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SOUND SEEKERS: 31 things you need to know about House of Targ

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.


House of Targ — a new perogie, pinball, and concert venue on Bank Street — opens its doors on April 17 with a show from Toronto band PUP (Photo: Fateema Sayani)

Sound Seekers took a tour of the new House of Targ perogie and pinball palace on Bank Street last week. The varnish on the bar was still tacky, and there was plenty of drilling, sawing, and hammering going on. That racket will continue even though the renovations are done. House of Targ launches with the loud sounds of Toronto’s PUP (you may have heard the punk band on CBC’s Q a few weeks ago; listen to their album below) on April 17. Here are some fun facts about the new hangout.

1. Pat Buck painted the murals. There’s a wizard on the back wall and a skull in the band room.

2. In addition to live music, you can enjoy six different kinds of perogies, including a vegan and gluten-free variety; one with seasonal mushrooms and shallots; and a dessert pierogi.

3. House of Targ’s chef, Erik Royle, used to work at The Green Door and Zen Kitchen.

4. The basement venue used to be a jazz and blues club called The New Bayou.

5. The 4,000-square-foot space has a capacity of 180.

6. House of Targ is open Thursday to Sunday, and occasionally on Monday through Wednesday, if a good show is coming through town.

7. Dinner and games will take place from 4—9 p.m. (all ages), with shows happening from 9 p.m.—2 a.m. (19+).

8. The bar will carry beer from Ashton Brewing Co., Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., and an oatmeal stout called, fittingly, “The Darkness” by Beyond the Pale.

9. Games run on loonies and quarters; there’s always a game on free play.

10. One game will always take coins for charity. It’ll be clearly marked every night.

11. Sundays are free play nights with music from DJ KJ Maxx of the band Mother’s Children. $5 gets you in.

12. PUP plays opening night on April 17. Owner Paul “Yogi” Granger’s cousin is in the band.

13. Fiftymen play opening week, on Saturday, April 19.

14. The House of Targ managers plan to put out a monthly zine with show details and a scene report.

15. The bar is run by Granger, Mark McHale, and Kevin Birger from The Visitors and Neck.

16. They have a 10-year lease on the space. “We’re trying to do something long term, for sure,” Granger says.

17. Getting the space ready meant re-doing the floor, stripping the walls, sanding everything, painting ceilings and floors — and putting down seven coats of wax on the floor.

18. The owners took out a non-structural wall to create an open kitchen. They put in a DJ booth and band room where the old beer fridge was located.

19. Community! “We’ve paid for all the materials, but everyone has volunteered their time,” Granger says. “It’s been total community support which is really humbling. I don’t think we could afford it if everyone hadn’t pitched in.”

20. The arcade games and videos are all old style. The place has some 20 to 30 machines.

21. Granger owns some of the games. The others come from Geoff Parr of pinhead.ca and Josh McKay of ottawapinball.com.

22. House of Targ comes from Targ, the name of a game. “It’s kind of like Pac-Man, but you’re a little ship and you can shoot and you can go a lot faster,” Granger says. It’s quick and intense and you die really quickly.”

23. Targ is the first game someone dropped off at Granger’s jam space on Main Street. “We fixed it and it started off this whole thing.”

24. The spot on Main street is still a jam space, but it has been sold to new owners and will likely be turned into condos in two or three years, or at least that’s what Granger is hearing.

25. Granger is not playing with Ukrainia for the moment. That band is busy touring and playing festivals. Granger is currently playing with Black Bread and Cloven Hoofs.

26. The three bar owners will also act as sound guys.

27. “We’re going to try to match shows with sound guys — so it’s aligned with the sound guy’s interest in a certain style of music,” Granger says. “When the soundman is having fun that’s a good thing. When you have the same sound guy night after night, they tend to turn into Cranky Sound Guy without a lot of patience.”

28. The games, with their ringers and buzzers, will be turned off before quieter, soft-seat-style shows.

29. House of Targ is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for perogie production. Chef Royle and two other cooks work for two days to make 3,600—4,000 perogies at a time.

30. There’s gear! The drum kit comes from Dave’s Drum Shop and the amps come from Spaceman Music, which means bands don’t have to change over their gear between sets or lug all their stuff to the club.

31. Coming up! Shows from Vite Vite, a new French pop band featuring Paul Hogan of Polaris, and Roberta Bondar’s record release party.

SOUND SEEKERS: Dann Oickle releases video for The Bed off new album Blitzkrieg

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.

Danniel Oickle at home. Photos by Bonnie Findley.

Danniel Oickle at home. Photos by Bonnie Findley.

New Video
Pop artist Dann Oickle (formerly of Ottawa, now domiciled in Montreal), released his new album Blitzkrieg earlier this year. It’s a reflection on the idea of love as an act of war from tiny inequities to fallings out to near-fatal attractions, as we wrote in a previous Sound Seekers post.

Oickle is a performer who loves imagery. He organizes his live shows with Bowie-esque ambition for make-up and moves. His gigs are prefaced by what feels like a well-executed marketing plan, replete with vivid visuals that stand out in our image-saturated culture.

Continuing in that vein, Oickle hopes to release a video for each track of his new album. The first is for  “The Bed,” an audience favourite from the album.

“People liked the Madonna/Prince vibe of it, and the pulsing sexuality,” Oickle says. “It was also noted that this song maintained an erotic vibe and yet never crossed over to the crass or perverse.”

He brought that sensual, couth vibe to the video setting, which takes place in the hotel room of a landed sailor (played by Oickle) and two call girls (played by Olexandra Pruchnicky and Rebecca Noelle of The Peptides).

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SOUND SEEKERS: Hot new albums from Laurent Bourque and Sound of Lions + a fundraiser for Lefty

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


Laurent Borque’s new album Pieces of Your Past references aspects of life in love that most take for granted. Album release show takes place on April 5 at The Black Sheep Inn.

There are moments on Laurent Bourque‘s new album Pieces of Your Past that are reminiscent of Andrew Bird or Danny Michel.

Much like those artists, the Ottawa songwriter conveys his ideas in songs with glimmering vocal idiosyncrasies. Those tics make any artist stand out over every other angsty guy with a guitar and Bourque is quickly becoming a master of subtle lyrical and musical charm. You hear it all over his new 10-song album, which follows his 2010 debut release What We Talk About.

Pieces of Your Past was recorded live to tape in Ottawa at Little Bullhorn Studios with producer Dave Draves and musicians Jamie Kronick (drums) and Phil Charbonneau (bass). They did two or three takes of each song — and that was it.

“It was a great way to make an album,” Bourque says. “It allows for much more feeling to shine through, which is important for my music.”

The album, full of folk and pop tunes, is a narrative about “love that had to end despite knowing the pain it would cause.” All the little things that happen between the “fragments of memories” are documented in song — as in the pieces of one’s past, hence the title.


“I try to reference specific aspects of life in love that most take for granted,” Bourque says. “Like what happens to your cat after a break up, who gets full custody? The answer in this scenario would be me.”

Stream the album before catching Laurent’s CD release party on Saturday, April 5 at The Black Sheep Inn.


Take Me With You by Ottawa quintet Sound of Lions is full of hurt and a lack of sunshine. There’s a pained expression in vocalist Whitney Delion’s soulful croon on the new album. One word song titles such as “Bedrooms,” “Telephone,” and “Goodbye” underscore the album’s sense of despair. Tracks are delicately embellished with a rock touch by guitarist Will Assad, bass player Joel Soucy, and drummer Marco Campagna. Producer and emcee Christian Awad gives the kick-off track “You and Me” a cinematic hip-hop feel that continues throughout the album.


Sound of Lions vocalist, and former Ottawa Magazine cover subject, Whitney Delion. (Photo: Rémi Thériault)

The 11-track stunner was long in the works. Ottawa Magazine checked in with the band two years ago as they were sketching out ideas for the album and trying to juggle their various styles and interests. Soucy used to play in punk bands, Assad knows his classical music, while Awad has a hip-hop background. Those various influences are reflected lightly: an unpredictable structure gives “When” a punky edge; an uptempo beat provides “Bats” that hummable, head-nodding quality; while “Gray” has an orchestral feel to it. The album’s constant presence is vocalist and onetime Ottawa Magazine cover star Whitney Delion. She gets top billing; her Adele-gone-indie voice plays high in the mix.

“Finding a way to transfer that loose, unguarded feeling to live shows or recordings is something I’m still working on,” she says, noting that she practices singing in the shower.

“I write songs about feelings and frustrations and things that have me all twisted up inside. If sadness is more apparent, I hope it means that my songwriting is stronger than before,” Delion says. “I think it’s important to be as honest as possible in songwriting. Everyone is so closed up these days. It’s refreshing to get a dose of honesty in a song.”

Sound of Lions CD release show takes place Saturday, April 5 at Zaphod’s with Flying Horses. $5.


1_aprilcover.inddDid you see Greg Harris (aka Lefty McRighty) in the current edition of Ottawa Magazine? He’s featured in The Sex Issue and discusses intimate details about his marriage. (Now rush to the newsstands all!) In the interview, Harris and his spouse Holly are candid about the benefits and challenges of an open marriage. Harris, by nature, is honest and forthright — characteristics that are also causing him a bit of a headache of late.

A while ago Harris posted a blog that was critical of the Capital Hoedown country music festival, which has a similar name to his alt-country/punk/etc. music festival called the O-town Hoedown.

Capital Hoedown organizer Denis Benoit didn’t like what he read and filed a $250,000 lawsuit against Harris for alleged “irreparable harm” along with “emotional harm” and damages to his reputation, according to the statement of claim. Now, Harris is throwing a fundraiser to offset legal costs.

See five bands and eight burlesque performers on Thursday, April 3 at The Rainbow Bistro. There will be a raffle for prizes from Spaceman Music and Vertigo Records among other retailers. Find show details on their Facebook page and more info on this page made by fans of Harris, who is well known in the music community. Someone even made 125 mL jars of candied ginger-pear “Lefty’s Legal Jam” to help with the fundraising. You can pick one up at the show for $4.



SOUND SEEKERS: 2014 Ottawa Bluesfest lineup announced

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


Lady Gaga is one of this year’s headliners for the 20th anniversary of Ottawa Bluesfest

The first wave of acts for 2014 Ottawa Bluesfest has been released!

British rockers Procol Harum will perform with the NAC Orchestra on July 10 as part of the 20th anniversary edition of Ottawa Bluesfest at Lebreton Flats. It’s one of the more interesting shows included in this morning’s lineup announcement for the July 3 to 13 festival. Headliners include Lady Gaga, The Killers, Blake Shelton, Queens of the Stone Age, Jeff Tweedy, and Lady Antebellum.

Decades past are well-represented with appearances from 70s icons Foreigner and Journey, 80s hit makers Styx, Blondie, and The Violent Femmes, 90s throwbacks Third Eye Blind, Collective Soul, The Barenaked Ladies, and Moist, as well as contemporary indie acts such as Gogol Bordello, Young Rival, Jenny Lewis, Bonobo, St. Vincent, Royal Canoe and Andrew Bird. Hip-hop mainstays Cypress Hill will play the festival July 9 and Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) returns for a show on July 12.

You can review the lineup at ottawabluesfest.ca. The complete lineup will be posted on that site in April. Ottawa Bluesfest head Mark Monahan said another headliner is yet to be named, meaning Rumour-Fest can still continue for a few weeks. Some Ottawa Bluesfest enthusiasts were taking to Twitter with hopes that the yet-named headliner might be Beck. Headliners at this year’s Osheaga festival in Montreal include Jack White, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and Lorde. Outkast and Arctic Monkeys are also on the festival circuit this summer.

SOUND SEEKERS: Timekode dance party finds new home

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


DJ Zattar spins at Timekode, a monthly dance party, which recently found its new home for 2014 at Café Nostalgia

Timekode, the long-running monthly rec-room style dance party, moves to a new location starting this Friday. DJs Zattar, Memetic, and Eric Roberts will spin retro-soul, house and dance music at the recently renovated Café Nostalgica (601 Cumberland St.) on March 21.

That’s where Timekode originally launched nine years ago. The DJ trio later moved the party over to the Eri Café on Somerset Street West, which operated as an Eritrean restaurant. The cafe turned into a late-night dance club on the third Friday of each month when it became Timekode’s clubhouse. The party attracted a long lineup of revelers looking for a sweaty dance floor bash.

Earlier this year, the Timekode DJs got word that the café owners would not be renewing their lease, so Zattar and Memetic went looking for a new location. Timekode went on hiatus for two months until they could sort out the paperwork.

DJ Zattar (Alexandre Mattar) says Nostalgica, a café run by the University of Ottawa’s graduate students association, is comparable in size to the Eri Café with a large dance area and a good sound system. It has a large patio close to the dance floor for spillover crowds looking for fresh air. The open-concept space has a bar that runs the length of the room.

DJ Memetic (Kwende Kefentse) says Timekode has a cast of regulars that have been coming since the event started in 2005. “People come for the music and not for our personal reputations, but for the reputation of the event.”

The DJs are calling tomorrow’s event Timekode 3.0 and telling regulars to come “back to the future” on their Facebook page. Retro-futuristic sounds make up much of the playlist at Timekode; it’s the push and pull of old and new sounds that gives the evening its unexpected pace. You can hear a sampling of those sounds on this EP that DJs Zattar and Memetic released a while back in celebration of their eighth anniversary of Timekode.

Timekode: New location (Café Nostalgica), same date (third Friday of the month), same time (10 p.m.), same deal ($5 cover). timekode.com

More Weekend Music in Ottawa

Fevers and Pony Girl play a double bill at the Black Sheep Inn on March 21

Acadian electro-rap band Radio Radio play Ritual on March 21

It’s been 40 years since the release of the Cooper Brothers’ first single. They’ll celebrate with a show at the Centrepointe Theatre on March 21


SOUND SEEKERS: Before Ottawa Bluesfest comes Rumour-Fest

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 Black Keys were one of the big headliners at last year’s Ottawa Bluesfest. Who will take centre stage in 2014?

Update: The first wave of Ottawa Bluesfest acts has been announced! Click here to see who’s coming. 

Scouring the concert listings of major festivals and cross-referencing them against a band’s touring schedule for gaps, along with some travel calculations via Google Maps, seems to be the rough formula for those speculating on who might play at the 20th edition of Ottawa Bluesfest, which runs from July 3 to 13 this year.

Speculation on blogs and fan forums started as early as January of this year, and ramped up this week when other major festivals released their schedules. Bluesfest organizers said on Twitter that they would announce their lineup next week.

Ahead of the announcement, we look at some of the rumour generators and fan wish lists that have people talking.

The lineup for Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts was released this week sending the Bluesfest fan forum on Facebook into overdrive. Many are hoping that headlining acts such as Lorde, Outkast, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, may make a stop in Ottawa. SXSW is in full swing this week too. The taste-making festival is a huge industry draw for bookers and talent managers looking for rising acts.

Westfest (June 13 to 15) announced its lineup this week as well. Ashley MacIssac will headline the neighbourhood bash along with A Tribe Called Red and George Leach. Typical industry standards around territory clauses mean that a major act playing one festival won’t likely appear at another festival, so you can scratch those names off your Bluesfest list.

There is a Dave Matthews Band super fan out there that tweets under the handle @DMB_Ottawa and eagerly waits for the annual Bluesfest lineup announcement with baited breath.

Aedan Helmer of the Ottawa Sun compiled a list of 20 bands that got their start in 1994, the same year as Bluesfest. It includes Weezer and Outkast, as well as some less memorable bands such as Hootie and the Blowfish and G. Love & Special Sauce. Thanks to Ottawa Start for that link. The events info site compiled this tip sheet of other Bluesfest rumours.

In keeping with Ottawa Bluesfest’s commitment to the local scene, we wonder if there will be any link with Kelp Records this year. The Ottawa music label got its start in 1994 as well. It represents artists New Country Rehab and Measha Brueggergosman among others.

Keeping all this mind, we ask you, dear reader, who do you think will come to this year’s edition of Bluesfest? Who is on your wish list? Comment here or tweet us at @OttawaMag with your picks.

SOUNDS SEEKERS: Upcoming concerts in Ottawa

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’s The PepTides release Love Question Mark on May 3 with a concert at St. Alban’s Church

The weather sucks and it’s bloody cold out and all your friends are buggering off for a vacation somewhere warm. Harrumph. Time to turn your thoughts to the inevitable thaw when you can come out of your parka for some live music. Sound Seekers brings you a shortlist of coming shows to look out for in the weeks ahead.

The Ottawa multi-member pop force known as The PepTides will release an album of electro fury and fantasy on May 3 at St. Alban’s Church. The band is describing Love Question Mark as “dark and danceable.” The album contains a bonus side of Retro Love songs (as opposed to Electro Love songs) that have a throwback quality to them. Save the date.

March 8 • Rocktronica trio We Are Wolves are at Le Petit Chicago

March 15 • Cuff the Duke makes their NAC Presents debut

March 21 • Buzz bands Fevers and Pony Girl play The Black Sheep Inn

April 4 • The Wooden Sky, Dusted, and Wilderness of Manitoba play Ritual

April 10 • Orange Gallery will move from its Hintonburg location to the City Centre complex. They re-launch with a show by Velvet Underground cover band No Kinds of Love

April 12 • Monogrenade’s second album is called Composite. The band, which features French horn player Pietro Amato (The Luyas, Arcade Fire) among others, play Le Petit Chicago

April 18 • New Brunswick’s indie folk quartet The Olympic Symphonium will play Pressed Café

Look for our annual Ottawa Bluesfest Lineup Speculation post in a coming edition of Sound Seekers.

SOUND SEEKERS: The Cardboard Crowns Return to Ottawa

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 Cardboard Crowns play Zaphod Beeblebrox on March 1 (Photo: Yves Elou Legare)

 The Cardboard Crowns look like they’re having a damn good time in their capes and regal headgear. Their stage antics and sound recall some of the jaunty knee-tapping styles of ‘90s Toronto (think Moxy Fruvous, Barenaked Ladies, and The Shuffle Demons), tossed in with a ska-skate punk influence that brings to mind the early days of Hollerado.

The corrugated kings will be centre stage at a showcase taking place at Zaphod Beeblebrox on Saturday, March 1. The lineup includes Ottawa act Finding Chuck and London, Ont.’s The Baxters.

The Cardboard Crowns have roots in the area; two of its members met in Aylmer and the band grew to a four piece as it expanded upon its garage-band roots into a group with more commercial appeal. The band won $5,000 in prize money from the Live 88.5 FM Big Money Shot competition and played the opening spot at K-OS’ New Year’s Eve gig in the capital.

The band, now based in Toronto, are back Saturday to play at their favourite hometown venue. Click HERE for tickets.

The Up and Up Concert Series continues with the Mehdi Cayenne Club on Feb. 27.

The soulful Sound of Lions can be heard at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, March 1. The band has a new album out in April, which you can read all about HERE.


SOUND SEEKERS: The Annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash

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


Lefty McRighty (aka Greg Harris) hosts the fourth annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash at The Rainbow Bistro

The Johnny Cash Birthday Bash is becoming a fixture on the Ottawa scene calendar. Now in its fourth year, the annual event comes as people are starting to emerge from their rock-scene hibernation after yet another long Ottawa winter.

The bash is organized by singer-songwriter and O-Town Hoedown festival programmer Lefty McRighty (better known as Greg Harris). He is quite fond of the Cash tune “That’s Enough.” It’s an upbeat gospel song about needing nothing other than the love of Jesus. “I’m not a God-fearing man, but if I were to ever be converted it’d be because of this song,” Harris told Sound Seekers on the eve of the first Johnny Cash birthday bash.

Cash’s baritone low-boom and resonating lyrics had an effect on people, and that’s what musicians from Big Jeezus Truck, The Bushpilots, The Kingmakers, and The Sick Sick Sicks will be celebrating at The Rainbow Bistro on Feb. 22. Expect to hear Cash songs all night long while waiting for your number to be drawn. The night’s raffle proceeds will benefit CKCU 93.1 FM. The grand prize is an acoustic guitar from Spaceman Music customized with Cash-themed artwork by artist John Sekerka of hipCRANK Guitars.

The Johnny Cash Birthday Bash. Saturday, Feb. 22. 9:30 p.m. The Rainbow Bistro. $10. Details here.

SOUND SEEKERS: The Souljazz Orchestra Shows Its Diversity on Inner Fire

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 Souljazz Orchestra’s new album Inner Fire, out Feb. 24, is a great late introduction to the band (Photo: Alexandre Mattar)

The Souljazz Orchestra‘s new album feels like a grand tour. The 10-song album Inner Fire (Strut Records) cycles through styles, showing off beautiful fluency in Afro and Latin genres with nods to big band and hip-hop. It’s a showcase of the six-piece band’s musical diversity. While previous albums underscored the group’s deep appreciation for spiritual jazz, roots music, and the work of Fela Kuti, Inner Fire offers a fuller menu of the band’s influences.

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