Archive for April, 2012

Tanlines at Il Motore in Montreal

April 22, 2012

16 April 2012

Brooklyn-based duo, Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm aka Tanlines, stopped by Il Motore this week and showcased songs from their debut full-length, Mixed Emotions. The morning of the show I had decided I wasn’t going to go, as it was Monday, and I was still recovering from the weekend and had a shit ton of work to do – but at the last minute I changed my mind and made it to Il Motore just as they were getting ready to go on, and I’m glad I did, because it was a great show.

The crowd was small but lively, dancing around and getting swept into the vocals by Cohen and the pounding bass and stand-up drumming by Emm. Emm made quirky comments about the duo’s love for Canada in between each song, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. Mixed Emotions is a slow burn of an album, but incredibly infectious once the melodies get stuck in your head. Like Cut Copy and Hot Chip before them, Tanlines work the 80’s aesthetic, pulling influence from Peter Gabriel, New Order, The Police and Phil Collins, and mixing it with tribal rhythms and tropicália flourishes.

Mixed Emotions has received mixed reviews across the blogosphere, some reviewers claiming they wished it was dancier, others that they had hoped the duo would have pushed their sound further, while others say its mix of sun, fun and melancholy falls flat overall. And a writer for the Mirror called their music something like “indie rock meets The Lion King”. But for this reviewer, Tanlines full-length balances its emotions perfectly. “Not the Same” is a powerful song that aims for the gut and succeeds, while banger “Real Life” is a near flawless ‘fun’ track designed to get you dancing. I think the album plays out well from start to finish, and gets better with successive listens, as the vocal melodies begin to glue themselves to your brain and you find you just want to keep listening again and again.

A great Monday night show and one of my favourite albums of the year thus far. Check it.

Album highlights: “Real Life”, “Abby”, “Not the Same

Grimes at Cabaret du Mile End in Montreal

April 7, 2012

31 March 2012

It-girl Claire Boucher aka Grimes, finished up her first headlining tour in the city where it all began, playing to a sold out crowd at Cabaret du Mile End. She started the show solo on stage, twiddling knobs and building loops of voice and synth to excellent effect, yet it wasn’t until openers Born Gold joined her on stage to help flesh out her sound that the show really started to cook. The concert showcased tracks from her critically acclaimed new album Visions as well as a few older songs, like the hypnotic “Vanessa”. Grimes was particularly cute and awkward on stage, seeming a bit nervous and shy, continually asking the sound guy to “turn down the lights” and “turn up the music”.

And once the lights went down and the sound went up Grimes seemed much more in her element, letting her inhibitions go and her voice soar. And for the most part, she totally had the vocal chops live, although I did notice some voice loops assisting her once in awhile, most notably during the high parts of “Be a Body”. Production wise I was very impressed as the songs took on a grittier, darker vibe than they have on the album. The bass thumped hard, the snare pops rattled, and the synths coalesced into an analogue swirl of sound indebted to the work of Aphex. In sum, it was a great show, and I think she should seriously consider having Born Gold accompany her on the next tour, because I’m unsure as to whether the show would have had the same sense of freshness and urgency if they weren’t helping propel her sound farther and louder.

Still, in my opinion, Grimes should be playing at this year’s Mutek, as she seems to be on the cusp of a whole new wave of young electronic artists further pushing the boundaries of genre and technology. I digs.

Best track: “Life After Death


April 1, 2012

Welcome to INAUDIBLE’s second installment of 5-10-15-20 in which I blatantly steal a feature from Pitchfork and ask fantastic people to talk about their musical love affairs at five year intervals. This second edition features Toronto based film editor/sound man/all around amazing dude, Stew Maclean waxing nostalgic about the songs and records that got him all fired up and ready to go.


Let’s Dance” by David Bowie

I remember my brother Bart and I dancing around to this song a ton, but waiting for it on that old late night music video show (would have been a Detroit station cause we didn’t have cable) or on the radio. This might not have been exactly at age five but it’s really close and one of my first music memories. My love for it stemmed from a mix of us making fun of Bowie a bit but also because I had never really heard a song like this before.

AGE 10

My oldest brother Jay was just getting out of a huge classic rock phase at this time and he gave me his old tapes that he didn’t listen to anymore. Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were my faves. I loved Zeppelin’s “Over The Hills And Far Away” from Houses of the Holy because of The Lord of the Rings, which I tried to read around this time but it was too difficult – instead the Ralph Bakshi animated LOTR movie was more up my alley. Also “Fairies Wear Boots” from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid was a song that Jay used to put on super super loud to pump himself up to write exams and the guitar really heated up my groin and it felt like it was something that I shouldn’t be listening to but that’s definitely what drew me to it.

AGE 15

This was another huge musical moment for me. Angel Dust by Faith No More. A couple of years before I had seen Mike Patton perform on Saturday Night Live and it was soooo cool. I thought he was the shit and Epic was a great album but Angel Dust blew it out of the water and I think I spent an entire year listening to this record. It totally changed the way that I looked at music because it was so different and it didn’t seem like an album because I never listened to it from start to finish (fucking tapes). It was also my third concert seeing them at State Theatre in Detroit and Mike Patton was still soooooo cool and I bought a shirt at the show and my parents never said anything about me walking around with a shirt that had angel dust written on it.

AGE 20

This was right around the time I started to become obsessed with the Morr Music label and that style of electronica. Arovane, Solvent, Phonem, Christian Kleine, Múm, The Notwist were all amazing! Also I remember going to bed every night listening to “Djed” by Tortoise on headphones from my boombox and I would always have great sleeps (man, whatever happened to those sleeps? The sleeps that dreams are made of Matt).

AGE 25

So obviously the electronic phase continued. I got into Boards of Canada from P-Dogg and Aphex Twin from Marc. I never did get to see any of those assholes live but I still loved ’em. They were both way different and way better and older than the other electronic stuff I was listening to. P-Dogg’s boundless enthusiasm for BoC was contagious and Marc would always say that Richard D. James invented a new style of electronic music. This was also right around the time that I started to move towards other genres of music and realized that guitars were still cool.

AGE 30

Having the luxury of Joaquim’s amazing stereo system that we rocked out to all the time helped me get into styles of music that I never thought I would. Genesis was the biggest and best of that time. The whole concept song/album thing really reminded me of the first time I heard Angel Dust by Faith No More. Also how fuckin’ cool was Peter Gabriel with the reverse mohawk hair? And listening to their live albums on vinyl on a $10,000 dollar stereo was a really easy sell.

It’s weird when I think about this list because there are a ton of other bands and musicians that I know I listened to as much if not more than the bands on this list but these are the ones closest to the age mark. Yes.

Ed: Thanks Stew!