar line that set the tone.

But the big surprise for me was the warmth that exudes from several tracks on the record. Silent Woods breaks through the chill like an intense beam of light and the album closer, The Breakers helps finish the listen on an optimistic, comforting high. It's these precious moments that help make this perfect winter record accessible and worth picking up right now. You may not have heard much about Valleys, but chances are that will change once people start hearing this fantastic record.

MP3:: Valleys - Silent Woods

LABEL:: Semprini

Labels: , , , ,

Posted at 7:35 AM by ack :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo