Archive for April, 2009

Mountains live at The Music Gallery in Toronto

April 29, 2009


28 April 2009

Brooklyn duo Mountains put on a fantastic and cerebral live show last night at The Music Gallery on John Street in Toronto. The venue is actually an old Anglican Church, made of wood and stone, airy and open, so the acoustics were amazing. They couldn’t have played in a better spot. The small but enraptured crowd sat in the pews as the duo played a one song 45 minute set. Using guitars, synths, accordion, melodica, voice, two Powerbooks, and lots of other neat toys, they created a whitewash of looped introspective ambience.

It had me reeling in the pew, thinking about more things at once than I have in quite a while. Made me feel high on shrooms as samples of sound swirled upward to the peaked ceiling and deep bass rumbled the church floor. My friend Stewart next to me brought a note pad and was feverishly jotting down notes in the dark, my friend Mat on the other side, seemed antsy, plagued by grim yet ambitious dreams. I couldn’t sit still. I felt enlightened and confused at the same time, as their set reached a cacaphonous yet beautiful climax, ending with the moans of a dying accordion. Brilliant stuff. Nice guys too. I wish them well on the rest of their tour.

Benoit Pioulard at the Whippersnapper in Toronto

April 24, 2009

Benoit Pioulard live at Whippersnapper Gallery in Toronto - 23 April 2009

Benoit Pioulard at Whippersnapper Gallery in Toronto 

 23 April 2009

At home, sitting on my couch, reading a book, Benoit Pioulard’s music is ideal. Drifting, drony ambience with a nod to Nick Drake added in for good measure. Pioulard (real name Thomas Meluch) is very much at home on the Kranky label, and both his records “Precis” and the newly-released “Temper” are excellent home listening albums. However, his music did not translate very well in a live setting. He played for just over a half an hour and spent most of it sitting on the ground as if he was just jamming and knob-twiddling in his basement. That’s all fine and good, as most of the audience was sitting on the ground too, but I’ve come to like a little professionalism now and again. Perhaps his youth is a factor here, as he is just 24, but seeing equally young Peter Broderick put on an amazing show a few weeks earlier, Benoit Pioulard’s live show was very underwhelming. 

Headliner’s Windy and Carl were much better, but I think the slowcore drone movement is one best heard in the horizontal position. G’night.

Peter Broderick – Home

April 21, 2009

Peter Broderick - Home

Peter Broderick (Bella Union, Type, Hush Records)

Peter Broderick is a 21 year-old wunderkind. An accomplished pianist, violinist, and guitar player with a voice that will send shivers both up and down your spine. He can be lumped into the modern classical genre for earlier releases like “Float”, but with “Home”, Broderick has written a startlingly simple folk album that would leave Bon Iver purple with envy. The kid is good. Last year, he moved to Denmark to join the band Efterklang, and he’s been constantly refining his sound(s).

I was lucky enough to catch his show at the El Mocambo in Toronto a few weeks ago, and it blew me away. Without a hint of pretension, Broderick kept the crowd in awe with his earnest live show. Mixing in samples with live instrumentation and looping it all together to create a cohesive and beautiful sonic whole, the show made my night. How does one play 4 instruments at once? Go see his show and find out. I expect big things from this young musician and if you haven’t heard him yet, try your best to do so as quickly as possible.  

Check it.

Mountains – Choral

April 15, 2009

Mountains - Choral

Mountains – Choral  (Thrill Jockey Records 211)

Ambient and organic soundscapes from Brooklyn duo Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp on the constantly intriguing Thrill Jockey imprint. Think Brian Eno meets Christian Fennesz and Marsen Jules for some oolong tea and an evening staring at a campfire. Introspective and aurally pleasing. This is home listening for waking and sleeping. Also nice for early morning transit. Check it.

See them live in Toronto on Tuesday April 28th, 2009 at The Music Gallery. I’ll be there.

Edit: I was there.

Second Edit: “Choral” makes #8 on my best of 2009 list here.