Thursday, June 30, 2016

One For The Weekend: Goat

"Hide From The Sun" is off the Commune album from Sweden's mysterious Gothenburg-based Goat.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Bill Kirchen!

Here are a couple of Bill's memorable Folk Alliance guitar pulls with Redd Volkaert and Albert Lee.

Steve Martin curates Lawren Harris exhibit at AGO

The Idea Of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris opens at the AGO on July 1 and runs through September 18.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fanfare Ciocarlia, Lemon Bucket Orkestra @ The Opera House, Wednesday

Straight outta Zece Prăjini, Balkan brass badasses Fanfare Ciocarlia will tear up the Opera House Wednesday. 

RIP Sir Mack Rice, 1933-2016

Falcons great Mack Rice had a hand in many more classic tunes than just Mustang Sally and Respect Yourself. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Scenics, The Two Koreas, Fat As Fuck @ The Rivoli, July 7

Here's an audio-synched clip of Do The Wait off The Scenics' In The Summer collection out now on CD and LP. 

Melody Gardot @ Danforth Music Hall, tonight

Take a Soma Holiday

Enjoy the amazing video for Shake Your Molecules by Jennifer Honicker & Jean-Marc Vallod's Soma Holiday. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Belladonna Of Sadness screens at Royal Cinema tonight – Masahiko Sato's soundtrack out now!

Finders Keepers' has just reissued Masahiko Sato's wickedly witchy score for 1973's Belladonna Of Sadness. 

An unholy grail of near mythical status finally joins the Finders Keepers discography in the form of this first-ever reissue of Masahiko Sato’s elusive 1973 psychedelic jazz score to Eiichi Yamamoto's stunning Japanese witchcraft animation Belladonna Of Sadness – screening at Toronto's Royal Cinema tonight at 7 pm. Get tickets and check out the trailer right here.

An early feature-length example of a micro-genre in which Japanese anime producers collaborated with the “pink” film genre, Belladonna’s challenging occult, sexual and political subject matter was the cause of the film’s notoriety for many years, earning Yamamoto’s work a critical platform amongst some of the best counterculture animation films of the era such as La Planète Sauvage ( René Laloux/Roland T poor, France 1973), Marie Mathématique (Jean-Claude Forest, France 1967), Wizards (Ralph Bakshi, US 1977), Heavy Metal (Gerald Potterton, Canada 1980) and Time Masters (René Laloux/Moebius, France 1982).

Drawing further stylistic similarities with Shuji Terayama/Tenjo Sajiki associated poster artist Aquirax Uno and the Hara-Kiri magazine cartoon strips Pravda/Jodelle by French artist Guy Peellaert, as well as the early flamboyant Klimtesque imagery of Jean Rollin collaborators Philippe Druillet and Nicolas Devil, Belladonna Of Sadness brought a strong European flavour to its sophisticated and stylish Japanese application which accentuated the French origins of the plot loosely based on accounts taken from the 1862 book La Sorcière (The Witch) by French historian Jules Michelet.

Over the last decade Belladonna Of Sadness has risen from the ashes and now shines brighter than ever. Now on the eve of its third or fourth global DVD release, fans no longer have to wait four months for third generation VHS telecine rubs from “that guy” in the States, or stuff their ambitious wish lists into the hands of any lucky friends visiting Tokyo in the summer. Belladonna has been used as nightclub projections by clued-up VJs and been restored by discerning feminist folk singers and improv bands while influencing illustrators, fashion designers and other creative types along the way.

Original copies of the soundtrack, however, are much less likely to rear their heads on a weekly basis, with prices literally doubling each time the original stock copies swap hands amongst the same Italian dealers at central European record fairs. Italian soundtracks are expensive anyway, but this one, as I’m sure you’ll agree, has got extra credentials. Finders Keepers, in direct collaboration with Sato himself, agree that this record should finally be liberated amongst those who know the magic words.

In keeping with the decision to make the reissue “strictly Sato,” the main orchestral love theme by Asei Kobayashi and Mayumi Tachibana – which in all honesty is very much detached from Sato’s psychedelic soundtrack – was not included. Kept intact, however, are the songs sung and penned by Sato’s then wife Chinatsu Nakayama, including the track entitled TBFS (answers on a postcard?) that only appears on the master tapes and never actually made it to the theatrical cut of the film (although the theme is briefly alluded to, in different instrumentation, in a cut-scene available on the German DVD).

This reissue project also marks the beginning of what will hopefully be a continuing relationship between Finders Keepers and Masahiko Sato, exploring his recorded work in both film music, jazz and avant garde composition. Check out the tracks "Take It Easy" and "Little Flower" below.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

For a car commercial, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings will gladly do an Allman Brothers tune

If you want to see Sharon Jones and crew at Nathan Phillips Square tonight, tickets are $62.50 to $73.50!

Friday, June 24, 2016

RIP Ralph Stanley, 1927-2016

Sadly, Ralph didn't live long enough to see the Country Music Hall Of Fame induct the Stanley Brothers.

Watch Two Neil Youngs On A Tree Stump

Neil Young stopped by the Tonight Show to promote his new live album EARTH – available here –with a new song.

Biblical & Public Animal @ The Bovine, Friday

Watch Biblical's Nick Sewell hilariously debate doom metal with some dude in a Pallbearer t-shirt. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Turbonegro @ Velvet Underground, tonight

 You'll have a rare opportunity to see Norway's finest exports up close and personal at the Velvet Underground. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mayer Hawthorne turns gumshoe for noir-style Man About Town video

Neo-soul singer/producer Mayer Hawthorne opens for Hall & Oates at Molson Amphitheatre on Thursday.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ben Watt Band @ The Drake, Monday

Ben Watt is touring his Fever Dream album with the rhythm section of Fight The Big Bull and Bernard Butler. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Debbie Deb w/ Stevie B, Lil' Suzy @ Sound Academy, June 24

Here's the original 12" version Debbie Deb's club classic When I Hear Music released on Jam Packed in 1984. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Kamasi Washington @ Danforth Music Hall, Friday

Kamasi Washington's higly anticipated Toronto debut will likely be the most exciting thing you'll see at NXNE. 

Del McCoury vs. Obray Ramsey

In the battle of Rain and Snow, Obray has the edge for including the gruesome final verse. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Chills' Martin Phillipps discusses Underwater Wasteland

"Underwater Wasteland" is off The Chills' fantastic new album Silver Bullets available here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pere Ubu @ Lee's Palace, Thursday

Pere Ubu are performing work from the Architecture Of Language 1978-82 box on their current Coed Jail! tour.

Lily Frost & Her Kelvinators swing into The Cameron House, June 23

Lily Frost & Her Kelvinators plan to release a new song each month, starting with Witchdoctor available now.

Lily Frost & Her Kelvinators on tour
June 17th - The Garnet, Peterborough, ON 9:00 pm
June 23rd - The Cameron House, Toronto, ON 10:00 pm
June 25th - Castros Lounge, Toronto, ON 6:00-8:00 pm
August 5th - Heartwood Concert Hall, Owen Sound, ON 9:00 pm
August 13th - River Rock Festival, St. Mary's, ON 12:00-10:00 pm
October 5th - Orillia Jazz Fest, Orillia, ON 4:00 pm

Twitter: @Lily_Frost

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Robert Bensick's lost 70s Cleveland underground epic out June 24 on Smog Veil

Years before Berlin West, Cleveland's Robert Bensick was bringing together local luminaries for his magnum opus.  

In the Summer of 1975, Cleveland multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, and artist Robert Bensick – who had previously been the drummer of Ohio teen garage crew The Munx – brought together the best of the Cleveland underground and recorded an album at Agency Recording, a studio favored by such recording stars as Todd Rundgren.

The studio band Bensick assembled for the record included such luminaries as Tom Herman (Pere Ubu), Scott Krauss (Pere Ubu/ Cinderella Backstreet/Home & Garden), Cynthia Black (Cinderella Backstreet/Peter & The Wolves), Albert Dennis (Cinderella Backstreet/Wolves), and Michael Hronek (a collaborator of Cleveland proto-punk legend Peter Laughner). Bensick’s magnum opus sought to bring music and art together into a brand new experience. The end result – French Pictures In London - was so far ahead of its time that it remained unreleased for forty years, languishing in the vault of a noted Hollywood soundtrack composer and sound designer...until now.

French Pictures In London is a story of real people and the infamous Plaza Apartments as filtered through art, poetry, pop, krautrock, and 1970’s Cleveland. It is an album that the late Peter Laughner had a dominant effect upon (despite not participating in the sessions). The album’s sound and mood is also a precursor to the New Romantic movement of groups such as Visage and Spandau Ballet as well as the direction Roxy Music would take on albums such as Manifesto (1979). French Pictures In London similarly touches upon the darker corners of rock and pop such as those found on Scott Walker’s subversive Climate of Hunter (1984), Oxbow’s brutal and troubling The Narcotic Story (2007), and the delicate yet unsettling undercurrents that transpire on L’Amour by Lewis (1983).

French Pictures In London was recorded with the promise of a record contract with A&M (not as strange as it may seem since A&M also signed John Cale, Magma, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the Sex Pistols at various times) and the hope for a national tour to follow. Eventually, the album ended up in the hands of Alan Howarth (later an Academy Award-winning sound effects creator, sound designer, and soundtrack composer) where thankfully it remained in his archives, turning out to be one of the two surviving copies of something Bensick thought he had lost forever.

The missing musical piece of Cleveland that falls in between the four long players by Raspberries and the first three albums by Pere Ubu. From the Nick Drake-meets-Nick Cave melodrama of “Sweet Pricilla”, the Roxy Music-isms of “Lilly White”, the heavily Herbie Hancock- influenced desperation of “Night Life”, to the Broadway letdown of “Cinquain Attempted” and the completely unhinged “Doll”, French Pictures In London is an album that will surely turn on any listener who approaches it.

A few years after the French Pictures In London project, Bensick formed the synth duo Berlin West with Kathleen Bensick which resulted in a 1981 darkwave single Snakepit b/w Babylon that unfortunately isn't included as part of Smog Veil's reissue package. However, because Bensick had the record manufactured at Cleveland's famed pressing plant Boddie Recording Company,  Numero Group decided to add the song Snakepit to their Boddie retrospective Local Customs: Pressed At Boddie from 2011, which turned out to be one of the most interesting recordings on the somewhat random 17-track sampling of the company's extensive output.

Bensick eventually moved to New York and by the mid-1980s had stopped performing in public but never stopped creating and continues to do so to this very day. The release of French Pictures In London represents long overdue credit and recognition, and a landmark recording in the long history of Cleveland rock and roll.

Extensive liner notes by Nick Blakey and never before published photos are also included in Smog Veil's release of French Pictures In London available for pre-order from the label right here. Listen to The Robert Bensick Band's Lily White and Berlin West's Snakepit below followed by a brief interview with Bensick from 2014.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy Birthday James Carr

Remembering deep soul great James Carr with a couple of his classic recordings.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Jayhawks @ The Horseshoe, Saturday

The Jayhawks showcase their great new Paging Mr. Proust album in a sold-out Horseshoe hoedown tonight. 

Happy Birthday Howlin' Wolf

Remembering the great Chester Burnett on his day with a 1964 performance of Shake For Me. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grouper @ The Great Hall, Thursday

If you're going to see Liz Harris & Paul Clipson present Hypnosis Display, you may want to bring a pillow. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Happy Birthday Jools!

Celebrating Julie Tippetts' birthday with a couple of tracks from her fab Sunset Glow album.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Maxence Cyrin @ Alliance Française, Wednesday

Expect Parisian pianist Maxence Cyrin to reprise a few forlorn renditions of Björk, Pixies and Beyoncé faves.

Robbie Fulks vs The Skeletons

Alt-country ace Robbie Fulks likes singing about Trans Ams as much as Lou Whitney and The Skeletons.

Monday, June 6, 2016

B-Side Wins Again: Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich's soulful Pass On By – written by his wife Margaret Ann – was on the flip of Love Is After Me.

Hailu Mergia's 1978 cassette Wede Harer Guzo getting vinyl release

Awesome Tapes From Africa is releasing Hailu Mergia's overlooked Ethio-funk gem on vinyl June 17.  

You won't see this Hailu Mergia rarity listed on discogs

By 1978, Addis Ababa’s nightlife was facing challenges. The ruling Derg regime imposed curfews, banning citizens from the streets after midnight until 6am. But that didn’t stop some people from dancing and partying thorough the night. Bands would play from evening until daybreak and people would stay at the clubs until curfew was lifted in the morning.

One key denizen of Addis’ musical golden age, Hailu Mergia, was preparing a follow up to his seminal Tche Belew LP with the famed Walias Band. It was the band’s only full-length record and it had been a success. But his Hilton house band colleagues were a bit tied up recording cassettes with different vocalists. Still Mergia, amidst recording and gigs with the Walias, was also eager to make another recording of his instrumental-focused arrangements. So he went to the nearby Ghion Hotel, another upmarket outpost with a popular nightclub. Dahlak Band was the house band at Ghion at the time. Together they made this tape Wede Harer Guzo right there in the club during the band’s afternoon rehearsal meetings, with sessions lasting three days.

“My instrumental music was very in-demand and I could have waited,” Mergia recalls. “But I wanted to have a different kind of sound. I had done several recordings with Walias so this time I needed a different sound.”

Dahlak Band catered to a slightly more youthful, local audiences, while Mergia’s main gig with the Walias at Addis swankiest hotel had a mixed audience that included foreign diplomats and older folks from abroad. Therefore their sets varied included lighter fare during dinnertime and a less rollicking selection of jazz and r&b. Meanwhile Dahlak was known more for the mainly soul and Amharic jams they served up for hours two nights a week to a younger crowd.

When Mergia entered the Ghion hotel nightclub to record this tape he was teaming up with a seasoned band who were particularly suited to his instrumental sound. Ethiopian popular music at the time combined elements of music from abroad and Dahlak balanced Mergia’s traditional song selection with the modern approach of a seasoned soul band.

Crucial to the resulting collaboration were Mergia’s arrangements which replaced distinctively use vocals for melodies normally played by instruments. His arrangements conjured memorable new flavors out of existing songs already popular with listeners.

Before Walias Band’s successful gig as house band at the Hilton, Mergia was a young musician hustling from one place to another around Addis. After finishing gigs at the Hilton or on nights off, he would go to good bar where azmari—roving musicians who play traditional songs for tips—and he’d pick up ideas and inspiration. Late night azmari performances revealed for Mergia which songs were moving people in the city. He regularly attended clubs, bars and special private after-hours venues called zigubgn where azmari perform. For Mergia, it was crucial to feature songs he knew people would recognize.

Amharic music has a large repertoire of standard songs everyone knows, the original composers and lyricists of which are often unknown or forgotten. Many of the songs Dahlak, Walias and other bands of that era (including Ibex and Shebele) were playing came from the treasury of shared music, which helped ensure a good vibe in the air.

Mergia released Wede Harer Guzo (“Travel to Harer,”with Sheba Music Shop, which was located in the Piazza district but has long since shut down. Recalling the audience’s positive reaction to Wede Harer Guzo’s novel arrangements, he says it sold well and found many fans. However, as no trace of the tape can be found online, there’s no indication as to why the cassette appears largely forgotten until now. You can pre-order a digital copy of Wede Harer Guzo right here. The vinyl version of is out June 17.

Wede Harer Guzo was recorded in 1978 at Ghion Hotel, Addis Ababa with Hailu Mergia (organ), Dawit Yifru (electric piano), Abera Feyissa (bass), Tesfaye Tessema (drums), 
Dawit Kassa (guitar), Tilaye Gebre (sax), Shimels Beyene (trumpet), Muluken Melesse (vocals), 
Rida Ibrahim (vocals).

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Field Trip w/ Charles Bradley @ Fort York's Garrison Stage, Sunday 4-5 pm

Hopefully the weather will be better by the time Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires hit the stage.

The Fleshtones vs. Otis Williams & The Charms

The Fleshtones' version of "Panic" was a giveaway with Next Big Thing's fab 10th Anniversary issue in 1987.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

RIP Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

Remembering Muhammad Ali with Freakwater's tribute "Louisville Lip" off 1998's Springtime album. 

I Am The Blues screens @ Bloor Cinema, Saturday

Director Dan Cross hosts Q&A following Saturday's 4pm & 8:45pm screenings of I Am The Blues.

Happy Birthday Mikey Dread

Remembering the influential Michael "Mikey Dread" Campbell on his day with a few classic performances. 

King Creosote @ The Burdock, Saturday

Expect more than a few songs in the key of Fife from singer/songwriter Kenny Anderson tonight. 

James Hunter gets personal with the video for Something's Calling

"Something's Calling" is off the James Hunter Six's fantastic Hold On! album for Daptone out now.

The video for Something's Calling is actually a compilation of shots from throughout the past few years of James Hunter’s life. “The first and last shots of the band were taken in a church hall on Lower Boston Rd. in Hanwell. It was intended as a video for the song ‘Gold Mine,’” he explains.

George Street, Colechester 1963

“Next are some shots of Colchester Castle Park. The castle was built by Normans from Roman masonry (Colchester was the first British suburb of Rome). Just this side of the bit of Roman wall where the willow appears was the site of a punch-up my father and I had with some drunken youths in 1992.

"The ringleader attacked me with a broken bottle and I adjusted the shape of his nose, resulting in arrest for all of us. My assailant was given the choice of jail time or paying me £100 compensation. He opted for prison just to spite me.” Watch the clip for Something's Calling off the latest James Hunter Six album Hold On! (Daptone Records) below.

Friday, June 3, 2016

One For The Weekend: Bob Ohiri & Uhuru Sounds

Here's a party-rocker off Bob Ohiri's Uhuru Aiye album on Ashiko Records from 1985 which should be reissued.

Zorton & The Cannibals, Blue Cougars, DJs Siânteuse & Classy Craig @ The 300 Club, Friday

Field Trip w/ Santigold @ Fort York, Saturday

Santigold hits Fort York's Garrison Stage at 6:30 pm followed by July Talk at 8 pm and The National at 9:30 pm.