SOUND SEEKERS: Waxing nostalgic about Souljazz Orchestra

BY FATEEMA SAYANI

Photo credit: Luna Begin

The band in the basement of Babylon in 2005, a year before their first album was released. Photo credit: Luna Begin


The Souljazz Orchestra hosts a Vinyl Reissue Party on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Babylon with guests The Goods Sound System and DJs Andy Williams and Scott C. Expect a top-shelf dance party with a nostalgic spirit inside the club where the band first launched its live soul-jam get-downs nearly a decade ago — 10 p.m., $15.

The group is celebrating the release of their back catalogue. You can now get all five Souljazz Orchestra albums on heavyweight 180-gram wax. Expect to hear all the textures and warmth that comes across in those records. It amplifies the balmy feel of the tunes, which have drawn sold-out audiences across Europe where the band tours frequently. (Check out this archived Souljazz tour diary for a few laughs).

To mark the occasion, Sound Seekers picked its favourite Souljazz tunes from over the years. Chime in on Twitter (@ottawamag) with your top tunes from each album. Use the hashtag #souljazztoptracks.

Here’s my picks:

Freedom No Go Die (2006)
The catchy “Mista President” got everyone moving, including BBC DJ Gilles Peterson who added the track to his Top 10 list of Worldwide Best songs for that year.

Manifesto (2008)
“People, People” puts a cry for solidarity to a heady beat with call-and-response plea to keep on keeping on.

Rising Sun (2010)
“Serenity” is exactly what it sounds like, a calming eight-minute interlude that shows the band’s expansive range and talent that takes them beyond their afrobeat origins.

Solidarity (2012)
“Conquering Lion” has a regal sound. It’s got snaky, cascading horn lines and a seductive beat that follows a hot heat of sweaty, clubby tracks.

Inner Fire (2014)
“Celestial Blues” is a soulful hip-hoppin’ cover of the 1971 Andy Bey track. The band filled out the originally sparse song with a bumpin’ arrangement of trumpet, trombone, flute, alto sax, bass clarinet, vibraphone, piano, upright bass, and percussion.

To get a taste of the band’s entire catalogue, check out this mini-mix on Soundcloud.

 

 

Photo credit: Luna Begin


SOUND SEEKERS: New Amos the Transparent, best enjoyed start to finish

BY FATEEMA SAYANI

Amos-The-Transparent-745x425

Amos The Transparent plays their new album, This Cold Escape — which was released this past Tuesday — in its entirety at Neat Café in Burnstown on November 15

The new Amos the Transparent album is best enjoyed from start to finish. The 11-song album called This Cold Escape was released Tuesday. It’s an art-rock extravaganza that plumbs the depths of songwriter Jonathan Chandler’s mind summarizing anxieties, questions, outlooks and perspectives into short songs that are like chapters in a book. Those songs are put to orchestral-like arrangements that are at once delicate and dramatic. It paints a shipwrecked, lost-at-sea feel for the listener.

Stream the entire album here.

The album’s story is about life paths and about what happens when you choose your own adventure, or as Chandler puts it, “With every decision, another decision is left behind.”

Marketing-Meeting-May-27

This Cold Escape is the fourth album from the Ottawa sextet (or fifth if you count their double EP). It’s a loosely biographical tale that stemmed from a time a few years back when Chandler had a Kathleen Edwards moment and decided he didn’t want to play music anymore.

His band mates — Chris Wilson, Dan Hay, James Nicol, Mike Yates and Olenka Reshitnyk — talked him through it, and from those conversations they realized there was enough substance to build an album.
There are songs about reflection (“Out the Window,” “Big City Lights”); others about cold realities (“Death & His Certainty” and the title track, “This Cold Escape”); and songs that offer closure on the album’s subjects (“Bury My Bones,” “Build A Home”).

So what life did he choose? Well the answer is rather complex if you listen to the album in its entirety, but by way of conclusion, Chandler offers, “If you still have love for whatever you do in the end, you’re okay. Anything you pour years and years into won’t be so quickly let go.”

In other words, Amos the Transparent is still a band and they’re still making music, but now you’ll hear fewer stabs at making a massively hooky radio single, as was the case on previous albums such as on My, What Big Teeth You Have (2009) or their debut Everything I’ve Forgotten to Forget (2007) with stick-in-your-head tunes such as “The M.O.B. Catalogue” or “This Town.”

The band made a conscious effort not to use too many big guitar sounds on This Cold Escape, but rather to layer things with vocals. “There was one day where I was in the studio and sang just oohs and ahs for a day to fill spaces,” Chandler says. “We focused on the intricacies.”

At their live shows, the band is playing all the songs from the new album, in the same order, accompanied by projections to underscore the story. See them at the Neat Café in Burnstown on November 15.

 

SOUNDS SEEKERS: Shannon Rose Finds Gold — and Marrow

BY FATEEMA SAYANI

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New album, new name, new feel — it’s all coming together for Shannon Rose. The Ottawa singer-songwriter and her band, The Thorns, have changed their name to Gold & Marrow, a reference to that in-the-bone inclination Rose has for songwriting, as well as all the tweaking that’s done by her band to make them gold. That band consists of Rose’s spouse and producer Steve Matylewicz on guitar, Dave Edwards on bass, Arturo Portacarrero on drums and Cal Cheney on keys. Together they have released a third album called Forever, which follows their debut, Sing Me A Song (2008) and the Seasons series of EPs Rose released throughout the latter half of 2013 and on.

On album three, Rose has found the perfect balance of all her expressions. She blends her melancholy, sensuality, folk lustre, and roots background into 10 songs that explode with desire and ferocity. She is at once powerhouse pop artist and entirely tender in the video for the song Striking Gold (shot by Matylewicz), a tune representative of all the sentiments that soar throughout the album.

By the end of the album, the mood shifts to a sound that’s more down-tempo, but the subject matter is no less weighty. The songs on Forever deal with time, existential crises, jealousy, intensity, and life changes. “Time is on a lot of the songs,” says Rose. “I’m thinking of things that concern me on a day-to-day basis.”

The album is intense, both sonically and thematically, which was intentional according to Matylewicz. “There’s a trend to go toward singles instead of albums, so people don’t give albums a chance,” he says, “[As the album's producer] I really tried to ignore that — hopefully not to our detriment.”

The Gold & Marrow album release party takes place October 4 at the Black Sheep Inn with guests The Visit.

Joining the Pack
Alex Cairncross was part of the Ottawa live music scene for years, known for his band photography and membership in groups such as Sleeping Pilot and As the Poets Affirm. He joined the band The Golden Dogs on bass since decamping to Toronto in 2009. Cairncross will reunite with the capital when his power art-pop band plays pinball palace House of Targ on October 3 with Taylor Knox and Orienteers. The Golden Dogs is led by spousal duo Dave Azzolini (vocals, guitar) and Jessica Grassia (vocals, drums) along with Stefanie McCarrol (keys, guitars), and Cairncross. He met the couple while hanging around the studio space they share with the band Zeus. Cairncross took some publicity photos of The Golden Dogs in their previous incarnation and joined the band in 2012. The Golden Dogs’ fourth album, Surf Music for the Non-Swimmer, is due out in 2015.

Gigs! Gigs! Gigs!
Soul band The Split will hold a video release party for Doo Wop, the second single off their debut EP Can’t Get Enough, October 3 at the Black Sheep Inn. The video was created as part of a collaborative process called Crowded Room, a concept that brings bands and fans together up close and is the brainchild of production house Gallery Recording Studios, video makers Dan Rascal Productions and design company Log Creative Bureau (an OM office crush). The Split’s video is the first yield from the Crowded Room collaboration. Watch a trailer of the video here.

SOUND SEEKERS: Top 5 for O-Town Hoedown

 BY FATEEMA SAYANI

Danny Duke and the Norther Stars by Chantal Levesque

Danny Duke and the Norther Stars play at the Rainbow Bistro on Oct. 3 as part of O-Town Hoedown. Photo by Chantal Levesque

“Ottawa’s longest running and least shady country music festival” kicks off tonight. The subtitle of the O-Town Hoedown is a provocative nod and lightly veiled reference to another country festival that used to take place in these parts.

A while back, O-Town Hoedown head-man Greg Harris (who goes by nom-de-twang Lefty McRighty) took to the blogosphere to detail his concerns with the Capital Hoedown, which made headlines during its existence. The man who runs that festival read Harris’ blog and took umbrage, which led to a libel claim and much consternation between the two parties.

The lawsuit has been settled out of court and Harris says he’s glad he can get on with his life and that he wasn’t bankrupted by the ordeal. Settlement details mean that’s pretty much all Harris can say about the matter, which is uncharacteristic as anyone who follows his lively Twitter feed will know (He’s rather open about everything in his life, i.e. read OTTAWA Magazine’s Sex Issue April 2014.)

With the legal matter settled, Harris is back in the saddle as head Hoedowner. Not only does he organize the festival, he’ll perform in various bands and he’ll DJ the closing party on October 5.

There are a dozen of alt- and country-etc. shows in each of the two weeks of the Hoedown. Get tickets at the door for each gig. Cover ranges from free to $10.

We picked our Top 5 Gigs for the O-Town Hoedown:

  • Toronto’s Doghouse Rose is a rebel country duo that blends sweet and sorrow. Oct. 3. Rainbow Bistro.
  • There’s a newish country band in town and we like their style. Cooper MacLaren and the Mean-Eyed Cats is led by a fellow named Jason Anderson who took a country-esque handle from two well-known Ottawa city streets — a la Greenfield Main. Sept. 30. Rainbow Bistro.
  • Tilda submitted their tunes to the O-Town Hoedown festival this year. Harris dug their songs and put them on the bill. We’re glad he did. We like their atmospheric take on folk. Oct. 4. Atomic Rooster. 
  • The kick-off! A big ol’ Hoedown get-down party takes place tonight (Thursday, Sept. 25) with Uncle Sean, Lefty McRighty, Ray Harris, Standup Steve, Peter Pritchard, Karolyne Lafortune and Ryan Barwin. 9 p.m. Lunenburg Pub.

The O-Town Hoedown runs Sept. 25 — Oct. 5. Visit here for the full lineup.

 


SOUND SEEKERS: NAC Presents lineup includes concert featuring Basia Bulat + Daniel Lanois + NAC Orchestra

By FATEEMA SAYANI

Basia Bulat

Basia Bulat

The NAC will announce 30 new concerts today, adding to the lineup of 26 previously announced NAC Presents shows. They’re billing it as The Ultimate Canadian Musical Journey.

We here at Ottawa Mag have been fans of the all-Canadian music series — now in its fourth season and programmed by Simone Deneau and Xavier Forget — for some time.

The third season featured hometown hero Kalle Mattson and Can-rock icons Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright, among others. We also saw Royal Wood head to the NAC to play a set with plenty of lighting cues and dramatics, befitting the venue. He even arranged wine pairings for that gig, as he’s also a sommelier.

Expect more pairings this season, including a sweet gig with Daniel Lanois, Basia Bulat, and the NAC Orchestra. Bulat will perform Lanois’ material and a few of her own songs accompanied by NACO’s arrangements. That show takes place April 30, 2015. It may seem far away yet, but best not to delay. (Sarah McLachlan’s November 14 show is long sold out.)

We’re also excited about the double bill with Stars and Hey Rosetta! (Feb. 7) and the return of Arianne Moffatt (April 16) and Whitehorse (May 14), who played NAC Presents in years past. Many artists come back to play the series in following seasons, and often in a larger-capacity venue, starting with the Fourth Stage and moving up to the larger studio and theatre stages.

NAC Orchestra. Photo by Dwayne Brown.

NAC Orchestra. Photo by Dwayne Brown.

“NAC Presents is a vehicle for artists to be featured on a national stage,” producer Deneau says. “Investing in an artist with great potential, then inviting them back to perform on bigger stages, for even larger audiences, speaks directly to our commitment to championing their work and supporting their creative growth.”

Here, the 2014-2015 NAC Presents lineup. Tweet us with your best bets and favourite picks! @OttawaMag

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PLAYLIST! Stuntman Stu, Jim Watson, Mark Monahan, and more notable Ottawans reveal their Ultimate Summer Song

By FATEEMA SAYANI

This sleek little speaker is made in Ottawa by PowerStick. The PowerSound operates with BlueTooth and near field audio to play music from a phone, tablet, laptop, or other media player — and can charge your electronics, so the party never stops. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

This sleek little speaker is made in Ottawa by PowerStick. The PowerSound operates with BlueTooth and near field audio to play music from a phone, tablet, laptop, or other media player — and can charge your electronics, so the party never stops. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

Summer songs have a sort of timeless quality. Their sunny vibes bring to mind the open road, late-night walks, cottage parties, and that tinge of bittersweetness in knowing that it’ll all be over by fall. We’re striking while it’s hot with this list of summer songs from Ottawans of note. Use it to compile your soundtrack to summer.

 

“Flashback” Jazzanova Remix – Fat Freddy’s Drop, 2005

“DJ Trevor Walker was playing a remix of this tune like mad that summer. It was just a must — I would drop everything I was doing, and I would run to the dance floor and dance to the whole track like a horny teenager.”
Claudia Balladelli, Music Programmer, Mercury Lounge

 

 

“Young Leaves” – Attack in Black, 2007

“Everyone in my hometown of Sudbury listened to Attack in Black’s album Marriage on repeat when it came out in the summer of 2007. “Young Leaves” reminds me of late-night barbecues, sloppy bush parties, and group hugs.”
Sarah Bradley, Musician, Fevers

 

 

“Here Come the Girls” – Ernie K-Doe, 1970

“I spent a lot of time in Louisiana during the summer of 2010, covering the aftermath of the BP oil spill. I constantly heard this song on the radio, fell in love with it, and that fall my bridesmaids made their grand entrance to a hooting and hollering crowd at our wedding. So fun!”
Robyn Bresnahan, Host, CBC Ottawa Morning

 

 

“Bobcaygeon” – The Tragically Hip, 1999

“Not only one of the most beautiful songs ever written but quintessentially summer in Canada — it evokes the pull of starry summer nights in cottage country, hot city nights, disquieting political unrest, life choices, and love.”
Simone Deneau, Producer -  NAC Presents, National Arts Centre

 

 

 

“Joppa Road” – Ween, 1994

“This song brings all the best of summer together for me. Road trips, slow drives, longing … very nostalgic, and what is summer if not an idea that rarely comes to pass? It’s also pretty danceable in a cheesy, carefree-hippie kind of way.”
Dayanti Karunaratne , Editor, Ottawa Magazine

 

 

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” -  Beastie Boys, 1987

“While not necessarily my favourite song by them, it’s definitely an anthem that evokes road trips and fun times, part of which are necessary for a great summer.”
—Caitlin Kealey, Partner, MediaStyle

 

 

 

“Little Deuce Coupe” – The Beach Boys, 1963

“It’s the first tune that comes to mind when I’m asked what my favourite summer song is — it’s nice and catchy.”
Mark Monahan, Executive Director, Bluesfest

 

 

“Smooth” – Santana featuring Rob Thomas, 1999

“It’s my go-to summer song lately. It’s just a great tune!”
Catherine O’Grady, Executive Director, Ottawa Jazz Festival

 

 

“Places and Space” Donald Byrd , 1975

“Written and produced by the genius Mizell Brothers, this song has power, man. I close my eyes, and the chillest, most laid-back ’70s vibe comes over me. The lush, soaring strings, the groove, the jazz choir — I can feel the ocean breeze blowing in my hair, the beating hot sun, and peace and contentment. Ah, life is good.”
Marielle Rivard, Vocalist, The Souljazz Orchestra

 

 

“Power of Love” (Extended Dance Mix) – Huey Lewis and the News, 1985

“The classic song from Back to the Future has been on my radar ever since the movie came out almost 30 years ago. I crank it up every chance I get, especially on a warm summer day driving around the capital.”
Stuntman Stu Schwartz, Host, MAJIC 100

 

 

 

“Rockaway Beach” – The Ramones, 1977

“Although released almost 37 years ago, “Rockaway Beach” has become a timeless summer classic. I love this song because it’s part Beach Boys and part machine gun, and when it comes on the radio on a summer evening when I’m driving with the windows down … it’s absolutely perfect.”
Slo’ Tom Stewart, Musician

 

 

 

“Here Comes the Summer”  The Undertones, 1979

“Growing up in Ireland, two minutes of sunshine was always welcome. If it was okay by John Peel, then it was okay by me. Fantastic sleeve too.”
Shane Waldron, Co-Owner, The Wellington Gastropub

 

 

 

“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams, 1985

“I don’t actually remember the summer of  ’69 because I was so young then, but it’s always been a great summer song that still finds its way onto the playlists at events and parties. I saw Bryan Adams for the first concert at the Corel Centre, and I presented him the key to the city in the ’90s.”
Jim Watson, Mayor, Ottawa

 

SOUND SEEKERS: New EP from NDMA

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani  

Ottawa hip-hop producer, NDMA launches new EP, Panache, and plays this Saturday at Babylon's No Pants Dance Party

Ottawa hip-hop producer, NDMA, launches new EP, Panache, and plays this Saturday at Babylon’s No Pants Dance Party

We asked Ottawa producer and hip-hop artist Nilton de Menezes, aka NDMA, about his new smooth-rolling EP called Panache. The five-song disc is being released on Los Angeles, Calif., label Give N Go Sounds. It was mastered by Philip Shaw Bova (Feist, Bahamas, Socalled) and features a blend of hip-hop, electronic, and indie-pop music. Find the album on iTunes for now. A physical format will be available in mid-August when NDMA hosts a CD release party at the new Moscow Tea Room on Sussex Drive.

NDMA came to Ottawa eight years ago. The 22-year-old’s family emigrated from Luanda, Angola, to flee corruption. He went to Canterbury High School to study visual arts, then started a university program in international relations, but dropped out to work on music full-time. Hear NDMA this Saturday at Babylon at the No Pants Dance Party where he’ll play, accompanied by a violinist and a DJ.

SS:How does this EP differ from 2012′s EP, 505?

NDMA: This EP has a more mature and sophisticated sound compared to 505. I was trying to find who I was as an artist when I was doing 505. Not to say that I have fully found myself musically, but my production value is way, way better.

SS: Take us through some of the album tracks.

NDMA:

  • “Bring Us Down.” This song is the intro track for the project. It speaks to how you should never give up on your dreams or yourself. People say you shouldn’t give up on your dreams, but it’s something that they don’t practice.
  • “Get In.” That speaks to my attempt to get in the industry. Someone told me that it’s better to slowly get into someone’s heart and stay there longer.
  • “Investigate.” Oh, that’s where things start getting fun.
  • “Burn Slow.” Two summers ago, a friend of mine was leaving here. We became really close. Each day that passed, we both knew that her days in Canada were coming to an end. That’s where the idea of burn slow came from. I wish that time could slow down and let things that you enjoy most in life burn slow. This applies to family time, hanging out with your friends, or even enjoying a glass of scotch after a long day.

 

SOUND SEEKERS: New CD From The Musettes

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

The Musettes Press photo 2

Ottawa folk trio The Musettes bring The Good Lovelies to mind. The Musettes’ first EP, Wanderlust, has that soothing-yet-soulful quality evident in the work of that other folk trio of international renown.

The Musettes play fiddle, guitar, ukulele, drums, melodica and mandolin — and use their own voices as instruments — on the five-song EP produced by Jonathan Chandler of the band Amos the Transparent. They also have a knack for whimsy and well-chosen cover tunes. Their version of I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons has more than 35,000 YouTube views.

They’ll bring those group harmonies and foot-stomping sounds to St. Luke’s Church on Saturday, June 21 for their EP release party. Ahead of that gig , Sound Seekers asked The Musettes a few questions.

Introduce everyone? Who is in The Musettes?
The Musettes are Rachel Harrison, singer, guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire! Meaghan LaGrandeur (singer, fiddler and songwriter!) and Lora Bidner, who is an amazing singer, piano player and songwriter.

When and how did you come together?
We all met at Canterbury High School and graduated from the music program.

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SOUND SEEKERS: Festival season begins!

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

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 Dave Forcier, Steve Adamyk, Davey Quesnelle. Steve Adamyk Band play Club SAW June 14 for Ottawa Explosion

Ottawa Explosion kicks things off, plus a new track from Steve Adamyk Band

Festival season is upon us. The following weeks offer plenty of opportunities to catch live music. The bouncing and beer-drinking starts with the annual punk fest known as Ottawa Explosion.

At that festival, which takes place June 12-15 at about 10 different venues in the city, you can catch a number of punk/grunge/rawk acts, including hometowners The Steve Adamyk Band.

The trio’s new album is called Dial Tone and their label, Dirtnap Records, recently posted this new tune called “Crash Course in Therapy.” Check it out. It’s a minute-and-a-half of Gabba Gabba goodness from the band’s fourth album, to be released July 1.

See the Steve Adamyk Bank at Club SAW Saturday, June 14 and find the full Ottawa Explosion lineup here .

On the subject of concert lineups, we took an office poll of Ottawa Magazine editors for hot picks from this year’s festival rosters. Here’s who we want to see.

Ottawa Explosion: Steve Adamyk Band, Big Dick, Pookie & the Poodlez, Mother’s Children, Kappa Chow

Westfest: Fevers, A Tribe Called Red, The Peptides, Pony Girl

Ottawa Jazz Festival: Austra, DJ Rekha, The Bad Plus does Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bela Fleck & Brooklyn Rider, Holly Cole, Colin Stetson, Sandra Nkake, Socalled, Aretha Franklin

Bluesfest: Sly & Robbie, Drive By Truckers, St. Vincent, Andrew Bird, Blondie, The Killers

Ottawa Folk Fest: Lorde, Jill Zmud, M. Ward, Wooden Sky, Lora Bidner, The Milk Carton Kids.

What are you seeing on the live circuit this summer? Comment here or tweet us @ottawamag

SOUND SEEKERS: Free Music! Fevers “Dance Cry Dance” gets remix love

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

Fevers. Photo by

Fevers. Photo by Shooter McNally

Fevers release remixes of their banger track

Ottawa indie-electro band Fevers has a new remix EP. You can get it for free by liking their Facebook page. On the album, there are a handful of reworkings of their banger track “Dance Cry Dance,” one of the poppy highlights from their dark-pop full-length album No Room for Light, which was released last summer.

Upon the record’s release, Sound Seekers said:

“The album wavers between revelry, melancholy and back again as captured in the song, “Dance Cry Dance” with its anthemic wail about forgetting all your problems. The full-length album is a stunning, outta-the-park debut from the city’s top-shelf indie-electro band.”
Out of all the album’s songs, “Dance Cry Dance” is an obvious candidate for remixing, both from a technical aspect — there are plenty of spots to drop in beats or change up the the pace — and also from a sense of song. The tune’s mix of pathos and party gives producers plenty of options for amplification and embellishment of either mood.

There are fine takes on the song from Adam Saikaley, who gives “Dance Cry Dance” a disco-bounce aesthetic, while Dialoog adds an out-there ambience that’s pretty magical. There’s a version redone by Legion of Green Men, plus a transformation of the track “In Your Bones” that was helped along by star producer Damian Taylor (Bjork, The Killers, Austra).

To help explain the album, we turned to each member of Fevers to ask them to champion a track from the album.

Here goes:

Track One: Dance Cry Dance (Radio Edit)

Jim Hopkins (bass): “It’s the original — you can’t go wrong! Joking aside, we did cut it down a little bit for the radio. You know those guys don’t like you going past four minutes!”

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